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I just bought my first thickness planer, a DeWalt DW735.

I received it today and, after I'd broken down and disposed of all the packaging, I noticed what looks like curvature in the mirrored surface of its platen, sort of like a dent in shiny car paint. Sure enough, I could feel some "waviness" when I ran my hand over it, and a second check with a level confirmed that one quadrant of the surface has a small hill that rises up to maybe 1/32" - 1/16" higher than the rest. The remainder is very flat.

Will this cause any difficulty in achieving good results? Or is there anything I'm not aware of about how a planer works that implies that this might not cause problems? On this model, the platen appears to be made of sheet steel that attaches to a cast aluminum base beneath it, so maybe the sheet steel has enough give that it will flatten against the pressure of the outfeed roller on the material? When I press down on the platen, it does give slightly and appears to flatten out onto the surface of the base beneath it (the flat section of the platen doesn't have any give to it, but this "bubble" does). Maybe the material will do the same?

I bought it brand new from a factory-authorized online retailer, so exchanging it is certainly an option (I've already emailed them), but it will be a pain. I can try it out and use the factory warranty if needed, or ask for a replacement base, but the platen and base are sold as a complete unit and do not appear to be user-serviceable so I doubt the latter is a viable option.

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    I have the same planer and the bed is dead flat. Something is loose that shouldn't be. The question is will something else go wrong. Better to exchange it. – Ashlar Apr 2 '16 at 11:32
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    I don't own a planer but it would seem to me to be inherent to the design of any tool like this that registration surfaces should be dead flat (not necessarily all in line, but each one dead flat). There is a possibility that it won't affect function in an initial test but if you do want to check it out practically I'd also run narrow and/or very thin boards and see if there's any problem with those (refer to the manual for minimum width and thickness of material). – Graphus Apr 2 '16 at 11:52
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    That part needs to be dead flat, so return. But now that the packaging is gone, you have a problem. Perhaps your online retailer could send you a new one and you could use that packaging. Or if you were to use debatable judgment, you'd buy another at a big box store and use that packaging to ship the failed one back for a refund. (Side note: once you have that planer running, you'll be thrilled.) – Aloysius Defenestrate Apr 2 '16 at 14:54
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If the surface isn't flat you'll end up getting snipe when your board runs off that bump. The cutter head will be removing material relative to the bed, so any defects in the bed will certainly translate into how the cutter meets the board.

  • That's what I suspected. While I suppose it's possible that the feed rollers could push the material onto the platen with enough force that the high spot flattens against the base, the fact that others say their copies don't have this problem tells me that I shouldn't bother and just exchange it for another copy. So, that's what I'm doing! Thanks for your help. – Bungle Apr 6 '16 at 21:37
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It might be a factory defect by the sounds of it. I would go out and run it once to see if it does produce nice, flat boards, because it might just be there design. Otherwise get a new/different one.

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