WEN 3420 Lathe Review: In 2019 – 100% Controllable Lathe

100% controllable WEN 3420 lathe review

Find here the in-depth WEN 3420 lathe review, the best value pack in this category. You'll get a detailed description of the WEN 3420 benchtop lathe and find that this one is a solid choice for the beginners. The low-powered motor and compact size categorize it for small projects. 

This lathe machine offers a great option for woodworkers who like to have one without paying a lot. Unlike its brother tools Delta​/Jet, WEN 3420 comes with 8 to 12 inches of workspace frame offering you at an affordable price. 

WEN 3420 Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

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Woodworkers consider having a full-size big lathe if they aim at working with large projects. But the compact size and portability will be a major concern for the casual users, and this is definitely a handy feature for woodturning. 

This affordable compact size lathe comes with a 2-amp soft start motor that allows you 100% control over it, which helps prevent the motor damage. With just turning a knob beside the lower portion of the headstock, you can easily control the speed from 750 to 3200 rpm max.

The precise adjustment of the tailstock and tool rest forwarded it one step ahead for smooth operations. 

Besides, the unit benefits you from its slow-coach motor evoking no admiration though, it possesses the ability to handle the same operating approach a high-end lathe machine provides. 

The portable lathe is best to operate for turning some non-spindle workpieces like bowls and cups. Beyond the relatively basic features, WEN features with some most essential things, which makes it a big difference. 

Product Highlights

  • Variable speed operation up to 3200 RPM ​​​​
  • MT1 spindle & tailstock for a lot of accessories 
  • 2A soft-start motor prevent damages 
  • Best for bowl turning, cup turning & many more
  • Fits wood pieces consisting length of 12" and width of 8".

It includes a tailstock cup center, a headstock spur center, a knockout rod, and the five-inch faceplate, which you'll find very effective in most lathes. 

This lightweight and small wood lathe will be a safe choice for newbies starting woodworking. 

However, to identify what makes it a big difference from other brother tools, it becomes necessary to justify its features, working facilities, and a few measurements. 

Let's check up on these components below. 

Here's the list of main components of WEN 3420 wood lathe. 

Surface Area

WEN 3420 Surface Area

Up to 12"

The most significant part of any wood lathe is its surface area, and around 12-inch of length is decent for the most common benchtop lathes. In regards to WEN 3420, 12-inch is right and has the face area of 8-inch. 

It is completely a solid cast iron construction, and the dimension area measures 26x10x12 inches. You can easily comprise the workpiece of about 12" long and 8" wide on the surface area. 

It also allows you to reduce the length by its adjustable tailstock any size up to 12-inches. 

The surface is best for turning bowls since it has a 5-inch faceplate and the revolving spur center. 

Variable Speed Control 

Variable Speed Control

Variable Speed Knob

WEN 3420 comes with a soft start motor and a variable speed control knob, meaning that it allows you full control over it. Revolving the knob, you can adjust the speed at a suitable state to suit the workpiece in the right turn. 


When you start the lathe, make sure to keep the speed at the lowest setting. Turning the knob clockwise will increase the speed up to 3200 rpm max, and the counterpart is to decrease down to 750 rpm. 

The Tailstock 

WEN 3420 Tailstock

The Tailstock

The tailstock is a significant part of any wood lathe. It helps to set up the spindle and set the bed width at the desired position. It allows moving forward and backward to fix it in the right place on the bed. 

There's a lock lever to keep it in place when the measurement is done. 

There you go with the handwheel on the tailstock to extend the spindle up to 2-1/2 inch from the tailstock. It allows protracting and retracting the spindle. 

You'll find there a knockout rod to drill holes in the center of any workpiece. You can use this rod to remove the center cup also when needed. 

Pro-Tips: Keep the lock lever tight before you go.

Tool Rest 

WEN 3420 Tool Rest

Tool Rest

When you are busy operating the lathe on the bed, very frequently, it requires the tool rest to move left to right or back and front. The more flexible and easy to move the tool rest, the more comfortable it is to operate. 

There you'll find a lock lever near the tool rest. It keeps the tool rest tight in the right position. 

So, you can move the tool rest to the right angle to fix it in the right place to handle the chisel over the wood. Make sure you've kept the lock lever tight when the place is fixed. 

On/Off Switch 

On/Off Switch

On/Off Switch

WEN simplified the operating system of the lathe, allowing On/off switch controlling the motor start or stop like most other lathes. You will find there a safety switch key, which prevents the motor from being restarted until the key is replaced. 

It is a good safety measure for the lathe. 

Circuit Breaker Button 

Circuit Breaker

Circuit Breaker

For its safety measurement, the lathe introduces a circuit breaker reset system. If your lathe machine shuts down for being overloaded or due to low voltage, the button works great.

While most lathes missing it, WEN included to bring a smooth control over the machine. 

Tips: If it happens during operations, allow it to cool down for a while. Then push the circuit reset button keeping the speed at a low setting and turn on the on/off button to restart the motor. 

It keeps the lathe machine safe and secure. 

Accessories 

You'll find there a couple of things to get included. These are almost the followings: 

  • Flat Wrench 
  • Hex Wrench 
  • Headstock Spur Center 
  • Tailstock Cup Center
  • Short & Long Tool Rest
  • Faceplate &
  • Knockout Rod 

WEN 3420 Lathe At A Glance With

Info-graph! 

Here's an info-graph below to teach you about its every parts and their position altogether. This is a complete set with almost all its took kits. 

Placed for knowing them for your better understanding! 

Know WEN Wood Lathe

Info-graph

Watch this video!

It describes its different parts, their measurements, and how they work. 

Safety Rules for Operating Wood Lathes 

  • Proper training and knowledge are a must before you go for operating a wood lathe. So, ensure keeping things right.
  • Wood lathe produces a cloud of fine dust. So, make sure you've worn eye protection and dust masks when using a lathe.
  • Make sure you've unplugged and turned off the lathe when the job is done - especially at the time of maintenance.
  • Fix the tool rest at the proper height and position and ensure locking the lock lever in place.
  • Appropriate speed is a must for the specific jobs at hand. Ensure speed level before using chisels.
  • Always keep your chisels and other tools clean and sharp. 

Pros

  • It allows 100% control over the lathe. You can control the speed at where you want to fix it. 
  • Like other similar products, it also comes with the variable speed control system. 
  • A 2A motor generates sufficient torque to operate bowl turning.
  • An 8-inch width and 12-inch length of the bed allows a large workpiece on it.
  • The portable and compact size lathe works better with bowl turning and as usual woodturning operations.
  • Cast iron body construction proves it sturdy and handy. The circuit breaker is an added advantage for its users.
  • Most people would like it for its affordable price.

Cons​​​​​​

  • Not perfect for large projects. 
  • Issues found with stability and quietness 

Conclusion 

For the far-flung projects, you must go for the high-end lathes. Powermatic and Delta will be the best to fill up the gaps. But if you are a newcomer, it will be unwise to spend $500 for a lathe. WEN 3420 lathe review honestly describes who this lathe is for. 

The hobbyists and novices are welcome to test WEN 3420 wood lathe, and we encourage not to go for the less powerful than WEN. 


Richard K. Christensen
 

As a hobbyist, I love DIY and want woodworking life better. I took writing as a profession and never looked back.

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