Planing Blades only lasting about 12 passes on Pecan

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Forum topic by ScooterG posted 12-17-2019 01:23 AM 1297 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 499 days

12-17-2019 01:23 AM

Ok. I realize that pecan is on the same hardness scale as hickory. But it makes a beautiful product when finished. Have my boards down to 8 on the moisture scale, but I am going through blades at an unsustainable rate. I have a Dewalt 735, 13” planer. Blades are around $35 a set. I know some of the guru’s on this site must work with pecan. I am interested to hear your experiences and how you work with pecan.

-- Scooter G Designs

19 replies so far

View GrantA's profile


2847 posts in 2254 days

#1 posted 12-17-2019 01:47 AM

I have seen old (read: been drying awhile) pecan logs make a chainsaw throw sparks. Good luck.
My only advice would be to look into different grades of knives. I think infinity has a couple grades available for it. Maybe holbren, somebody who has bought em will chime in

View Underdog's profile


1523 posts in 2882 days

#2 posted 12-17-2019 02:42 AM

Hickory and Pecan are considered to be the same thing in the lumber industry.

In wood turning circles we call this dried lumber “pecan-crete”.

Yep. It’s hard stuff, and really dulls tools quickly. If you were a wood turner I’d say sharpen your tools a lot, or get some carbide insert tools.

Maybe a shelix head for your planer?

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Aj2's profile


3319 posts in 2644 days

#3 posted 12-17-2019 02:49 AM

The hss steel knives that come stock in 735 are really low quality..
There’s plenty of discussion about this. My suggestion is Infinity’s Carbide straight knives. I see now they offer t1 hss but have tried them. I no longer have a 735.
The other obvious suggestions is too clean up the wood before you plane it or joint. Wire brush off any signs of dirt.
It’s also better to take one good heavy pass then 3or 4 lite ones.

Good Luck

-- Aj

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1594 days

#4 posted 12-17-2019 03:08 AM

I run a belt sander over the wood and brush it down prior to running it in the planer. And shallow passes are a good idea.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3659 days

#5 posted 12-17-2019 03:34 AM

It’s also better to take one good heavy pass then 3or 4 lite ones.

Good Luck

- Aj2

I strongly disagree about one heavy pass being better. This logic only applies to industrial planers. With some heavy planers the steel feed rollers will mark the wood if you take a light pass. With the 735 it’s better for your equipment and better for your project if you take light passes.

1/2 crank (1/32”) is about all you want to do.

The stock blades were garbage for me so I installed a Shelix head and it fixed all my blade issues.

Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Aj2's profile


3319 posts in 2644 days

#6 posted 12-17-2019 03:44 AM

The logic is simple if you can pass the wood through the machine one time it’s less wear then 2or 3 times.

Same thing applies to a jointer always take the best pass your machine can handle. I don’t always follow my own advise with my jointer because it’s just too much fun.

-- Aj

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3579 posts in 2340 days

#7 posted 12-17-2019 06:30 AM

Have owned a lot of planers. Horrible blade life is the reason I only owned a Dewalt 735 for only couple months. It was a purchase decision I will always regret.

Straight carbide blades last longer, but the blades are still too thin IMHO; and edges chip easily. For me carbide blades had ~3-4x life of normal HSS blades on hard dense woods, not the 10x+ they claim. Which made the end cost the same for HSS or Carbide.

Why many hobbyist swear the Dewalt is best in market, really puzzles me. IMHO the blade life makes it mediocre on a good day, and boat anchor on bad one. The Delta 50-580 that I replaced with Dewalt 735 due bad feed rollers, had blades that lasted 4 times longer then the Dewalt 735.

Spending near same cost as entire machine to change to shellix head seemed silly. The shellix shear cut does not leave a smooth surface like a straight blade. You must sand, scrape, or plane to final surface; as even with prefect setup – it leaves small lines down the surface of board. With a clear finish, you may never know; but the faint lines will show up when stain/dye the project.. They can be so subtle, that even wiping on MS won’t highlight them enough unless you know what to look for. The softer the wood, the more prevalent the scraping lines. :(

A planer is for changing the thickness of lumber, not making ready to finish lumber. If you are complaining about a few lines on the lumber, get over it – as this is normal for any planer Straight or Helix head. If you are like me, and the 735 stopped feeding consistently due dull blades after less than a dozen passes, then you need a different planer.

Had owned 15” 4 post industrial planer is past work shop. Knew if wanted to spend $1000 on planer, could have a straight blade planer with 1/8” thick HSS blades that would run 1000bdft of hickory or 2000 bdft of other domestics before needing a blade change, not 20-50 bdft using micro thin blades found on the Dewalt 735. As soon I saw a 15” for sale on CL, bought it, then sold the Dewalt 735, and never looked back.

