DeWalt 3 1/4" Portable Hand Planer

Good depth adjustment, ample power for the most demanding milling tasks, and smooth finishes

dewalt_D26677

DeWalt 3 1/4" Portable Hand Planer



The DeWALT 3-1/4" Portable Hand Planer (D26677K) is powered by a hefty 5.5 amp motor that generates 34,000 cuts per minute at 17,000 RPM. It has a poly-v drive belt that can be easily serviced when required. The planer is 11-5/8" long, just over 6-1/2" at its widest and highest, and weighs in at 6 pounds, light enough for occasional overhead planing. The large D-shaped handle is comfortable, though it doesn't have the typical rubber over-mold that seems to be ubiquitous on most power tools. The sides of the handle are somewhat dimpled, making for a more secure grip if your hands happen to be wet. The handle opening is just wide enough if you happen to be wearing gloves, though anyone with extra large hands might find it a bit of a tight fit.

The D26677K is very well balanced, and has only a slight tendency to tilt forward when picked up. There is a lock-on button next to the spring loaded-trigger that you can easily activate with your thumb; once depressed you can remove your finger from the trigger and concentrate on planing. It doesn't have, nor in my view need, a lock-off button, which prevents the planer from starting if the trigger is inadvertently depressed. Until you engage the lock-on button you have to maintain pressure on the trigger to power the planer.
 

dw1
Well balanced, though the handle opening could be a little larger
dw2
Gravity-assisted kickstand at the rear of the planer
The D26677K comes with a very nice hard shell case for storage and transportation. I've found that, in general,  DeWALT cases to be among the most functional. The tool, along with its various bits and pieces, fits neatly inside, and the case can take a lot of abuse without falling apart. Another nice feature on most DeWALT power tools are the long (in this case 9-1/2') flexible power cords; when it comes to cords, longer is indeed better.
 

dw3
Belt drive cover
dw4
Poly-V belt is easliy changed
The base of the planer consists of two aluminum shoes; a fixed shoe at the back end, and a moveable shoe in front, which determines the depth of cut. The front shoe has a 45 groove running down the middle, which serves as a guide for chamfering. The leading edge of the front shoe is also beveled so that it's less likely to mar work when you move the planer onto your stock. The front shoe was virtually flat, while the back shoe had a slight dip in the center, thought it was so minute (under.002") that it wouldn't have any effect on planing precision. On the rear shoe is a gravity-assisted, kickstand that keeps the blades from contacting the work surface when you place the planer business side down between operations.
 

dw5
Front shoe with v-groove and fixed rear shoe
dw6
Depth adjustment knob with adjustment scale
The adjustment knob for setting the depth of cut is right in front of the main handle, which, incidentally, serves as the forward handle. The adjustment knob can be rotated to one of 14 positions, with each increment raising or lowering the blade .1mm (that's .004", roughly the thickness of a sheet of 20 pound paper). The tick marks on the knob are easy enough to see, and there is an audible click at each position, though the imperial markings are almost indecipherable. There is also a 'zero out' indicator on the adjustment knob that sets the blade flush with the front shoe.
 

dw7
The drum cover with three bolts holds the blade carriage in place
dw8
The drum cover has been removed; the carriage simply slips out
The D26677K has a two blade cutterhead. The reversible carbide blades (tiny little buggers at only 5/64" x 7/32" x 3-1/4") are mounted on a carriage that is attached to the cutterhead by three bolts and a drum cover. Removing the carriage is easy enough, and there is a plastic depth setting gage that enables you to set the blades at the correct position on the carriage. You'll want to do a double check; when I first removed the carriage I didn't notice that the small carbide blades slipped out of the carriage and fell behind the cutterhead. Once I turned the planer right side up they fell out. I took me about 10 minutes to change both blades on my first try. Not too bad.

