The WEN 6552 Planer delivers professional capabilities in a compact form factor
Smoothing rough wood doesn’t have to mean spending a dozen hours sanding it down. A planer can make short work of rough, worn wood, raw stock, and so much more. Of course, there are so many things to consider when purchasing a planer.
What width and thickness can it handle? How fast does it operate? How good a job does it actually do?
In this WEN 6552 Planer review, we’ll show you why this could be an excellent choice for your shop, whether you’re a home hobbyist, or run a professional cabinetry shop.
Table of Contents
- 1 What to Consider When Buying a Thickness Planer
- 2 Number of Thickness Planer Knives
- 3 RPM
- 4 CPM
- 5 Stock Width and Thickness
- 6 Stock Return
- 7 Build Quality
- 8 Portability
- 9 Presenting the WEN 6552 Wood Planer
- 10 Specifications of the WEN 6552 Wood Thickness Planer
- 11 Benefits and Features: Why the WEN 6552 Could Be the Planer for You
- 12 The Power to Get Things Done
- 13 The WEN 6552 Delivers a 3-Blade Design
- 14 All the Adjustability You Need with the WEN 6552
- 15 WEN Is Rugged and Strong
- 16 The WEN 6552 Is Designed for Advanced Users
- 17 Less Mess with the WEN Thickness Planer
- 18 Is the WEN 6552 the Planer for You?
What to Consider When Buying a Thickness Planer
Before we explore what the WEN 6552 Planer brings to the table (pun intended), we need to take a look at the critical considerations that should inform your purchasing decision. What do you need to look for with a thickness planer in the first place?
Number of Thickness Planer Knives
First, we’ll begin with the number of blades the planer offers. A quick look at the options on the market will show you that there are single, blade, double blade, and triple-blade models out there. The WEN 6552 is a triple-blade planer, but what does that mean other than that there are three blades in the cutting head?
Simply put, the more blades a planer has, the finer the finish it will deliver. That’s important for a couple of reasons. A smoother finish means better quality work for one thing. However, it also means less time that you’ll need to spend sanding the piece down. Even with a decent sander, you’ll still have a lot of work, and you’ll still need to do some manual sanding, too. The WEN planer helps you reduce the amount of sweat equity in the project.
RPM stands for revolutions per minute. It’s just like the RPM gauge in your car – the higher the RPM, the faster the motor is turning. Why does that matter? It’s all about processing capabilities and speed. The higher the RPM of the motor, the faster the cutting head will move and the better the feed rate will be.
The no-load RPM for the WEN 6552 is 8,500. That’s a substantial rating, as it ensures plenty of power and performance when working. It also feeds directly into the next consideration when buying a thickness planer – CPM.
CPM stands for cuts per minute. It’s the result of the last two factors combined – number of blades plus RPM equals cuts per minute. Because the WEN 6552 thickness planer combines a cutting head with three blades with an RPM of 8,500 when unloaded, you get a very high CPM of 25,500.
Why does that matter? Again, it’s all about smoothness and the ability to process pieces more quickly. The more cuts per minute the machine makes, the faster the blades move, the smoother the finish will be on each piece, and the faster you’ll be able to process pieces overall.
Stock Width and Thickness
Another important thing to consider before purchasing a thickness planer is the unit’s maximum width and thickness. These bear directly on the size of the pieces you can work on.
You should purchase a thickness planer based more on the typical projects you undertake (or those that you want to undertake) than on RPM or any other factor for one simple factor – if the planer can’t accommodate the piece size you need, then it doesn’t matter what else it offers.
It could have a powerful motor generating 9,500 RPM, but if you need to process a piece that’s too wide or too thick, that won’t matter at all. So, shop with an eye for how well the planer will fit your specific production needs, as well as power and the number of cuts per minute.
With most pieces, you’ll need more than a single planing pass. This is particularly true for raw stock, but even refinishing old wood may require more than a single pass. Some planers offer what’s called an automatic stock return to help make this simpler and to speed up your woodworking.
Basically, a stock return feature does nothing more than make it simpler to return stock from the outfeed side back to the infeed side for the next pass. Some planers make you do this manually. That may require removing the piece from the planer entirely and reinserting it in the infeed side again.
Some planers offer an automated stock return. This helps to speed up the process and reduces the amount of manual work you have to do. Look for a model that offers a double roller stock return for better speed, accuracy, and grip.
All of your tools and equipment are going to get knocked around. It’s part and parcel of the entire process. Wear and tear happen.
Make sure the tools you buy can stand up to the damage that woodworking dishes out.
Simply put, you need to make sure that any thickness planer you consider offers rugged build quality. It should be robust enough to handle the rigors of planing raw stock, hardened old stock, and more. It should also be able to handle long hours of operation.
Even if you intend to put your thickness planer in one spot and use it there forever, ease of portability is going to be a factor in your purchase. After all, you need to get it from outside the shop to the spot where you want it installed.
Many things go into portability – weight, form factor, infeed and outfeed loading tray position, and so much more. Of course, if the planer is too light, it won’t stand up during hard use, so you need to find a balance. Look for a model that delivers good portability without sacrificing solidity or performance.
Presenting the WEN 6552 Wood Planer
Now that you know what to consider when purchasing a wood planer, it’s time to introduce you to the WEN 6552. It delivers the features and capabilities you need to improve process quality, reduce production time, and even branch out into new areas of woodworking.
Specifications of the WEN 6552 Wood Thickness Planer
- 15 amp motor (120V)
- Weighs 77 lbs.
