- 1 DeWalt DW735
- 2 AMT Certification Course
- 2.1 What Does a Thickness Planer Do?
- 2.2 Thickness Planer Adjustments
- 2.3 Thickness Planer Accessories
- 2.4 Common Techniques
- 2.5 Dust Collection
- 2.6 Thickness Planer Safety
- 2.7 Default Configuration
- 2.8 Protecting the Thickness Planer
- 2.9 Terms
- 3 Testing out for certification
- 4 Maintenance
Donated by DeWalt
- Certified users only*
- Eye protection required
- Must use dust collector – confirm there is room in the dust collector bin before planing; this tool and the jointer turn a small amount of wood into a huge fluffy pile of shavings
- No stock under 12" long
- One piece at a time
- No edge planing without proper setup (please see steward first; use table saw if possible)
- No loose knots or inclusions
- Report any issues: malfunction, lines left in the surface, excessively loud running (it's not that loud with sharp knives), excessive tear out, etc.
- BARE, UNTREATED, UNFINISHED WOOD ONLY!
- No MDF, no plywood, no OSB, no plastic, no metal
- All reclaimed wood or wood from any source other than a commercial lumber yard or mill, home store, etc. MUST be scanned with the metal detector prior to use
- We have had a number of near-injuries, many hours of steward time, large costs and well over two months of tool downtime from nail strikes and cutting the wrong material
Please check Meetup or ask on Slack about upcoming classes. Those already experienced with planers can usually get certified by talking to one of the trainers; just ask on Slack or contact a Steward.
Here is a Manual
* A Note About Certification Requirements:
Certain tools at AMT require certification to use. In general, these are tools that are more likely to injure you out be damaged by misuse. In the shop, the planer, jointer, table saw and band saw currently require certification. Lack of certification requirements does not imply a tool is safe to use without training—the lathe and router table, for example, can do a great deal of damage if misused but we do not yet have training developed. Individual help is available for those tools upon request.
Certification does not necessarily provide all information needed to use the tool in all manners consistent with its intended use, nor does it replace or reduce the obligation of the user to independently read the manual and to understand and use the tool safely.
Some tools have associated risks that may not be obvious. If you are ever unsure about something, please ask—there are many members, including the shop stewards, who are more than happy to help you.
This planer has special requirements for use. Certification with the previous Makita planer does not cover the additional material.
Here is a video created for members who are certified using the Makita planer.
The video above does not replace certification for people who have never been certified because it only addresses the differences between the Makita and DeWalt planers.
AMT Certification Course
This is a summary of what is taught in the AMT certification course for the Thickness Planer.
What Does a Thickness Planer Do?
This tool can reduce the thickness of the stock and leave a furniture-quality face behind that is parallel to the opposite face.
Typically one face is made flat using a jointer, and then the second face is made flat and parallel to the first with the thickness planer.
Thickness Planer Adjustments
There are numerous adjustments you must be aware of in order to use this thickness planer.
You can adjust how much wood is removed by setting the cutting depth. The cutting depth is adjusted by lowering or raising the head. There is a wheel on the right side for lowering and raising the head and a scale to indicate the approximate depth. The scale may not be accurate.
You adjust the depth so that the resulting stock is the right thickness, but you must not attempt to take off too much wood in one pass. Multiple passes may be required to remove enough wood for your needs.
Never try to plane wood thinner than 1/8"
There is an indicator on the front of the tool that indicates the maximum depth of cut for various widths of wood. Do not exceed these values or you may damage the planer. These refer to the amount taken off in the pass, not the thickness of the wood itself.
This planer has a Turret Stop on the left that limits the minimum thickness of your stock. For example, you can set it to 3/4" and in no case can you plane it thinner than 3/4". The crank on the right will stop working at the setting of the turret stop. Therefore, you must check and possibly set the turret stop to either the thickness you want, or a setting for a thinner result than you wish, to keep it from preventing the planer from working. For example, if you didn't check and notice that the turret stop was set to 1", you would find it completely impossible to plane your stock down to 3/4".
Warning: the turret stop setting may not be precise. Use a caliper if you need a precise thickness.
In practice you often do not need to use the turret stop at all. You can just set it to 1/8" and forget about it; it will not interfere with your planing of stock.
This planer has a speed adjustment that changes how quickly wood is fed through the machine. It can only be changed when the planer is running.
The speed adjustment can only be changed when the planer is running.
The lower speed gives a smoother result. The best results are had with the slowest speed in combination with taking off less wood. The final pass you make would look best this way. But while you are thinning the board and just want to remove stock you can feed faster and take off more wood.
Until you get to know the depth of cut and density of your particular wood, set the machine for slow speed and a shallow cut.
Thickness Planer Accessories
The most common accessories are support tables, to support the work before it enters the tool and after it leaves, and push sticks of various shapes.
A thickness planer is used to reduce the thickness of the wood and make one face parallel to the other. That's basically all it can do; however, there is still a technique to master with a thickness planer: how much wood to remove in each pass, and how many passes to make.
Passes that remove little material end up far smoother than passes that remove a lot. The thickness planer is designed not to allow too much to be removed in one pass, but you should not get close to this limit. The minimum thickness for any stock is 1/8".
Some woods plane easier than others - very hard woods require more passes to remove the same amount of softer woods.
Unlike the other tools in the shop, the thickness planer draws the wood into the cutter on its own. You only need to keep the wood-feeding in straight.