Ease of blade change is important, particularly if you use the planer a lot, as they work much better when the blades are sharp. Once installed the blades should be flush with the rear shoe. On the unit I tested the blades were about .01" higher than the rear shoe, though they were parallel to the shoe and to each other. Which means that when the depth adjustment knob is set to '0' it's actually going to take off .01". To remedy this you could simple move the blade carriage .01" backwards when making the blade adjustment on the setting gage. Replacement carbide blades (DW6654) are priced at $34 a pair (though dealers often sell for less).
 

dw9
The blade carriage to the left, with the blades sitting on the plastic depth setting gauge
dw10
The gauge makes aligning the blades onto the blade carriage relatively easy
The fence that comes with the D26777K is very similar to most of the fences that come with these type of planers. It's only 1" by 4-3/4" and doesn't reach past the cutterhead. Neither can it be tilted, which makes it somewhat useless for door trimming. Fortunately it's pre-drilled so that you can add a wooden sub-fence. Once locked in place (with a somewhat too small locking bolt), it doesn't move.
 

dw11
The carriage has a lip that slips into a slot on the cutterhead
dw12
Once the carriage and drum cover are re-installed, the blades are dropped in place and the bolts fully tightened
These planers throw out a lot of wood chips. If you use the planer outside or on a new building site, then you can let the chips fall where they will. For every other situation you'll appreciate the dust adapter, which slips over the dust port on the right side of the planer (not too convenient for left-handed users). It will connect to any 1-1/4" hose. With a no-load decibel level of 99.5, hearing protection is essential.

dw13
Dust adapter installed - essential when working indoors
dw14
The fence is on the small side, but is pre-drilled to accept a sub-fence
The 34,000 cuts per minute, and the sharp carbide blades result in a beautifully smooth cut, on both soft and hard woods. You will notice a difference in surface quality as soon as the blades start to dull; for rough work it doesn't matter, but for finish work, particularly where the wood will show, it's time to replace the blades. And, the same as with your stationary planer or joiner, you'll get the best results by making several light passes rather than one heavy pass.
 

dw15
Unless hooked up ti a dust extractor, you'll be in a winter wonderland of wood chips
dw16
Excellent storage case
If you haven't used a power hand planer before, then it's well worth taking the time to make a few dozen practice cuts on scrap material until you're comfortable with using the tool. Usually you'll be making long cuts, and to get the best results, make a continuous pass along the full length of your stock. You should always use two hands on the planer, maintaining firm downward pressure on the front handle, and then once the back end of the planer is on the stock, shifting pressure to the rear handle. Don't move the planer off the stock or lessen pressure on the rear handle until the blades are off the stock. To make things easier extend the end of your stock by a foot or so by clamping a piece of waste stock to it.
 

dw17
Sharp blades are what give smooth surfaces
 
The DeWALT 3-1/4" Portable Hand Planer (D26677K) is a great planer that should serve the needs of professional woodworkers as well as woodworking enthusiasts. Good depth adjustment, ample power for the most demanding milling tasks, and smooth finishes make this a good choice for anyone looking for a reliable hand planer for job site or work shop use.

KEY FEATURES:


  • 5.5 amp motor
  • 17,000 RPM
  • 34,000 cuts per minute
  • 1/16" depth of cut
  • 23/64" rabbeting depth of cut
  • 3 1/4" width of cut
  • Poly-V drive belt
  • Lock-on button
  • Two reversible carbide blades
  • Calibrated depth adjustment knob (.1mm increments)
  • 11 5/8" base length
  • Groove in front shoe
  • Kickstand
  • Dust adapter
  • 99.5 decibel rating (no load)
  • 9 1/2" flexible power cord
  • 6 lbs
  • 3 year warranty
  • Includes: fence, dust adapter, blade depth setting gauge, wrench, hard shell case, instruction sheet


MANUFACTURER:DeWALT
AVAILABLE AT:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
PRICE:$169.99
MADE IN:China
 Carl Duguay, February 2011
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!