Thickness Planer Decision-Oliver 12.5 Inch vs. Dewalt DW735 with OEM Helix Head

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Forum topic by gerrym526 posted 06-07-2021 08:05 PM 805 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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318 posts in 4962 days

06-07-2021 08:05 PM


I need a new thickness planer for the shop and have narrowed it down to the Oliver 12.5 inch (with Shelix head already installed) vs. DeWalt 735-Byrd Shelix OEM head to be installed at a later date.

Price of the Oliver is $880+$100 shipping.

Price of the DeWalt 735 is $600 (Lowes) + Byrd OEM Shelix $455 (shipping probably $20).

I was all ready to buy the Oliver, but found that the company is not the original Oliver from MI, but a new company out of WA with overseas manufacturing. I have no problem with the overseas manufacturing, since all my Delta and Jet equipment has been manufactured there.

I do have some concerns about the long-term viability of the current Oliver Company vs. Dewalt after experiencing the transformation of Delta and it’s abandonment of the decades old parts inventory that supported my equipment. And, the Oliver planer is a very new product, with high but few reviews.

Opinions on both to help me make a purchase decision are appreciated.

I can live with the 6 mo. lead time getting the Byrd Shelix head for the Dewalt, since I don’t think I’ll wear out the original knives on the DeWalt before the new one gets to me.

Thanks in advance for your help on this.

-- Gerry

6 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile


8183 posts in 1728 days

#1 posted 06-07-2021 08:21 PM

No direct experience with the Oliver. In the past I would have said no contest on Oliver anything, but this looks like so many of the other makes Chinese made machine that I think that doesn’t count anymore. So I can only go with their brag on it.

I have had several of the 735’s over the years, and they have always been the tool to best, and so far no one has, but their are certainly more entrants, and the one thing B$D who owns DeWalley now can do better than anyone, and that is nothing. So no changes, or improvements sooner or later gets you passed up…. Maybe.

Maybe I missed it on the Oliver, but I saw no report of a 2 speed cutterhead. The DeWalley has that, and it actually works. I ‘d go with the DeWalley, still tried and true, at least for now.

-- Think safe, be safe

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4655 posts in 2648 days

#2 posted 06-07-2021 08:27 PM

Let’s make this more complicated:

The Dewalt 735 is assembled by Chiu Ting Machinery in Taiwan, using Chinese and Taiwan produced parts. They have a dedicated table top planer mfg line producing these and other table top planers for WW market.
How do I know this?
Black & Decker shared a picture of the high tech DW735 mfg line awhile back in the corporate investor conference, touting their mfg muscle. Of course, only some one who has visited Chiu Ting Machinery in Taiwan, would recognize the inside of mfg plant.

Chiu Ting Machinery (formally sold tools under Geetech name in 1980’s) owns a major share of Oliver. They helped the US group fund the purchase of the brand name. Most of the Oliver tools are coming from several Chiu Ting Machinery factories in Taiwan or China.

High probability that both of machines under consideration are built in exact same place, by same mfg plant workers. :-(0)

As of 3 years ago, could email Geetech in Taiwan, and get manuals/parts for discontinued Geetech mfg jointer and planer from 1980’s-90’s. The staff speak English very well in email. The Sunhill/Geetech parts they offered me for sale in US, were warehoused and shipped by Oliver. Oliver staff thought they were selling me replacement parts for Oliver tool as Geetech provided the cross reference PN’s. :-)

PS – Oliver planer is on sale for $795 right now?

Best Luck with decision.

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

View bbc557ci's profile


627 posts in 3228 days

#3 posted 06-07-2021 08:38 PM

I can’t comment on the Oliver or Shelix head. But I’ve had my DW735 for several years and have no doubt run at least a couple of thousand board feet of Ash thru it, also some Cherry and I couldn’t even guess how much plane (pun intended) ol’ pine has gone thru it. That, along with the occasional pallet wood and misc. pieces. All with just one side of the original DW blades. I finally flipped the blades over about 2 weeks ago. Not due to dullness, there were a few small chips in the blades and that bugged me. If my 735 pooped the bed and wasn’t fixable, more than likely I’d replace it with another 735. Ya might wanna check Stumpy’s video on planers and the shelix before pulling that particular trigger. Happy shopping!! (o:

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View kajunframer's profile


3 posts in 55 days

#4 posted 06-20-2021 04:04 AM

I have used both planers. The Dewalt broke on the first day of use, and had to be returned. Granted, this is a rarity, since most reviews rank the Dewalt highly.

I recently purchased the Oliver, and have used it to plane over 500 bdft of maple and poplar. Hands down, it is the best benchtop planer that I’ve ever used.

Basically, Oliver is Geetech. When you buy from Oliver, you’re buying from the company that manufactures for Sawstop, Jet, Grizzly, Dewalt, and others. Yes, they are basically the same machines. But the Oliver rep explained to me that they spec their machines to the highest standard, choose the best motors, and that each machine is assembled and tested before being shipped out. I own four Oliver machines now, and I believe his claim.

View Brandywine's profile


6 posts in 194 days

#5 posted 06-21-2021 12:51 AM

Where are you located?
I have a 735 that I am looking to sell.
Only issues are:
1) the screws that remove the blades are allen and I stripped out 2, and
2) the rollers constantly need alcohol rubbed on them or they slip.
Other wise has not had a lot of use.
If you are changing out cutters should not be a issue.
Gene, in SW Michigan.

-- Gene, Michigan

View Brandywine's profile


6 posts in 194 days

#6 posted 06-21-2021 01:00 AM

Hay guys, since we’re talking about planers and since the Oliver is out of stock, has anyone had any experience with the Rikon 25-135H? Pros? Cons?

-- Gene, Michigan

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