- Begin by ensuring one flat face using a jointer
- If the stock is over twice the length of the input table, you may need an input and output support table or roller
- Set the stock on the input table near the mouth of the thickness planer and set the desired depth of cut
- Turn on the dust collector
- Turn on the thickness planer
- Slowly feed the stock into the thickness planer until it begins to feed the stock on its own
- Keep the stock going straight into the thickness planer
If the stock stalls because of a low point, just push the stock gently until the thickness planer resumes feeding on its own.
- As the stock finishes its pass through the thickness planer, be careful not to let it droop or sag; this leads to snipe at the end of the board
Planers make a lot of sawdust. The planer has a port near the cutting head for connecting the dust collector hose. Pull out the slider on the hose to allow the collector to suck in sawdust.
- Start by checking that the dust collector's metal can is not more than 1/3 full of sawdust and shavings. Empty it if it is
- Turn on the dust collector if it is not already on
- Do your work with the planer
- Finish by checking that the dust collector's metal can is not more than 1/3 full of sawdust and shavings. Empty it if it is
Thickness Planer Safety
A planer's job is similar to a jointer's, but a planer is a safer tool in general. It has its own automatic feed mechanism for drawing the stock through the tool, so once you slide your work into it and the cut begins, you are only “steering” the wood, not pushing it.
Sometimes the automatic feed will stop pulling the wood in and you’ll need to push the stock a little to re-engage the feed wheels. If you push too hard you can damage the tool.
While not as common as with a jointer, kickback can happen on a planer, especially when beginning a cut. Always stand to the side of the work when using a planer. Never attempt to plane short stock. Your work should be no less than 12" long. Use support rollers if your stock is longer than about twice the length of the infeed table.
The main risk of damage is to the thickness planer's blades, which can be nicked by even a tiny fleck of metal in the stock. Once even one blade has a nick in it, the planer will leave a raised line on every face it makes until the blades are re-sharpened and re-aligned.
Thickness planers are very loud. You will have to wear hearing and eye protection when you use one.
This tool has a concealed cutting head to reduce the risk of injury. With stock under 3/4" you might not even be able to reach the cutting blades if you tried (please don't try). However, when planing 6" beams, reaching the blades would be easy.
Planers are designed to discourage you from taking off too much wood in one pass. When you adjust the depth of cut, you are also setting the height of a guard that prevents you from inserting your stock if the cut would remove too much material.
This planer has a depth of cut indicator on the front of the planer. It indicates the maximum depth of cut based on the width of the board you are planing. In general, the wider the board the less wood you can take off. A red arrow on the tool indicates the thickness of the wood being taken off.
- Always wear eye protection
- Always wear hearing protection
- Never reach inside the planer
- Do not plane more than the maximum depth of cut for your width of stock
- Only change speeds when the planer is switched on and running
- Always use dust collection
- Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry
The planer mechanically feeds wood with a lot of force; it doesn’t move fast, but it’s inexorable. Loose clothing or jewelry could drag part of your body inside the machine to no good end.
Failsafe Hand and Body Positioning
Failsafe hand positioning means putting your hands where they would not be injured should the unexpected occur.
Place one hand on either side of the stock, sliding it into the planer until it engages, and then steer it so it continues to move straight through. Do not cup your hand around the end of the board - if kickback occurs it would be injured.
Stand by the side of the planer, not in front of its infeed table.
Failsafe Stock Handling
Failsafe stock handling is how you hold and move your work (aka stock) throughout the entire process.
- Never work stock shorter than 12"
- Never work stock thicker than 6"
- Never plane stock thinner than 1/8"
- Always insert work straight into the planer.
- If your stock is narrower than the planer throat, choose a random location to feed in your stock and keep it straight as it proceeds. Do not attempt to take off too much in one pass.
- Never work used materials unless you have checked them thoroughly for metal (nails, screws, tacks, etc) with the metal detector.
- Let the planer pull the stock; do not try to force it.
- If your stock isn’t already flat it might have a “valley” where the planer stops dragging the stock forward. If this happens, gently push or pull the work while keeping your hands far from the planer throat.
Never push into the machine with your hand.
When you are done with the Thickness Planer:
- Unplug the machine and wait for it to come to a halt
- Remove your work and remove any remaining sawdust with the dust collector hose (or shop vac)
- Close the dust collector inlet and turn off the collector unless someone else is using it
- Return the thickness planer on its stand to its normal location by the closet
Protecting the Thickness Planer
The main risk with this tool is damaging the blades. A new set of blades costs about $80 and they have two sides. If even a tiny piece of metal touches one of the blades, it will nick the blade, and from then on the thickness planer will produce a face with a wooden line where the nick happened. This puts the planer out of commission until the blades are replaced or turned around to remove the nick.
Only run pure wood on the thickness planer. Don't use it for MDF, particle board, plywood, OSB or Trex.
All stock must be thoroughly checked for metal using the metal detector in the shop.
- Depth of cut
- How much wood is removed in one pass through the planer
- If a board is 4" wide and 24" long, its face is 96 square inches
- Input support table
- a table or roller that supports the stock before it contacts the jointer
- Input table
- the table in front of the cutting head
- Output table
- the table behind the cutting head
- Output support table
- a table or roller that supports the stock after it has exited the jointer
- the piece of wood to be made thinner
- Turret Stop
- The knob on the left of the planer that sets the minimum thickness you can achieve
Testing out for certification
Experienced users may test out to obtain certification. Post on Slack to get in touch with a certification tester.
Here is a video I found on youtube. I am posting it to give it a look.