WEN 3420 Review in 2020: Don’t Judge A Lathe By Its Price!

bowl turning on a wen mini wood lathe

What makes Wen 3420 as the go-to mini lathe for the small wood projects while the full-sized lathes are the woodturner’s first choice? What makes it stand out, and how? Let’s give you the answer.

The Wen 3420 is a unique mini-lathe to target only small turning projects from bowls to table legs. The “2a motor” with a speed range of 750 to 3200 RPM is just enough to turn anything that is 8″ wide and 12″ in length. Offering you to lose nothing but gain so much at a low cost, it’s a winner.

Think about the money and workspace you are saving here—total win-win for someone who is just starting woodturning.

That’s how its still helding it’s head high in the competition even in 2020!

So today, I am going to share some facts about the Wen 3420 and how it’s built to handle the small works.

Let’s go.

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The WEN 3420 8″ by 12″ Wood Lathe Overview

WEN 3420 8" by 12" Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

Check the latest deals on Amazon for Wen 3420

There are hundreds of wood lathe present in the market. But not all will be as good as you desire. I have personally used a few of the wood lathes in the market.

And today, I am going to demonstrate the Wen 3420 model, which will ease you from trial and error that you have to face while finding the desired wood turning machine.


The construction of the Wen 3420 is of solid cast iron, which gives the lathe a perfect durability feature. The workstation can also be placed on a benchtop as it has a decent fit for it.

Weighing around 44.1 lbs, it has a dimension of 26 x 10 x 12 inches, the work area is estimated to have an 8 inch across the face of the machine, and also, the movable tailstock has a wood clearance of 12 inches of length for functionality.

The overall construction of the machine has a wow factor when you are going to see it in person.

Altogether, it can be addressed as a compact size lathe for working in DIYs to small projects.

Enormous Power Delivery of The Motor

One of the main characteristics of a perfect wood lathe is its ability to deliver power output to do the job. How amazingly the Wen 3420 handles the work will surely blow your mind away.

The lathe features a motor that has a 1/3 horsepower within the motor size of a 2 amp one.

To also avoid unwanted mishaps or damaging of the engines, the motor eventually starts its operation with a gradual start.

Don’t go expecting too much from the motor if you put a slab of wood, which is thick, as the motor is not as strong as its industrial counterparts.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, this amazing machine can get work done pretty fast, saving you loads of time, and as the saying goes, “Time is Money.”

Adjustable Speed Control

The Wen 3420 owns motors which can be controlled by the woodturner.

Generally, the lathes at this price range in the market give very choppy regulators. But for Wen 3420, it has two types of speed; a fixed-rate speed and a variable speed for better accuracy.

Not only that, but the regulation of the speed control also has a sturdy built that it can stay stable while you are working on it intensely.

Versatile Spindle and Tailstock

The Spindle and the tailstock are two components of the lathe that vary from products to products. Herein, the Wen 3420 features an MT1 kind of spindle and tailstock which is a great performer according to my observation.

There is a functional knob that is in the tailstock which helps in putting the tailstock mandrel further away of two inches. Nonetheless, as it’s a machine, the mandrels can get jammed.

But not to worry because it has an included punch-out tool that will pop out the mandrels.

The size of the MT is suitable for carving out small projects such as pens and bowls.

Accessories That Come With The Device

Wen, the company’s vision is to provide the customers with the rate of customer satisfaction in mind.

One who is just starting woodturning might not have all the necessary things of woodturning.

Not to worry, the brand will be providing some of the accessories within the package of the Wen 3420.

Accessories you will receive are; a flat wrench, a headstock spur center, two tool rests, a faceplate, tailstock cup center, knockout rod, and some other few accessories for the consumer’s use.


✅ Best for start-up projects.
✅ Very compact in size and light-weight.
✅ Mighty power output and accurate for wood-turning.
✅ Added accessories in the box.
✅ The Iron cast construction gives an ultimate sturdiness in the built quality.
✅ Variable speed.


Not suitable for heavy-duty, big projects
Motor gets overheated sometimes

Hey, want to read about one of the expensive wood lathes in the market? Almost 8000$! It was fun to write about it.

Unboxing and Setting Of Wen 3420

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Does the Wen 3420 have reverse thrust capabilities?
No, it does not have reverse motor functions. It only supports forward thrust motor function.

Question: Does the WEN 3420 comes with a Mandrel in the box?
Yes, the Wen 3420 features a Mandrel out of the box.

Question: Can the Wen 3420 craft bowls and smaller cups?
Yes, the Wen 3420 is a perfect machine that can help in the making of small DIY cups and precise bowls.

Question: What is the power of the motor included with the Wen 3420?
The Wen 3420 features a motor that has a 1/3 horsepower but within the motor size of the 2 amp.

Notes to Remember

A good lathe is a vital machine for producing your creative ideas to come to life.

But here is the catch, not every lathe in the market can serve your purpose. It is a tough job to find your desired lathe.

As a woodturner, I tried your match for your woodturning desires. It is none other than the WEN 3420. Not only will it serve your purpose, but it is also quite cheap to buy.

That’s all for our Wen 34200 review folks.

See you next time!

2 thoughts on “WEN 3420 Review in 2020: Don’t Judge A Lathe By Its Price!”

  1. I had my Wen lathe about 2 weeks. During use it just stop working. It wont even turn on. Any suggestions.

    1. Hi there John
      Sorry to hear that. I know it often happens with this unit, underpowered motor. Wen is good for the lighter project and the money. It can’t handle anything hard on it. I used to turn spindles mostly, hardly turned any bowl. The motor does get way too hot, so I had to stop it and then start again, it can get frustrating, I know. I sold mine to a friend as I already had the rockler mini.

      Anyway, did you check the drive belt? Is it a fresh unit btw? Where did you buy it? I am assuming its’ newly purchased so the straps and chuck point should be good, not jammed. Try adding lubricant to the motor. If you don’t see any improvement or you want to get rid of it anyway, I would suggest you research more. This article will give you some ideas about some of the best mini-lathes I found so far. https://www.lathematters.com/best-mini-wood-lathes/

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