WEN brand power tools - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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WEN brand power tools

Does anyone use WEN brand? I am looking to get a planer, and WEN is much cheaper than others I've seen. Are they any good? Or should I plan to buy a better brand? It'll be used as a hobby so it wont get tons of use.

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 12-01-2019 at 01:28 PM. Reason: corrected spelling
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post #2 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 12:07 PM
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Ive actually heard rave reviews about that planer. My only concern would be longevity and customer support on it.

So I cant directly speak for its use, I do think it might be prudent to shop around for a known high quality used one perhaps? Good luck
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post #3 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 12:25 PM
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The answer may be "it depends." The real question is how well Wen supports its tools in the country where you live.

I do not know how much Wen does its own manufacturing versus how much Wen sells from other manufacturers. We just bought a Wen combination 1 inch belt / 5 inch disc sander. It is identical to many other belt/disc sanders from other brands. The only difference is the color of the plastic parts. I chose the Wen model strictly on price - it was the lowest cost of all the identical models from other brands.

(There is an older Wen model of the same belt/disc sander, and it is identical to a lot of different brands, too. I doubt that Wen is the manufacturer for all these different competing brands.)

The belt sander has held up under moderate use for three weeks. I am not impressed with the design, where you must use a Phillips screwdriver to remove (okay, loosen) three screws that hold the protective cover. You must take off the cover to change the sanding belt. The short tapered screws go into matching plastic holes. It is not a good design, in my opinion. They should have provided a tool-less solution like knobs or thumbscrews, and used real metal inserts for durability, considering that belts are changed often.
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post #4 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 12:30 PM
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They appear to be pretty decent tools from what I've been reading. In deciding on a drill press, recently, I nearly pulled the trigger on a Wen 4225 15 in. floor standing drill press. I'm a bit of a tool junkie, though, and in reading between the lines the reviews I decided to up my game and go with Jet, instead. But the Wen probably would've served my needs.


It's not a power tool, but I purchased a Wen MB500 Universal Mobile Base for my table saw. I'm quite pleased with it.

"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -- John Ruskin (1819-1900)
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post #5 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 02:08 PM
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I have the wen 13" planer and does the job. I been running alot of hardwood cutting boards thru it. One thing I learned is to make light passes because the straight blades even though there are 3 will tend to gouge a little but other than that I like it.

One thing that truly annoys me I cannot find no helical head replacement for it :)

Marlin
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post #6 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjadams61 View Post
I have the wen 13" planer and does the job. I been running alot of hardwood cutting boards thru it. One thing I learned is to make light passes because the straight blades even though there are 3 will tend to gouge a little but other than that I like it.

One thing that truly annoys me I cannot find no helical head replacement for it :)
Glad you mentioned it, I was looking at jointers the other day and came across these "cutech" planers and jointers with helical heads at a price I cant really wrap my head around.

https://yearlyshop.com/products/cute...8aArOeEALw_wcB


I know nothing of the company and havent looked into them yet, but thats a mighty interesting proposition for 337$.
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post #7 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob493 View Post
Glad you mentioned it, I was looking at jointers the other day and came across these "cutech" planers and jointers with helical heads at a price I cant really wrap my head around.

https://yearlyshop.com/products/cute...8aArOeEALw_wcB


I know nothing of the company and havent looked into them yet, but thats a mighty interesting proposition for 337$.
They are spiral heads, I have the 6" jointer, and there is a difference between spiral and helical heads. The spiral is basically a straight cutter head like the bladed ones except segmented, helical are cutters that are set at a slight angle where the shear the wood not gouge like a spiral cutter.

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post #8 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjadams61 View Post
They are spiral heads, I have the 6" jointer, and there is a difference between spiral and helical heads. The spiral is basically a straight cutter head like the bladed ones except segmented, helical are cutters that are set at a slight angle where the shear the wood not gouge like a spiral cutter.
Oh cool, thanks for the info. I always thought the terms were interchangeable!

What's your opinion on it? I work with figured woods (especially flame maple) quite a bit, and Im so exhausted with straight blades lol.
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post #9 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob493 View Post
Oh cool, thanks for the info. I always thought the terms were interchangeable!

What's your opinion on it? I work with figured woods (especially flame maple) quite a bit, and Im so exhausted with straight blades lol.
Now rikon has a 13" planer at a decent price with helical heads

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/r...702d0da200058a
.

Marlin

Last edited by mjadams61; 11-30-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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post #10 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 04:12 PM
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Now when you start looking into helical head planers you are going to spend a little more. But if you can find a used planer that they make a helical head replacement for then you might come out a head or not.

Marlin
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post #11 of 29 Old 11-30-2019, 10:22 PM
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I have a WEN belt/disc sander and a spindle sander, they are fine for my needs, if you push too hard they will bog down. They are not used much so for the price they work for me.
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post #12 of 29 Old 12-01-2019, 01:58 AM
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Let me put it this way.

I need a car. Do I buy a Yugo or a Bentley? Woodworking machinery is the same. There is the very pricey, the expensive, good value and the just plain ugly.

I have seen demonstrations of the very pricey. The dust collection was so good that it could be used in the customer's living room. I have used the expensive and good value. I have difficulty telling the difference between the functionality of either. In my shop I have a lot of good value machinery. I also have some ugly too. The ugly were purchased to do a single job. OMG, they have lasted through three jobs. I'm way ahead! ($12 pneumatic staple guns)

The point is that you have to determine what you are going to us the tool for and how much usage. There are tools that are aimed at 'Tool Collectors' that will rarely be used but talked about intensely. "I have the new Ultra-Deluxe Q1430!" that is until the Q1431 is released.