- 25,500 CPM
- 13 inch model
- 26 feet per minute feed rate
- 3-blade cutting head
- Fan-assisted dust port
- Plane boards up to 6 inches thick
- Plane boards up to 13 inches wide
- Onboard cutting depth/removal gauge
- 2-year warranty
As you can see from the specifications, the WEN 6552 is a pretty capable planer that offers lots of capabilities. How do those translate into benefits to you, though? What’s so great about this particular thickness planer?
In the next section, we’ll help you connect the dots and understand how the features offered on the 6552 translate into real-world benefits for you. When we’re done, we think you’ll agree that this is a planer worth considering.
Benefits and Features: Why the WEN 6552 Could Be the Planer for You
By this point in our discussion, you should be familiar with the most important capabilities of a planer. You should also have an idea of what the WEN 6552 wood thickness planer can offer. However, you might not be clear about how those features translate into benefits.
For example, why do you care if the 6552 has a powerful motor? Why does the feed rate matter? In this section, we’re going to dig into the nuts and bolts and show you how those features translate into real-world benefits for your woodshop.
The Power to Get Things Done
First, let’s take a look at the thing that makes the WEN 6552 work in the first place – that powerful motor. You’ll find a 15-amp motor powering the three-blade cutting head here. However, that power also needs to move through other parts, like the stock return and fan-assisted dust port.
Simply put, WEN’s motor powers the entire thing. The higher the amperage, the stronger the motor, and the more work you’ll be able to get done. That’s important whether you’re building a new kitchen cabinet or refinishing wood siding for a home.
In addition to running everything, the motor is responsible for the speed with which you can work. With the WEN 6552, you get 8,500 RPM, which translates to 26 feet per minute of completed work. You also get 25,500 cuts per minute (CPM), which means that you’re able to create a much smoother finish in far less time.
It speaks directly to your ability to move forward at a decent pace. A planer with a weaker motor might be more affordable, but you’ll find that it costs you in other ways – production time, quality, and peace of mind. The WEN planer, on the other hand, gives you the power you need to stay productive and get things done.
Related: Best Benchtop Planer
The WEN 6552 Delivers a 3-Blade Design
In the first section of this review, we mentioned the importance of having more blades in the cutter head. The WEN 6552 delivers a three-blade design where competing models might only have a single blade or two blades at the most. That’s an important distinction, as it ensures a much smoother finish.
However, the three-blade cutter head is about more than just creating a smooth finish with the first pass. Each of the blades here has a double cutting edge. What that means is when one edge gets dull, you simply need to flip the blade around in the cutter head and get back to work.
You get twice the blade lifespan for twice the cuts. It also means that you can put off buying new blades for longer, which saves you not just time, but money.
All the Adjustability You Need with the WEN 6552
Anyone who works with wood knows that thickness is a crucial consideration. The more you take off with a pass, the faster finishing or refinishing goes, but it’s easy to go just a bit too far. You end up with a piece that’s too thin for what you need.
The WEN 6552 helps you get around that issue in two ways. First, there’s a built-in thickness depth adjustment knob on the 6552 planer that lets you dial everything in from 0 to 3/32 of an inch. It’s outfitted with a rubber grip to make it slip-resistant, too. On top of that, you’ll find that you have an onboard cutting/depth removal gauge so that you always know exactly how much you’re planing at a glance.
There are some obvious benefits here. First, this WEN 6552 planer gives you the ability to home in on that ultra-precise thickness without a lot of fuss. Just turn the knob and you’re done.
Second, with the front-facing gauge, you only need to glance at the WEN 6552 unit to make sure you’re on track thickness-wise. That’s a lot of peace of mind from two simple features.
WEN Is Rugged and Strong
We talked about the need to ensure that your planer can hold up to the rigors of real-world use. The WEN 6552 delivers all the ruggedness and strength you need. It’s built from cast iron and steel, meaning that it’s sturdy, solid, and able to handle whatever abuse you might throw at it.
In your shop, that rugged construction translates to stability – you don’t need to worry about the planer tipping over while it’s running. It also translates into resilience. You can look forward to years of worry-free use with this WEN unit, allowing you to maximize your investment and focus on what you love to do.
The WEN 6552 Is Designed for Advanced Users
While novice woodworkers can use this WEN planer, it’s designed for more advanced users and incorporates features that will matter to your production. Two of those are the height-adjustable infeed and outfeed trays, and the return roller design.
With the infeed and outfeed trays, you can adjust them to your specific project. That allows a great degree of customization with the 6552. They also fold up for portability if you need to move the WEN machine.
The return rollers are located at the top of the planer, rather than at the bottom, as they are in some designs. That’s important because bottom-mounted rollers tend to get clogged up with sawdust and debris, compromising their operation. You don’t need to worry about that with this WEN 6552 planer.
Less Mess with the WEN Thickness Planer
As you know, planing creates a lot of mess. Sawdust gets everywhere, and cleanup is such a pain. The WEN 6552 makes things simpler for you. The included fan-assisted dust port lets you connect a dust hose and clean up the planer in record time.
There’s more to it than that, though. The planer fan runs while you’re planing, meaning that as the sawdust is created, the fan blows it into the dust port, and then the dust hose can suck it up, depositing it in a bin that can be emptied later.
Is the WEN 6552 the Planer for You?
If you’ve checked out other planers on the market, including WEN’s 6550, you know that they have their limitations. The WEN 6552 offers greater precision, greater processing capabilities, and better accuracy. However, it may not be the ideal option for your needs.
In truth, the WEN 6552 is designed for more experienced woodworkers and for those who want to take their shop to the next level. However, it does straddle the line between professional-grade equipment and a machine designed for a hobbyist shop. Ultimately, we believe it’s a good choice for hobbyists and pros who have additional space in their shops and appreciate power, precision, and less need for hand finishing.