Work(shop) in Progress #15: I got it, I got it, I got it.... I ain't got it - fixing the DW735 planer rollers

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by PurpLev posted 10-10-2010 02:46 AM 5246 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Greasy Business (wasn't mine, but it is NOW) Part 15 of Work(shop) in Progress series Part 16: Incra 998SE Miter Gauge »

As mentioned in a previous post, I was in the midst of planing quite a bit of hard maple, when my planer decided it was not hungry anymore, and would not feed the lumber under any circumstance – I tried the “here comes an airplane”... no go. I tried the “I’ll get you ice cream if you finish all the lumber” – nope. I tried “I’ll tell mama you didn’t finish your wood” – nada.

So I decided to play doctor and open it up and see what’s up. no, it was never a fantasy of mine, but I do like to fix my own things (as long as it’s within my capacity to do so).

The roller mechanism is fairly simple. 2 rods that the rollers are mounted on, 1 rod (front) is being driven by the cutterhead via a gear mechanism that reduces the RPMs (and integrates with the speed selection switch). Then, the front rod is driving the back rod by means of 2 sprockets and a chain between them. real simple.

To get to the roller mechanism, you use the supplied wrench and remove 3 set screws:

the entire side cover comes off to reveal the mechanism where I found the front sprocket broken in half:

Actually, I only found half of the sprocket – I have no idea what happened to the 2nd half, which made me wonder if it even broke recently or before I got the planer. Regardless, I ordered a replacement part for $3 from a local dewalt service center. real nice guys in Billerica, MA.

Here you can see the half sprocket with it’s replacement part:

it was just a matter of putting everything back again (with the new part obviously) and call it a day. mind you -the sprocket has a lip on 1 side, and should be installed with the lip facing inside (towards the planer) – for over excitement I installed it reversed – yup, you can probably imagine where this is heading….

So, I installed everything back together – except for the cover, and turned the planer on – lo and behold, the planer is running, and the rollers are moving ! YEAH! good stuff right there….




now the other sprocket broke in half :( I have a strong feeling it’s because the sprockets were each installed opposite (one with lip inwards, one with lip outwards) but since the other sprocket broke and fell out I can’t guarantee this. the other alternative which I really hope is not the reason is that there might be something else that was causing the sprocket to break.

So, back to ordering another sprocket (I’ll get a few just in case as backup).

This is theoretically how you’d fix the rollers, although you may want to pay more attention to which way the sprockets are put in so that you’ll actually be fixing it and be done with it. in my case – planer is still out of commission. I ended up hand planing/thicknessing the rest of the lumber for the cutting board I’m working on. not hard, but just takes more focus as you have to pay attention to flatness and thickness per board manually rather than just shoving all boards into the planer and worrying not.

On the other hand – I had success fixing my Lathe. Since it’s non woodworking related, I started my own blog for that, you are all welcome to check it out as it’s focused on machining and metal/solid material work. you can read it HERE

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

14 comments so far

View ChuckV's profile


3348 posts in 4503 days

#1 posted 10-10-2010 03:02 AM

I hope that you get your planer working again soon. Based on your experience, if I ever need to replace a sprocket, I will buy a few of them.

Are the sprockets metal or plastic?

-- "Melodies decaying in sweet dissonance." - I. Anderson

View PurpLev's profile


8642 posts in 4624 days

#2 posted 10-10-2010 03:04 AM

these are metal. it seems like they are cast metal of some sort, easily broken if put under stress.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4149 days

#3 posted 10-10-2010 03:14 AM

Now THAT’s a bag of downers :-(

Hoping the third time’s a charm !

-- -- Neil

View Karson's profile


35269 posts in 5376 days

#4 posted 10-10-2010 03:57 AM

Good luck on the re-rebuild

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View PurpLev's profile


8642 posts in 4624 days

#5 posted 10-10-2010 04:03 AM

Thanks. hopefully next time will be the last.

shopguryl – thanks!. that’s exactly what I plan to do to make sure nothing else might be lurking in the dark – spin it by hand, and check it closely before I power it up. then have a couple extra sprockets at hand if it does pop up again. the idea that maybe both sprockets got hit at the same time, while one was just waiting to fully crack makes sense. we’ll see how it goes next week when the parts arrive.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6873 posts in 4955 days

#6 posted 10-10-2010 04:48 AM

Hi Sharon;

Some days it bees that way, right?

At least now you know.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3993 days

#7 posted 10-10-2010 05:26 AM

They are made with soft metal so they break instead of completely ruining the planer. It sucks but the alternative is worse.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View PurpLev's profile


8642 posts in 4624 days

#8 posted 10-10-2010 05:39 AM

Thanks Erwin – I agree! I would machine a new sprocket of better material, but at the risk of messing a more substantial component in the planer – I’d rather get the proper soft metal replacement part that would break first.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

211 posts in 3821 days

#9 posted 10-10-2010 06:28 AM

I had a nice laugh with your words, spoken like a parent trying to feed the child. If the gears were installed incorrectly when the machine was built, and it was possible to do that, then I would call that 1) a design flaw and 2) a failure of quality control.

Anyway, good luck with it!


-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4357 days

#10 posted 10-10-2010 11:27 AM

ARGH! All of my pain is returning. Yours is a sprocket. Mine was a bearing. I also ruined my first replacement and decided to buy a few as backups after that. I feel your pain. Planers are crap. Best of luck!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View ellen35's profile


2749 posts in 4408 days

#11 posted 10-10-2010 01:38 PM

You are fortunate to have parts available so close to home.
I’m sure you’ll get to the bottom of this one… you always do!!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4288 days

#12 posted 10-10-2010 03:06 PM

Yuck, I regard my 735 almost with a sense of awe everytime a rough board goes in and a beautiful grained piece of wood emerges from the other side!!

I hope it was just the sprocket that failed and not failed bearing stress related, but have to wait and see.

However, once you get it fixed up you will have that sense of pride in doing it yourself and having learned about the mechanics of your planer. Sounds nice to say anyway, sympathy I guess for one that has to go through the agony of a downed piece of equipment. ;)

Thanks for sharing with the pics as a lot of us 735 owners can learn from this.

View ROY53's profile


77 posts in 4153 days

#13 posted 10-10-2010 04:13 PM

Look real hard for the broken piece. It didn’t vaporize. That may be binding up the works.

-- Roy L, Arizona

View Dez's profile


1172 posts in 5053 days

#14 posted 10-18-2010 01:15 AM

Those sprockets are about half the thickness of the ones on my Jet!

The second sprocket may have broken at the same time as the first! (I replaced the ones on my Jet when I was planing some rough Incense Ceder siding – it ran 3/4” to 1 1/4” and I didn’t check to make sure if I had it set to the max thickness! Mine quit before I could start planing another board)

It may have broken right when it quit working the second time!
All the strain/pressure – however normal, will take out the weakest part! (Wear and tear or oxidation of the plastic, whatever.)

Either way you have done the maintenance and replaced worn parts so it should be good for a while! (Unless you also needed to replace any bushings or bearings!)
I believe this is the first time I have posted on one of yours PurpLev! I just wanted you to know I feel for you and have been there.


Any critique perceived is from my experiences and wanting others to be able to avoid my mistakes. (I had my planer apart 5 times in one week AND ended up ordering spares to keep on hand!)
That Little Jet planed an estimated 50 lineal feet before I had to replace a second set of gears AND the feed roller bushings! (I should have replaced them along with the first set of gears!)

After that I ran an estimated 5K lineal feet without a problem. (It is probably time for another set soon?)
OH WELL, such is Woodworking! :-)~

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics