There is a straight knife carbide blade replacement for the DW735 from amazon.com [http://www.amazon.com/DeWalt-DW735-C...58338&sr=8-29] priced at $150 plus a few $$$ for shipping. This is a single sided blade. I think they are also available for the DW734. However to get the carbide blade you need a US address [see the posts on the Woodworking page] and be able to go get them. From Toronto that would cost an extra $6 for US handling, $4 border crossing and fuel $30 plus time [free]. So a total of $190. Assuming a carbide blade last 10x longer than HSS and I bought the replacement blades from Elite Tools at $50 per set then I could buy approx. 4 sets [no time committment involved] or put it another way I would get 8 edges so technically the carbide blade is marginally more economical.The blades are also available from Mississauga Hardware for about $69. Go to their website print the page then go to Lowes or Home Depot and show them and they will match the price plus give you and additional 10% or $7 off to bring the cost to $60. I have done this.
An additional note on the carbide blade; it is 3/32 inch thick [due to the carbide insert] as opposed to the HSS blades which are 1/16 inch thick. People have noted that when installed the bolts hit the wood. The manufacture recommends that the bolts be ground down so that they do not hit the wood surface during planing. I talked to my brother-in-law and he can drill a countersink in the blade to recess the bolt rather than grinding the head.
A note on planning technique; I am not sure how the people who complain about short blade life are planning. Are they taking off too much wood; are the rollers smooth and not grabbing the wood thus burning the blade edge; is the table waxed so the wood slides nicely; is the wood dirty [contains sand and thus damages the blade]??? I assume people are doing the right thing but you never know as some of these have happened to me and as a result the blade has worn prematurely.
I agree with the above post, it is an expensive proposition to go with a byrd in this machine. However, I am not here to tell you how you should spend your money. I am just one of those people who are thrifty bordering on cheap.
This is not simply a choice of knives. The Byrd cutter head is a completely different means to planing lumber and changing the performance of the machine. Replacing HSS knives with carbide knives is simply that....replacing the original for a longer lasting set. This will do nothing for ease of maintenance, quality of cut, or sound levels.
I personally would never recomend using carbide knives on a thickness planer. This is way too much money to throw away. One staple and say good by to $200.00. On the Byrd head you will need 4 staples to hit and then say good by to $3.00. There are four edges to damage before replacing and one knife to replace costs about $3.00. Even if you ruin two or three knives it is not a big cost to fix. And on top of that the down time to replace is a couple minutes....not hours.
The only time carbide planer knives could be worthwhile is if you always use S4S material and know you will never hit a hard spot. Even a knot jumping out can ruin a set of knives.
No, there are many reasons why woodworkers are so excited about using good helical carbide heads. They completely excell over any other knife system including Tersa and the Barke system that Felder uses.
I think you are absolutely correct in saying the Byrd head is better both from and machine and economic standpoint. From a math perspective the Byrd head is twice as economical as either HSS or Carbide knives. I will be buying a DW735 and I am serious considering the Byrd head right from the start. However, this is a very high upfront cost and sometimes you do not have the cash on hand and such a purchase must wait. In those cases one must look at the other alternatives HSS and Carbide.
I have a Byrd Shelix cutter head in my 15" General planer and its worth it just for the noise reduction! The finish is better than most other planers I have used and the planer does not bog down even with 15" wide of white oak going through it taking a healthy cut off.
The DW734 is not as good a machine as the DW735....hence the cheaper price. We don't stock heads for the DW734 as it is a limited user base. We can order it in though.
Cole - to me, "better" is a subjective term - While I am not disagreeing with you, the 45 has a third knife and I would need to look up the fpm speed again. But please clarify for me, its other principal advantages that offset the still higher noise level, larger size, and higher price.