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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for the best bench top thickness planer for the money. I understand you get what you pay for but there must be some really good planers out there that are $500 or less. I have access to a very heavy 13" Rockwell planer at the neighbors to rough plane "rough sawn" lumber. I would like to get a finish planer to finish these boards to dimensional sizes with a very good surface finish. I have Delta in my sights but there are a lot of featurs and capabilities that I may not be thinking of. Can anyone help?

PS. I am new to the site. If there is a previous post on this subject, I appologize but would like guidance to this information.

Thanks........ Jim
 

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I read a review recently that rated the Dewalt very well. I can't comment personally, I have a stationary model.
 

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Great question, I'd like to know the current answer to that too. The advances that tools have made since I purchased my Hitachi r12p planer over 25 Years ago.

The one I've got is technically a bench top model but you don't want to have to pick it up to move it. I had to build a small cabinet with wheels to get around in my small shop. The nice feature with the one I have is that it came as a combo with a 6" joiner with it.
 

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I just replaced my 10 yr old Dewalt 12.5" 733 with a Dewalt 13" 735. Got a refrub unit for $400 I sold my 733 for $100 so it cost me $300 for the upgrade. so far it seems to be a good amchine. there is a night and day difference in the finnish of the boards coming out of the new planer. I havent tried the slow feed speed yet which should be even better. I didn't get the in/out feed tables, I feel they are just a waste of money. I do like the fact that there is no need for a "lock" on this new model.
 

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I don't have one yet but have been scouring reviews.
The Makita 2012NB get's good reviews and has a special anti-snipe feature, and can be had new or reconditioned for under $500 in the US.
 

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I have a DeWalt 735 and am very happy with it, although it was a bit heavy to frequently move around by it's handles. I ended up putting it on a Delta chop saw/planer stand and this has worked out very well. It can now be moved around like a hand truck and set up quickly and easily. I do all of my planing outside the shop, so this stand makes the planer very easy to move and set up, plus it allows the planer/stand combination to be stored on-end in the corner of the shop when not in use. The 735 planer leaves an amazingly smooth finish in the slow feed speed and does a good job removing 1/16-1/8" at a time in the higher speed. It's best feature is an almost complete lack of snipe. I plane a mostly 2-4' pieces of exotic wood, so getting 6" stock loss from snipe on each piece was killing me with my old planer. With the 735 all I get is a barely visible line a few inches from the board end that can be easily sanded away. There have been complaints with earlier DeWalt 735 blades chipping and dulling quickly, but I haven't experienced this. I've done a lot of planing with my 735 and I'm only on the first edge of my second set of blades. My first set had no chips. They were just too dull to use anymore.

If you buy a 735 be sure to buy the chip collector hose or plan to hook it up to your cyclone. It comes with a removable chip exit chute, but this just serves to scatter the chips. When I first brought the 735 into my shop I just had to try it on something, so with it just sitting on a workbench in the middle of my shop, I ran a 2' piece of 2X4 through it. The chips came out so fast that they hit the wall of my shop over 10' away with a nearly level stream. It might be OK to blow the chips outside on a construction site, but in a residential neighborhood or inside your shop you will really appreciate having some way of collecting them. The DeWalt hose/trash can cover option works very well and is reasonably priced, but the trash cans fill quickly (check it often).

Charley
 

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I bought the Dewalt 734 about a year ago, and has proven to be a good planer. When going through the reviews, The 734 and 735 were basically tied. The 734 has a manual lock bar to keep the head from moving during planning where the 735 does this automatically. The 735 is also an inch wider and has 2speeds. However, the 735 was about $200 more.

For me, I wasn't able to fully justify the extra cost for the extra features, except maybe the 2 speed option. I ended up with the 734 and have been very happy with it.
 

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I have the 735 and could not be happier I agree with CharleyL on couple of issues
First the weight it is a big boy and you do not want to move it a lot I finnally settled into a place for it and the set up is a snap.
Second the chip discharge I am not using a DC on it. I found a Toro leaf bag set up with hose that fits perfect I put the bag portion over a Large trash can and away I go I have never had any issues with the chip removal.
Lastley I put a Wixey digital read out on mine ( it was very easy) and it has made set up so much easier for repeat thickness
 

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Hey Jim, welcome to the community....

