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WEN 8x12 3420T Wood Lathe - cannot recommend

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Review by MovingChips posted 06-24-2020 08:22 PM 755 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
WEN 8x12 3420T Wood Lathe - cannot recommend No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Fellow wood turner told me about this site, suggesting I become a member and provide my review of the lathe. I recently posted a video on YouTube, which I’ll link below (if for some reason this is not allowed, please remove the link).

The WEN 8×12 Model 3420T

This wood lathe is very inexpensive and is why I bought it, as a new turner. I was not sure I would like turning wood and thought this would be a good start for the least amount of money (in case I did not like turning). Turns out (pun intended) I like turning wood, but the lathe has a few issues. First thing I noticed, there was no way to secure it to the table. It has no rubber feet or bolt holes to stop it from walking. I resolved this by screwing 1×2 furring strips around the back and each side (left the front open to slide out if I need to move or preform any maintenance).

The next thing I discovered was the tool rest was made of soft metal and sharp tool edges dug in easily. Most tools don’t have a sharp gliding edge, so this should not be a problem for most tools. However, the paint or coating on the rest also made the tools bind or pause. I found this very annoying. I filed through the coating and made it much better.

Continuing the issues discovered with the tool rest, its top edge is level with center at its lowest point. Put your tool on top and its cutting edge is above center. The lathe has a 12mm (0.4785 inch) receptacle, which means you cannot find a replacement. Most common lathe tool rests go down to 1/2 inch (0.50 inch). So I made my own tool rest, which I shouldn’t have to do with a new lathe.

Its boxed and advertised as an 8×12inch lathe, but the manual suggests nothing over 5 inch width. So it does have an 8 inch clearance, just don’t put anything over 5 inches or its at your own risk. Also, the manual that came with my machine was not the same machine. There were diagrams that were referencing a completely different design (probably the original lathe, assuming they upgraded).

Is there anything good about the lathe?

As mentioned prior it is affordable. It comes with a 110v plug, standard outlet in most homes. Unbox, plug it in and start turning without special electrical work. Variable speed is not gauged, but is nice spinning a dial to adjust instead of moving belts.

I am keeping the lathe, because I put so much into it and I want to push it to its max. I have several projects under my belt and many more planned. I will not sell this lathe or give it away (no I don’t love it), but rather I’m afraid someone might get hurt. For the few extra ($50-$100) dollars I would recommend going with a much more well-known machine with a better performance record.

If you’re interested in seeing my review on YouTube, here is the link: https://youtu.be/6-TwDc-PNNQ
(again, if not allowed… please remove the link)

Or search on YouTube for “WEN 8×12 Wood Lathe – well used review (Model 3420t)”

Thanks




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MovingChips

8 posts in 12 days



10 comments so far

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3731 posts in 3119 days


#1 posted 06-26-2020 11:29 AM

I bought a WEN drill press and band saw – both items are complete garbage, same kinds of quality issues. Seems to me that WEN is little more than cheap Chinese made garbage equipment.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View dbeck's profile

dbeck

69 posts in 1130 days


#2 posted 06-29-2020 02:58 AM

I have never had an issue with wen tools. I have many and for years with no issues.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3431 posts in 2568 days


#3 posted 06-29-2020 04:06 PM

I like my WEN drill press and dust filter. Sorry to hear of your bad luck.


I have never had an issue with wen tools. I have many and for years with no issues.

- dbeck


-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View MovingChips's profile

MovingChips

8 posts in 12 days


#4 posted 06-30-2020 02:48 AM



I have never had an issue with wen tools. I have many and for years with no issues.

- dbeck

I have other WEN tools and have no issues with them. I think if you watch my video you’ll agree with my points regarding the WEN wood lathe model 3420t specifically.

View MovingChips's profile

MovingChips

8 posts in 12 days


#5 posted 06-30-2020 02:52 AM



I like my WEN drill press and dust filter. Sorry to hear of your bad luck.
- CharlesA

I have a few other WEN products, with no issues. Just a few issues with the wood lathe, which if you watch my video you’ll see it’s not just “my” lathe, it’s specific to the model 3420t. WEN really needs to make a few chances and they’ll have a great lathe to market.

View Dutchy's profile

Dutchy

3726 posts in 2939 days


#6 posted 07-03-2020 02:56 PM

but rather I m afraid someone might get hurt.

- MovingChips

How about yourself?

-- https://dutchypatterns.com/

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MovingChips

8 posts in 12 days


#7 posted 07-04-2020 01:52 AM


How about yourself?

- Dutchy

I worry about it breaking every time I turn it on. I’ve seen NOVA lathe tool rests snap during demos, I can’t imagine what will fall apart on this machine.

Anyway, I bought it, I take the risks. I would not want to sell it to a friend and find out they got hurt. I never expected to get my money back on this lathe. So I have no issues eating the cost and being out $200 when the time comes… to rid the world of this lathe. :)

However, at the same time. I’m not in a position to get a new lathe, so I will continue to use it until it breaks or I upgrade.

Thanks for checking out the video (assuming you watched the video)

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1362 posts in 1359 days


#8 posted 07-04-2020 02:09 AM

I have the same lathe and the three mounting holes are on the bottom. Two in the headstock, one in the tailstock. They are an oddball metric size. I had to buy a 10 pack and only needed three so I can send you three if you would like.

The mounting diagram is Fig. A in the online manual:


Drill template for mounting.

The EVS has a delayed soft start that makes you think it’s not working for a moment. The speed control is smooth as silk thru its entire range.

I added a four jaw chuck and a set of carbide tools that cost more than the lathe.

Since you said you had the wrong manual the 5” spec may be for a different machine. The correct manual is online.


For the cost, not bad.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View MovingChips's profile

MovingChips

8 posts in 12 days


#9 posted 07-04-2020 02:24 AM


I have the same lathe and the three mounting holes are on the bottom
- Madmark2
I ran to the garage to confirm… and there are threaded holes in the bottom. Thank you for pointing that out.

Two questions:

Do you have issues leveling your tool to the center without dropping your tip down (raising your handle up)?

Have you found any replacement tool rests that match the receptacle in the banjo (12mm tool rest posts)?

I do like the variable speed and the hesitated start feature. Have you seen my video review?

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1362 posts in 1359 days


#10 posted 07-04-2020 02:35 AM

No issues with the tool stand height for the small tool rest. I do have an issue with the stud on the large tool rest being too big to fit the hole. But besides that, it’s been a good little lathe.

I don’t turn pens or a lot of stuff but for $160 + chuck & tools it’s a worthy way of adding turning capability to the shop.

For example I have a die & tap set for 3/4” wooden threads. Dowels commonly come in 1/8” increments. The dowel diameter needs to be 11/16” for threading. Turning 3/4” dowel down to 11/16” allows me to make threaded dowels that fit my 3/4” tap. Without a lathe I’d be stuck.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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