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Thread: Keep DeWalt or upgrade?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    44

    Keep DeWalt or upgrade?

    The DeWalt 735 has been good, and cut quality improved further when I installed a helical head. But in 1 year I've torn up 3 drive belts and had countless stoppages (motor trips the internal circuit due to heat). I used to make 1/3rd turn of the wheel between cuts, lately 1/4. For a larger project (80 bd feet of walnut) last week I did 1/8 turns. I think the new cutter is simply harder for this little motor than the engineers intended. [Side note: I thought the helical would make 'finish-ready' surfaces, but with glancing light I see smooth facets, running down the length of each board. Easy to sand/scrape, but NOT 'finish-ready']

    Maybe my woodworking has outgrown the portable machines. So I looked into machines with bigger motors (15" Grizzly, Powermatic, Jet). I can look for an older machine, too. But I read that problems with snipe are actually worse with these larger machines. The cause seems to be the bed rollers required for them.

    Looking for opinions:
    - Keep buying (cheaper) drive belts
    - Upgrade to 15" (or more?)
    -- Which one? (Grizzly looked pretty good to me)
    -- Is the greater snipe real, or just a poor set-up?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    82
    Hi David,

    Im in the same boat. Seems like a big jump in price from a Byrd 735 to a helical 15 planer. Ive been looking for awhile for a used one of any brand. Hopefully Ill find a well priced used 15 planer in the next year.

    The main reason Id like to upgrade is to spend less time standing in front of the planer. For reference, I typically take 1/2 turn per pass on narrow boards (<6) and 1/4 turn per pass on wider boards. Never had an issue with overheating. I never use the slow feed speed and always have dust collection hooked up. Not sure if that helps avoid overheating the motor. I also use a heavy duty extension cord which barely gets warm. A voltage or amp starved motor will overheat faster.

    I recently did 18 13x30 white oak stair treads and it was slow going, took about 2 hours of continuous planing, but nothing overheated.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Snipe is always a set up issue, though sometimes a machine may have broken/compromised adjustments that make it hard to get rid of.

    It’s been documented much, but the 735 really wasn’t designed for the additional load a helical head and it certainly taxes the little screamer. 1/4 turn is 1/64 “ if I remember correctly. That’s painfully slow....I know, I had a 735 for many years with straight knives and would usually take 1/32” passes in hardwoods.

    Do you need more than a 12-13” capacity. If not, maybe keep your eyes open for a Powermatic 100 12” planer. Many with single phase motors and they are one of the best built 12” planers in history. Just my 2 cents, but I tend towards older and heavier with sharp straight knives or Tersa. Not sure about cost and feasibility of a helical head in the 100.
    Still waters run deep.

  4. #4
    Don't have experience with anything else, but I have a 15" Grizzly with the stock helical head and it's pretty sweet. Picked it up this year used for just over $1,000. Great machine and could take nice cuts off a 15" walnut panel. Very happy with it and I'd think you'd have a lot less to deal with maintenance wise with it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    207
    I have a Jet 15" 3 hp and the DW. DW has NO snipe. Jet has bad snipe.. I would keep the DW and sell the helical head and go back to knives..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    828
    On my Grizzly 15” planer I adjusted things some years ago and snipe is a non issue.

    I think, but don’t remember for sure, the biggest change in setup was putting the bed rollers very close to table height, or maybe even with the tables.

    Happy camper here.
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Manistique, Michigan
    Posts
    1,321
    If you have it hooked up to dust collection , remove the chip blower impeller from the end of the drive motor.
    I had o e and the head but never installed it. I was going to remove the fan when I installed the head. Then I decided to get a larger planer. I found a used Powermatic 209 HH.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    44
    I do have it a central cyclone. How does removing the chip blower help?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Manistique, Michigan
    Posts
    1,321
    Quote Originally Posted by David Kenagy View Post
    I do have it a central cyclone. How does removing the chip blower help?
    It reduces the power required to operate the planer which will reduce the motor trips due to overload. It probably wont help the brlt issue. Also, the noise level will drop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Aldrich View Post
    It reduces the power required to operate the planer which will reduce the motor trips due to overload. It probably wont help the brlt issue. Also, the noise level will drop.
    About 3 amps under load

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    368
    I had a Ridgid, repaired it several times, threw it away and then agonized over going to the Dewalt. I decided I would probably wear it out as well, and the extra width would be helpful. Looked at the Grizzlies but they were backordered. Bit the bullet and got the Powermatic 15 HH. You can literally have a conversation next to it while planing. I would imagine the Grizzly isn't much different and would have got one had they been available at the time.
    Regards,

    Kris

  12. #12
    Snipe is not just an issue of setup it is more (and most) often simply machine flexure and the planer head walking/flexing up over the work coming in and out. Setup issues for snipe are rudimentary to fix and anyone cant figure out if they are poorly supporting or feeding material with the infeed end too low so its overpowering the infeed roll down pressure and snip-ing on the way in, and conversely not supporting the work on on the outfeed when the material comes off the infeed roll it snipes on the way out.. thats gravy.

