There's plenty of room to change knives on the DW73S. Remove the top and you've got free access to the innovative three-knife cutterhead.
DeWalt's new DW735 13-in. planer is quite a machine. For $480, you get a three-knife cutterhead, two feed speeds, an automatic carriage lock and a fan to clear chips. All these features lead to exceptionally smooth surfaces. The three-knife cutterhead is a breakthrough in small planer design. This is the first 120-volt benchtop planer with a universal motor to have three knives, rather than two. Most benchtop planers feed material at a single speed and produce 50 to 80 cuts per inch (cpi). Adding one more knife boosts the DW735 to 96 cpi. (Higher cpi generally means less sanding.) Slowing down the feed rate by flipping a switch on the DW735 bumps cpi way up to 179, perfect for planing tear-out-prone figured wood. Only one other benchtop planer, the Delta 22-580 ($420), has two feed speeds, producing 60 and 90 cpi.
The automatic carriage lock helps minimize snipe (the slight depression most benchtop planers cut into the leading and trailing ends of a board). This lock is automatic—there's no lever to pull. Only one other planer, the Makita 2012NB ($500), has this feature.
The chip-ejector fan isn't intended to replace a dust collector, but it helps to keep a board smooth by quickly removing chips from the cutterhead. (Excess chips circulating around a cutterhead can result in blemishes on a board's surface.) Two Craftsman planers, the 21722 ($300) and 21743 ($440), have a similar feature.
At 20-in. deep and 92 lbs. the DW735 is best suited to a dedicated spot in the shop. The bed on the DW735 is long enough to adequately support 4-ft. boards. Additional tables for supporting longer boards are a $45 accessory. The knives are indexed, double-edged and disposable. Replacement knives cost $45.
DeWalt (800) 433-92S8.www.DeWalt.com DW735 13" Planer; $480. DW735I Folding tables; $45. DW7352 Replacement knives; $45.
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