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Are you considering a benchtop thickness planer for your home workshop? We know how confusing it can get with all the various options available these days. But if the WEN planer has made the cut on your list of potential machines, you’ll want to continue reading for a full review. Here you will learn about the Wen 6552 in detail. It’s all you need to know about this piece of equipment – so you can make the best choice for you and your shop.
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WEN’s 6552T is a 13 inch, 15 amp, corded thickness planer designed to be mounted to a stand or benchtop. The powerful motor generates 20,000 cuts per minute – which produces a feed rate of about 26 feet per minute. It’s capable of planing boards that are up to 12.5 inches wide and up to 6 inches thick. That’s a considerable range for a benchtop planer of any sort.
WEN’s 6552 planer currently boasts a positive 4.5 out of 5 possible stars from over 1500 customer reviews online. With that kind of rating, all indications are that this thickness planer provides a satisfying experience and a quality cut.
Reversible Planer Blades
Included and already installed are two reversible 12.5-inch planer blades. This means you’ll get twice the life out of these blades that you would otherwise get from a single-edged blade.
According to the manufacturer, these machines can be adjusted so you can mill up to 3/32 of an inch with a single pass. But we recommend slowing it down and taking off much less material each time. There are two reasons for this: 1) it’s easier on the machine and 2) you tend to get better results that way.
The standout black and orange color of the WEN planer may confuse some shoppers who think it’s another brand. But rest assured, in our experience, the WEN brand generally makes better tools for home woodworkers.
What About Other Features?
Also included on the WEN 6552 planer is a 2-inch dust port plus stock return rollers. And another great feature is the built-in carrying handles. This makes it much easier to lift onto a bench and take it down when you’re done, if you’re using it as a temporary setup.
It’s important to note that the handles are the only way the thickness planer should be picked up or moved out of the box. Do not attempt to grab the machine any other way – or you could throw it out of alignment.
Included with this WEN power tool is a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. Additionally, WEN’s customer service is top of the line. Don’t hesitate to call them when necessary.
A Worthy Machine For Any Home Shop
If you’re considering building your own furniture, cabinets, or crafts – we think this planer can help you do a better, more thorough and accurate job from scratch. It’s also a money saver compared to buying lumber that’s already been milled to the exact size. Just allow for the extra time it will take you.
This planer is great for repurposing rough and well-worn boards. They tend to come out super-smooth and it gives you a nice even cut.
It’s easy to make adjustments to the depth of cut with the knob on top. One complete revolution amounts to exactly 1/16 of an inch in depth. For most adjustments, we recommend a half or a quarter turn only. Sure it takes longer, but you’ll get a better cut and it won’t put too much stress on your planer.
Smart Design Feature
The built-in 2-inch dust port helps deflect shavings and sawdust away from your stock. It also helps keep the area free of debris. And having the rollers at the back makes it easier to process longer boards. Also included are height-adjustable infeed and outfeed tables, each measuring 9.5 x 13.25 inches and providing extra stock support as it makes it’s way through the machine. You’ll get minimal snipe when you feed the material in the correct way.
Compact and Portable
The WEN planer occupies a footprint of just 20″ x 12.5″. And it weighs in at about 73 pounds. Beefy enough – yet somewhat compact too. Bring it out when you need it and move it back out of the way when you don’t.
Should you decide to mount your WEN 6552 thickness planer to your work bench in a more permanent fashion – it comes with predrilled holes in the base. This makes it easy to bolt onto your bench or compatible stand.
Another cool feature built into the WEN planer is a full granite tabletop that prevents scratches and marring messing up your finished pieces. This tabletop surface is also stable and super flat It’s super-smooth too, so shavings and sawdust don’t tend to stick to it. It’s a corded planer that comes with a standard three-prong – 120 V plug.
Replacement blades are relatively easy to come across. But it should be noted that the superior blades are carbide tipped, but those cost considerably more money. In fact, you might be able to find that you can get three sets of high-speed steel blades for the price of one carbide-tipped set. So the difference is substantial.
This unit ships with a T-handle wrench used for changing the blades. It also has convenient onboard storage on top – so the tool you need is always readily accessible.
With this thickness planer it’s possible to mill your finished piece as thin as 1/8 of an inch when you do it properly. This is best achieved with a customized jig. Otherwise, for best results, you probably shouldn’t go less than ½ inch. Oh and… this machine is set up so that you can use either imperial or metric measurements – whatever you prefer.
Sets Up Quickly
Unlike some brands, WEN seems to take care to properly package their products so they arrived intact and undamaged. So right off the bat – things are looking up.
Set up is quick and easy. You simply remove the Styrofoam packaging from the box and then use the built-in handles to slide the planer out, or lift it from the box and place it on your bench. Wipe down all table surfaces to remove the protective coating. Next, attach the dust collection chute. It’s also a good idea to wax the tabletops to make them ultra-smooth. This routine maintenance should also be performed from time to time.
Make sure your bench or stand is perfectly level before placing the planer on it. Then use a level and machine square to check that everything is aligned perfectly. A machine square is a useful tool for checking the alignment of the tables and blades and is usually more accurate than a square made for woodworking.
Squaring everything up perfectly is something you’ll want to do with whatever brand of planer you get. The good news is that in most cases, you won’t need to adjust anything. The majority of these machines have been set up perfectly at the factory. But if you do need to make adjustments, it’s important that you do so. That’s the only way to ensure that every cut is perfectly square.
Snipe is an issue on all planers. You can minimize by feeding your stock pieces in on a slight angle and by having both the infeed and outfeed tables perfectly aligned. Another technique is to run a scrap piece of board immediately before and after the board you want to make perfect. That’s the best way to ensure a clean and even cut throughout your boards.
With the WEN planer, removal of rough wood is sufficient and clean. This is been tested on a variety of woods including softwoods like pine, cedar and redwood, as well as hardwoods like poplar, oak, walnut, maple, even exotic woods like Purple Heart.
A Word of Warning
Lots of people like to run reclaimed wood through their thickness planers this can be old wood from crates and pallets. This can be a great way to reclaim wood that is often otherwise thrown on the scrap heap and turn it into something beautiful. But it can be problematic too. The biggest risk with using reclaimed wood like this are the nails, staples and other metal fasteners and bits that can go undetected – but are still there. These will destroy your planer blades and if you’re using carbide-tipped blades, the damage is even more significant as replacement costs are that much higher.
- Produces extremely clean and finished cuts
- Height adjustment works well
- Solid granite top provides a nonstick surface that doesn’t clog up easily
- Affordable – good value for home shop
- Built-in dust extractor
- Works well with all wood species
- Solid entry-level planer
- 2-year warranty with great customer service
- Roller heads don’t lock in place
- Dust port clogs easily
- Paint from extension tables wears off on wood
It’s a good idea to keep your expectations in check. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer or weekend warrior looking for an affordable thickness planer, the WEN planer makes a great choice. And it may be a good, affordable option for a small custom shop too.
But if you’re running a business and you’re going to need a planer on a daily basis for extensive milling, you’re going to want to step up to something more robust. You can make a significant cut on each pass with the WEN planer. And you’re going to get a quality, even finish. WEN makes a solid planer that’s heavy and sturdy enough to produce good results every time. That’s why we feel comfortable recommending this planner to any home woodworker.