Suggest you sell your blade killing planer to someone else for $350 while it’s still new/worth something, and buy a good used 15” 4 post planer. You will never regret joining the industrial world of toys/tools.

BTW – You really only NEED a carbide shellix or spiral cutter head if you process mostly figured woods, otherwise an industrial straight blade planer works very well on well designed planer. And if you process gnarly figure like birds-eye maple or walnut burl, even the shellix has issues with tear out, you need wide belt sander instead.

YMMV & Best Luck solving your dilemma. :-)

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3467 posts in 4284 days

#8 posted 12-17-2019 07:45 AM

Well, I’ll take a different tact. I have a Dewalt 734, the lunchbox planer with the reversable blades. I’ve used it for about 10 years. The wood I use is mostly red oak and cherry, and I’ve done a fair amount of maple, and much less of some other species, walnut, paduk, etc.

I’ve replaced my double sided blades three times. The estimate of the amount of wood I’ve used in that time is maybe 3000 bd ft?? I buy all my wood rough and plane it myself. And by a lot of wood, I mean whole kitchens, woodwork for entire houses, Large furniture pieces, etc. See my project list for just some of the stuff.

I purchase the stock dewalt blades and only replace/reverse them when the planer begins to groan a bit because of the dulling blades.

Both planer and blades have been stellar. Some day, if need be, I’ll replace the planer with another 734 or maybe a 735.

I know this sounds like an Ad for Dewalt, but it’s my reality.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6411 posts in 3339 days

#9 posted 12-17-2019 11:24 AM

AJ2 hit it on the head…there’s a long history of the knives on the 735 being substandard. Buy some higher quality aftermarket knives. The pecan may still dull them, but as quickly.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View HokieKen's profile


15038 posts in 1984 days

#10 posted 12-17-2019 01:57 PM

Only Pecan I have had has been in short log form and I just processed the first piece last week into turning stock. It was not kind to my chainsaw chain either. It is obviously a wood that’s hard on blades. That being said, I wouldn’t think it would be that hard on planer blades but, depending on the origin yours may have some silica or other minerals in it that make it more abrasive than typical? I don’t have the DW planer but I have read many times where people recommend replacing the factory blades with another brand/type. If you’re going through them that fast, maybe it would be financially advantageous to find a local sawyer or mill house and pay them to S4S the boards for you?

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Madmark2's profile


1595 posts in 1434 days

#11 posted 12-17-2019 02:27 PM

If you can edge rip it on the TS to within 1/32” or 1/16” and then plane just a pass or two for the finish dimensions. Your average 10” TS can show 3”+ of blade max. Edge ripping from both sides let’s me cut a 1×6 down to thickness so planing pulls out the ridge and gets the final dim in just a pass or two.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View ScooterG's profile


29 posts in 499 days

#12 posted 12-22-2019 12:16 AM

Thanks to all for the replies. After one year of using the Dewalt 735, I am somewhat baffled as to why it “eats”blades so quickly. Granted, I have planned a lot of pecan, but it also seems to dull very quickly on other material. I have tried planing on low speed as well as high, with the same results. I have concluded that Dewalt may have designed this planer akin to how computer printers are sold at a cheap price but have expensive print cartridges. The blades are making the money. And as I indicated in my other post, had to remove the motor brushes today as it refused to start after using for a few hours. Not really impressed at all with this machine.

-- Scooter G Designs

View Aj2's profile


3319 posts in 2644 days

#13 posted 12-22-2019 03:29 AM

New bandsaws come with cheap blades along with jointers,miter saws,tablesaw and last but not least planers.
Hickory is tough stuff you’ll need to upgrade your machine if you want to crack that nut. :)

Good Luck

-- Aj

View mel52's profile


1636 posts in 1111 days

#14 posted 12-22-2019 05:03 AM

I’m with Craftsman on the lake. I have a 734 and it has worked with everything I have thrown at it, tho I have never done Pecan. I haven’t had any problems with the reversible blades yet and get pretty good life out of them.

-- MEL, Kansas

View WoodenDreams's profile (online now)


1117 posts in 757 days

#15 posted 12-22-2019 05:40 AM

I have not worked with Pecan, but I do work with Hickory in building Hope Chests and Memorial Boxes (urns). My planer is a Delta TP400LS with 12 1/2” straight blades. I do go through planer blades, but I add the cost of extra blades to the projects estimate. Also hard on saw blades and router bits.

If running production, you may want to consider a WoodMasters Tools Planer (made in the USA). Their 12” model is now on sale for $2459.

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