    The real issue is when you begin to understand that true snipe is machine flexure. You can increase your feed roll pressure all you want, lock your head, and you can on even large machines still have snipe. At that point it has ZERO to do with setup.

    The simple answer is, forget about snipe. Stop working with material that is dead at your needed dimension. A planer is a roughing tool. Leave an extra X inches of material on your board and chop the snipe off. While some planers will run completely free of snipe others (and I would argue most) will always exhibit at least some. Simply work it into your work flow. If you must have the entire length of a piece of material plane it oversize and finish it in the sander (which will also likely snipe for the same reasons) or run endless board.

    We had a 735 for field work and it was a phenomenal little planer but even bolted to a bench, you could hold your infeed end up high enough to lift the planer AND the bench off the ground, walk around to the outfeed and lift that end the same, and you would still have measurable snipe. Its flexure in the head. Super light passes as you state may make it seem to go away but I'll guarantee you with a set of mic's it will still be there.

    Your mentioning the issue getting worse makes me thing the insert head has weakened the internal breaker. Super small passes still suck but you may swap out the breaker and be back in business til the motor burns up.
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 08-06-2021 at 12:27 PM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    725
    Certainly if the volume of wood you are running through the planer has increased over time and you wish to cut your planing time down, a 15" planer is the answer; with a helical head if results with figured wood and the final surface is important. The problems you are experiencing seem to be, to some degree, related to installing the Byrd head. I have always believed that, if Dewalt felt the 735, as designed, could handle a helical head, Dewalt would offer it as an option. The total price might be around $1200 with the head, but it would still be a bargain given what a 15" planer costs with a helical head. My guess is that the 735 would need be redesigned to give certainty that the motor and electrics are suitable. Do retrofits work? Sure, but there have been numerous posts over time about failures and problems after installing the head.

    As for snipe, I disagree that you can't essentially eliminate measurable snipe, even on the 735. I get almost none when my infeed/outfeed tables are set correctly. I also make sure that the last couple of passes take less wood off and that also reduces the snipe for me. I have owned the 735 for over 10 years and use the steel knives that it is designed to use. It has its drawbacks, but I am not a production woodworker nor do I make furniture for a living, so my use is intensive when I'm starting a project, then nothing for awhile while I finish it. I have never felt the need to install the helical head and haven't felt it was worth the risk given the negatives I have read about (especially since, for me, it would be a complex installation and expensive to have installed). Oh, by the way, I have found a jig on the market that permits honing of the Dewalt knives. It might only get me one more rotation from each side but that cuts my blade cost in half.

    So, if your need for a planer has increased over time and the volume of wood you run through it is high, then an upgrade to a 15" is certainly worth it. I would love to have a 15" helical head planer. The results from my helical head jointer are amazing and it isn't even the best on the market.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Heinemann View Post
    I get almost none when my infeed/outfeed tables are set correctly. I also make sure that the last couple of passes take less wood off and that also reduces the snipe for me.
    That was my only point pertaining to the OPs concern with snipe and considering a new machine. Its just pretty much a roll of the dice fresh out of the box or over time as the machine wears in.

    As you say, you can get "almost" none. You can on some machines have none, some machines have some, and some have more. The extra effort of light passes are wasted time, wasted knife wear, machine wear, etc. but if you've got a piece of material you have to use every inch of it is what it is, that or use endless board. On larger machines especially with serrated infeed rolls you can struggle with light passes not removing the serrated roll marks and additionally if you run waterborne finishes and dont do heavy grain raise, super light passes the infeed serrations can pop back up in the finish.

    As always individual workflow has a lot to do with it but you can often times eliminate these issues that come up over and over by just changing up your work flow.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Orrville, Ohio
    Posts
    39
    The decision to upgrade from a "lunchbox" planer to something more substantial (in my case a Jet15HH) came when I realized I was avoiding shop time because I dreaded the thought of surface prepping the lumber. My old planer was terribly noisy and slow and new blades seemed to only improve the experience for a disappointingly short time. The difference has been night and day. I not only don't dread the process, I actually look forward to it now! I love seeing the rough board go in one side and come out the other flat and smooth usually in a single pass. It's WAY quieter and faster (both in feed rate and depth of cut) and I don't have to "help" the feed rollers on every pass. Over the last couple of weeks I've planed over 500bf of red oak for a large bookshelf project and the planer never missed a beat. Filled about thirty 55 gallon garbage bags with chips. Is there more snipe? If there is it's not much. Certainly not enough to make me miss the old planer. Most of the time it's getting cut off anyway. I highly recommend upgrading.

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