Wood lathe machines are a practical tool. However, in recent years, lathes have found another purpose in helping crafters create pieces of art made from wood.
When buying a wood lathe, you’ll want to make sure it has an adjustable speed, has the right accessories, and is portable.
The WEN 3420T benchtop wood lathe is easy-to-use and capable of handling a variety of projects.
Below is a detailed review of the WEN 3420T 8-Inch by 12-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Wood lathe. Please read our full review before making a purchase.
WEN 3420T Specs
Table of Contents
- 1 WEN 3420T Specs
- 2 WEN Models Available
- 3 WEN 3420T Features
- 4 What Makes the WEN 3420T So Awesome
- 5 How to Use the WEN 3420T
- 6 User Feedback & Reviews
- 7 How Much Does the WEN 3420T Cost?
- 8 Why Buy the WEN 3420T?
WEN 3420T has the following specifications.
- Weight (lb.): 41
- Motor: 2 Amp
- Spindle Size: MT1
- Variable speed (RPM): 750 – 3200
- Tool rest width (in.): 4-1/2 or 7
- Throat Size (in.): 8
- Dimensions (in.): 26 x 10 x 12
- Warranty (mos.): 24
WEN Models Available
Here we have compared some of the alternatives to the WEN 3420T.
This review is specifically written about the WEN 3420T. We will focus on all the features of this model in detail.
WEN 3420T Features
This benchtop wood lathe is a popular light-duty choice among those who produce small quantities of woodturning projects.
Let’s take a look at its amazing features below.
This machine is small, lightweight, and portable. It can be taken outside to reduce cleanup from wood dust and chips. This wood lathe will conveniently fit most workspaces and does not require a lot of room.
5-Inch Face Plate
This cast iron plate is used for turning bowls, cups, and other non-spindle workpieces.
Variable speed allows you to move between 750 and 3200 RPM. It has a slow-starting motor for added safety and less wear and tear on the motor. You will not experience sudden jolts.
When you purchase this benchtop lathe, you also receive the following: a flat wrench, a headstock spur center, a tailstock cup center, a knockout rod, and a 5-inch faceplate for turning bowls, cups, and other non-spindle workpieces. These tools will help you get started right away.
What Makes the WEN 3420T So Awesome
If you’re shopping for a lathe, you will find that every machine has different features and qualities that make it unique. The WEN 3420T is an excellent choice for woodworkers who are price conscious but want an intermediate tool.
Here are some of the top features.
- Affordable Price – For less than $200, you get a wood lathe that is well-designed and manufactured. The cast iron bed is an impressive feature for a wood lathe in this price range.
- Movable Tailstock – The adjustable tailstock piece allows you to work with wood up to 12-inches in length.
- On/Off Switch with Safety Lock – The safety switch key can be removed when the unit has been turned off. This safety feature prevents the lathe from starting up until the safety switch key has been replaced.
- Warranty – This machine is backed by a limited two-year warranty. This warranty covers defects in material or workmanship.
You also have access to a nationwide network of skilled service technicians and a friendly customer helpline.
How to Use the WEN 3420T
To prevent accidents and unnecessary damage to your lathe, read the user manual in its entirety.
This wood lathe can be used for parting off, coves, v-grooves, sanding, finishing, and more cutting techniques.
The first step is to consider what type of project you are undertaking. This will determine the type of wood you will need.
Next, you will plan the project – decide which tools you will need and what cuts you will be making. Practice with a variety of speeds and settings before working with your piece of wood.
Finally, decide what finishing materials will be used to complete the project. Quality high-speed steel turning tools will last longer than ordinary carbon steel. Clean tools after every use.
This extra step can greatly help in prolonging the lifespan of your tools. You will also need a tool sharpening system to keeps chisels sharp and effective for use. Regularly cleaning the machine will prevent the machine from rusting.
This lathe is made from steel and cast iron. Any non-painted surfaces will corrode if not adequately protected. Applying a light coating of wax will ensure these pieces are protected. Periodically check nuts, bolts, and clamps to make sure they are tight.
Please note: Always wear eye protection and a face shield/dust mask when using the lathe to safeguard against dust and debris.
Now, you are ready to operate your WEN 3420T benchtop wood lathe. Please watch the following video for unboxing and set-up assistance.
User Feedback & Reviews
Customer reviews are a helpful tool in choosing the right lathe for you. Here are some of the top pros and cons of the Wen 3420T benchtop lathe.
Most Common Complaints
- Poor quality: The clamps come loose when the machine vibrates. It does not have mounting holes to hard mount and add stability.
The drive center is poorly made and is often replaced by the owner with a more high-quality piece. The addition of rubber feet would keep the machine from scratching other surfaces. This product is made in China.
Weak Motor: When moderate pressure is applied with tools, the lathe slows down considerably or stalls. However, this lathe produces a limited amount of vibration.
Tailstock: Tailstock is molded plastic and gets hot while the machine is running. Even after the lock is in place, the tailstock tends to slide when driving into the piece.
Tool Rest: The height of the tool rest makes it challenging to turn larger pieces. Also, the tool rest will not stay locked in place during use.
Ideally, you want the lathe to sit at a height where your elbow is about the same distance as the center of the drive. It’s important to be in a comfortable position while turning wood. It will help you create a better-quality product.
Most Common Praises
- Great for Small Projects: Perfect size for making pens, small bowls, cups, chess pieces, table legs, and more. This user can add an extension bed to this machine for turning longer pieces.
- Easy to Assemble: Includes easy-to-read instructions, simple assembly, and operation. No special tools are required to put it together. Simply attach the handles, and the machine will be running in less than 15 minutes.
- Budget-Friendly: This is a good lathe at an affordable price. It’s perfect for those who are new to woodturning and desire to get started.
How Much Does the WEN 3420T Cost?
“Remember WEN?” This company and its slogan have been around since 1951. They design and manufacture high quality and affordable power tools. You can get the WEN 3420T benchtop wood lathe for under $200, a huge difference from other models, including the powerful Grizzly G0766.
Why Buy the WEN 3420T?
Purchasing the right wood lathe can be a daunting task. The WEN 3420T lathe proves to be a top-rated variable speed lathe for a novice or beginner.
Whether you are buying a wood lathe for hobby or trade, this model is a great option. This wood lathe will get your foot in the door while learning the ropes, without breaking the bank.
If you wish to pursue bigger projects, then you can move from this compact lathe onto a bigger and more advanced lathe.
Want to take a look at another quality lathe? Take a look at our review of the Grizzly G0766.