I'll throw this one out there. The Craftsman 13". Now before folks start throwing things, I have to say that after considerable tinkering, repairing (cheap gears) I've managed to get a not so well rated planer to crank out some really great boards. Extraordinarily smooth finish that I would put up against the 735. For a 2 knife planer the thing just keeps on going. Honestly, I'd be hard pressed to recommend the thing considering all the grief I've had changing out those cheap gears. There is also about a .005 slant across the board I just can not get rid of, and probably never will *L*...The one thing I really dont like is the amount of snipe. A good 3"s worth at the end of every board unless I use a trailer. then its fine. 5thousandths slant and snipe are pretty common on middle of the road planers however. Really all 'issues' that one can expect out of just about any middle of the roader..
The Dewalt 735 is without peer right now. I can't recall having read one bad review on the thing. If you can afford it, for a benchtop, it is definitely the way to go. I understand Steel City has come out with a new model that rates very well also.
If you'll looking for something to get your feet wet with for a couple hundred and don't mind tinkering around, give the Craftsman a shot. I can't be the only one who can't really complain....

bill
 

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Blade sharpening.

In reply to the blade sharpening jig, I have had one of these for quiter afew years, I frankly don't reckon it, I have made a wooden jig that will do a much better and quicker job, here shown are the jig on it's own, used with a D.M.T. and used on wet&dry on glass.
Picture 058.jpg (196.4 KB)
Picture 057.jpg (210.2 KB)
Picture 056.jpg (175.0 KB)
 

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In reply to the blade sharpening jig, I have had one of these for quiter afew years, I frankly don't reckon it, I have made a wooden jig that will do a much better and quicker job, here shown are the jig on it's own, used with a D.M.T. and used on wet&dry on glass.
Thanks for that, Derek.

Some useful ideas there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Best Bench Planer Summary

Thanks to all for your replys and the time it took to get back with me. What I summized through these posts:
  1. The DW735 is top of the line if I can afford the unit and make good use of it for the money.
  2. This bench planer really requires a good roll around table
  3. A decent collector is also a must unles you like cleaning up your shop.
  4. The throw away blades are not a major issue as first thought.
  5. The planned surface is good quality which is what I am looking for.
  6. The in-feed and out-feed tables may have to wait untill I see if I really need them.
Thanks for your comments friends. I hope I can keep up my end of the bargain and be a good neighbor in this community.

Jim
 

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Bill I too have a craftsman 13" someone gave me and it works great. When the person gave it to me he said it didn't work and when I tried it left grooves down the board. Someone had replaced the button screws holding the blades with hex head and they were beating the board and not planing. Long story short I replaced the screws with the proper ones and now it works like a champ.
 

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I had a Wilton and used it for a year and a half, paid 100.00 for it, included a stand, from Rockler. This past summer I picked up the Ridgid 13" on Craigs list for 150.00. Shortly after this I picked up a DeWALT 733 for 100.00 from a guy closing his shop I mounted the Ridgid on the stand I had for the Wilton and sold the Wilton for 150.00 and made a stand for the DeWALT. So now I have the DeWALT as a rough planer and the Ridgid for a finish planner all for an initial cost of about 200.00. There have been maintains cost but you get that with anything.
 

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I had a Wilton and used it for a year and a half, paid 100.00 for it, included a stand, from Rockler. This past summer I picked up the Ridgid 13" on Craigs list for 150.00. Shortly after this I picked up a DeWALT 733 for 100.00 from a guy closing his shop I mounted the Ridgid on the stand I had for the Wilton and sold the Wilton for 150.00 and made a stand for the DeWALT. So now I have the DeWALT as a rough planer and the Ridgid for a finish planner all for an initial cost of about 200.00. There have been maintains cost but you get that with anything.
Jerry... thats the way to do it. :)
 
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