As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
PLEASE NOTE: I wrote this web page in 2012. A few years later I produced a video where I incorporated both this tip as well as another blade-changing tip for the DeWalt DW735 planer.
I've owned a DeWalt DW735 planer for about five years now. It is a very popular planer, very well built, and works very well.
The dw735 has 3 disposable double-sided knives in it. When the time comes to change the blade, it is a fairly simple process to open the top (4 screws), remove the dust shroud (3 screws), and then unscrew the knives and replace the knives. (or just flip them, if they have an unused side.)
DeWalt provides you with a T-Handled hex tool for removing the screws and blades. This tool is equipped with magnets on the top of the handle, so you can reverse it and use it to pick up the planer blades, keeping your fingers far away from those sharp edges. This too, is a well-designed tool.
The problem is that there are 8 (Eight) screws holding each of the three blades. That is 24 screws that you need to first loosen and then refasten in order to change your blades. This can take a while, and is tiring, tedious, and repetitive.
I was going through this procedure the other day and thinking that there just had to be a better way. And the light bulb came on! (or something like that.)
I sorted through my collection of Allen Keys (aka Allen Wrench, Hex Key, etc.) and found that I had two that were the correct size. This meant that I could easily sacrifice one. A two minute job with the hacksaw and I had my new "tool" ready to go.
This straight stub of an Allen key easily fits into my drill-driver. After that, my formerly tedious job was made much quicker. I could now easily remove those 24 pesky screws and spare my wrist.
There is a bit of a jerk, as the screwdriver first pops the screw loose, so you'll want to hold the drill firmly. As an alternative, you could make a first pass with the T-handled tool to break the screws loose, and then just use your drill for spinning them out.
Putting the screws back is just about as easy. You do need to be careful when first threading the screws, as a drill could quickly strip the threads if it is miss-fed. As well, you'll still want to use the T-handled tool to torque the screws tight. Regardless, this simple little jig goes a long way to removing a lot of the drudgery in this task.
Thanks for reading!