The tools that fall into the good value category are generally good enough for most small commercial shops and most definitely the home shop user. In this category aim for the top of the line for the particular function you are trying to satisfy.

Go to the retailer's website for the particular brand and model. Look at the reviews. Usually the one and two star reviews are the most revealing. Look for the reviews that are describing a real fault with the hardware. They will tell you more than anything.
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post #13 of 29 Old 12-01-2019, 08:31 AM
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Are the helical cutters made from carbide? I found inexpensive tools with helical cutters where the cutters where made from high speed steel (HSS), not carbide. If you wanted the same tool with carbide cutters, you paid more.

It was not obvious. What caught my attention was the price of the tool. I could not figure out how they could reach that price point with helical cutters, until I figured out where the savings was (the HSS cutters).

I did a web search, but could not find the brand of tool that came with the HSS cutter option, but beware, they are out there. I think it was a small jointer, but I expect others to follow.
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post #14 of 29 Old 12-01-2019, 10:35 AM
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I do not have a WEN planer, but do have a few WEN power tools - 4" power plane, track saw and 17" drill press.
So far, all have exceeded my expectations and continue to perform well with surprising accuracy.
I have no issues with the company.

I once owned one of their 9 inch benchtop bandsaws and needed to replace the guide bearings.
I ordered the bearings from WEN for around half price compared to my local hardware.
Were the bearings cheap knock-offs? Don't know, don't care, but they continued to perform as long as I owned the saw.

I read reviews a lot as there is good information if you look for it, but often find many of the negative posts are from customers that have their drawers in a wad for unrelated reasons.
Besides, what works for one person, may not for another.
I once bought a DeWalt 734 planer and owned for about 18 months. I could hardly wait to see it go away.
It performed in a way that it was designed, but it did not fit me. Today, I now know..... I have no use for a portable planer.
It is a hit-or-miss, but I still read. It entertains me.

All manufacturers have a bad day from time to time. Some seem to struggle to get it right.
Experience will help guide you through the weeds until you learn your way.

Buy what you can afford (and fits you) and use the heck out of it, until you can afford to do better.

KC
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post #15 of 29 Old 12-01-2019, 11:24 AM
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Good points, NoThankyou, and pretty much spot on, except...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
Usually the one and two star reviews are the most revealing. Look for the reviews that are describing a real fault with the hardware. They will tell you more than anything.
Not necessarily. E.g.: In reading the reviews of many things I often find many of the one- and two-star reviews can be discounted. The four- and five-star reviews can actually be more revealing. But you have to discount the reviews that consist of all glowing remarks and read between the lines of the others. You'll often find remarks like "...except this and that, but you have to remember what you're paying for this thing. It's not a $$$ thing."

But I'm one of the tool junkies of which you speak. I simply appreciate well-made tools. Hand tools, power tools, yard equipment. Doesn't matter. I simply love tools that excel at what those tools are supposed to do.

OTOH: I have champagne tastes and a beer budget, so I often compromise. It becomes a question of whether or not the compromise tool will perform satisfactorily. Sometimes the budget has to compromise
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post #16 of 29 Old 12-01-2019, 01:32 PM
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I find myself wary of consumer reviews in general aside from durability cases. If theres a bunch of 2 star reviews saying "motor crapped out at 6 months" its probably indicative of a not quality product. I also find a fair amount of time people like to "justify" their cheap purchase. Some tools can be great AND cheap, but no, im sorry, your harbor freight pliers arent "As good as knipex for 1/10th the cost". They may be cost *efficient* which is fair to talk about, but quality is quality. What you need vs what you can afford Id guess
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post #17 of 29 Old 12-01-2019, 08:30 PM
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I have found that the WEN tools are identical to certain other brands. My WEN benchtop drill press is identical down to the casting marks with the Jet, and the WEN DP is solid. Their 10 inch band saw is identical to the Rikon. I have a couple of other WEN air filter units, which match the Jet on filter size, HP and other features. They work fine for me, but I'm not a heavy duty user.
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post #18 of 29 Old 12-02-2019, 04:19 PM
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Are the helical cutters made from carbide? I found inexpensive tools with helical cutters where the cutters where made from high speed steel (HSS), not carbide. If you wanted the same tool with carbide cutters, you paid more.

It was not obvious. What caught my attention was the price of the tool. I could not figure out how they could reach that price point with helical cutters, until I figured out where the savings was (the HSS cutters).

I did a web search, but could not find the brand of tool that came with the HSS cutter option, but beware, they are out there. I think it was a small jointer, but I expect others to follow.
I found an example of a jointer with a helical cutterhead, where the cutter inserts are high speed steel (HSS), not carbide. Worse yet, the inserts are sharpened on two sides, not four.

https://www.rikontools.com/product/20-600h

I looked, and the Wen jointers are NOT the same as the Rikon above. The Wen jointers use two blades, not a helical cutter.

(Our Wen 1 inch belt/5 inch disc sander appears to be identical to the Rikon and many other brands, other than the color.)
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post #19 of 29 Old 12-02-2019, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody. I think I will wait until I can afford a better brand.

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post #20 of 29 Old 12-06-2019, 10:07 AM
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I have a Wen drill press and oscillating spindle sander and love them both.

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