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Forum topic by BJODay posted 08-19-2013 12:48 AM 1286 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 3005 days

08-19-2013 12:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: planner dewalt steel city spiral head

I’ll be purchasing a portable planer soon. Ive read a lot of reviews here and talked to some friends.

I would like to buy a spiral head. But the only spiral head portable in my budget would be the Steel city 40200H or 40300H. I am wary of purchasing because of the mixed reviews posted on LJ.

I’ve also read some reviews on LJ about people who’ve replaced the head on the DeWalt 735 with a Shelix spiral head. The Shelix head has more cutting blades than the stock spiral head of the Steel City 40200H.

I’ve decided to purchase a DeWalt 735. It costs more but seems to be a better built machine, although it is a straight blade planner.

So my plan is the DeWalt 735. Save my pennies and weigh my options. Perhaps buy a spiral head in a few years, or maybe I’ll find the straight blade sufficient for my needs.

Any comments or advice will be appreciated.


6 replies so far

View kdc68's profile


2992 posts in 3338 days

#1 posted 08-19-2013 01:08 AM

Thinking of upgrading myself to the Dewalt 735…(have an old Craftsman lunchbox now)....A downside I seen from reviews of the Shelix is that you can’t reinstall the cutterhead locking mechanism…..other than that I read rave reviews…..

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View BArnold's profile


175 posts in 2894 days

#2 posted 08-19-2013 01:08 AM

I bought a DW735 a couple of years ago after much research and consideration. Haven’t been the least bit disappointed with the finish, even in standard mode. In the ‘finish’ mode, it’s even better.

-- Bill, Thomasville, GA

View Jeff's profile


546 posts in 4256 days

#3 posted 08-19-2013 01:13 AM

The cutterhead locking mechanism isn’t needed with the Shelix because the individual cutters are small and don’t require the head to be still when you change them.
As an entry level box planer, the straight blade version is more than adequate. Keep an ear and an eye out for performance reductions and flip the blades and/or sharpen or replace them when needed. They are a bit louder than the Shelix but you should be wearing ear protection regardless.
Replacing the blades with the Shelix will about double the cost of the planer (maybe a bit more than double). Keep that in mind when deciding. Maybe you could find a cheaper model or find a used one while you save for a planer that comes with the spiral head.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6348 posts in 3875 days

#4 posted 08-19-2013 02:18 AM

With the 735, it depends on what type of lumber, and how much lumber you run. If you plane cherry and walnut, you will probably never want to upgrade the blades. It leaves a glass smooth surface on straight grained lumber. If you plane mostly white oak you may want to upgrade to the shelix. Like all straight blade planers, you will experience some tearout with highly figured woods. Otherwise I have been very pleased with the Dewalt.
It has several features I have come to appreciate after planning thousands of L.F. of hardwood. The material removal gauge runs the entire width of the planer, so you always have a measure of how much stock you are removing. The depth stops are handy and reliable. They make cutting tenons more accurate, because all your stock will be the correct thickness. Get the optional infeed / outfeed tables, they are really necessary. Set the tables 1/16” higher at the ends, and you will eliminate snipe.

The Steel City is helical, but the stock inserts are HSS. Carbide replacements are available from Amana.

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

View NiteWalker's profile


2742 posts in 3638 days

#5 posted 08-19-2013 03:06 AM

I’d skip the dewalt and byrd head and go for this steel city.
It has carbide cutters now.

Also something to think of, the dewalt DW734 is an amazing portable planer. It costs way less than the 735 (especially since it’s on sale at amazon), and byrd makes a shelix head for it too.

I bought the 734 because of the cost (when I got it, it was $330 shipped), and if I need the shelix head later on I’ll add it. I do work with a good amount of curly maple but haven’t had any issues with tearout yet (light cuts).

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 3005 days

#6 posted 08-19-2013 08:34 PM

Thanks for the advice and comments. When I pull the pin I will post a note about how my final decision works out.


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