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Thread: On a whim.....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    DuBois, PA
    Posts
    1,452

    On a whim.....

    Yesterday, while traveling, I stopped in at a Woodcraft. Being a hand tool junkie, I took a very close look at the hand planes, and I have to say, they appear very nicely done. Now, I'm a fan of the Stanley 65 low angle block plane, having maybe 3 or 4 or 5, several of which are knuckle caps. As anyone familiar with the Stanley 65 also knows, these planes are prone to cracking at the corners behind the mouth. I took a very close look at the Woodriver copy, and went a far as to check the sole for flatness (corner of the sole of displayed bench planes and yes I checked several of them against the block plane). The sole was flat. Taking the plane apart, the machining was crisp and nicely done, with no burrs anywhere. Anyhow, as I was about to put the plane back into its box, I noted the blade (1/8" thick, was O1) and that did it for me. The plane came home with me.

    Early this morning, I took the plane completely apart for a thorough cleaning (not much to that!) and a sharpening of the blade (the bevel was a few degrees out of square to the length of the blade. Squared and sharpened, I took the plane to a piece of hard pine, and made nice, wispy shavings.

    This was an impulse buy and I certainly was not in need of another block plane. The Woodriver, at less than $100.00, certainly merits consideration, for anyone looking for a block plane. Time will tell how the blade holds up, and you have to get past any adverse feelings one may have for imported tools, but this plane has many premium attributes at a reasonable price. For me, it will be placed in my tool tote for jobs in and around the house, leaving my more expensive planes for bench work,
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  2. #2
    I had the same experience Tony. I bought a #3 on sale a couple years ago and it's a "good value" tool. Ive since bought their #1, their chisel plane and a side rabbet plane that I havent used yet.

    I stopped in on a trip recently and tried their socket chisels. They worked fine for me. (Wasnt enough difference beyond what I currently own to buy any though.)

    Fred

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Posts
    659
    I'm beginning to realize the more tools I own, the more tools I have to sharpen. I'm in a holding pattern now just keeping what I have in good condition and sharp. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
    Life's too short to use old sandpaper.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    DuBois, PA
    Posts
    1,452
    Well, I put this plane through a bit of work. First came honing the blade-bevel was about 25 degrees to start and I left it at that. Back had a bit of a hollow, but in the middle, with all edges coming true rapidly. Next the bevel was hone on a Spydeco Ultrafine stone. I'm build some tool totes, w/dovetailed sides, and the new block plane was use only on long grain poplar, and maybe no more than 4 or 5 lineal feet. The edge did not feel right! Planing with the grain, this should have been a cake walk, but the blade dulled quickly, and I expected far better performance from a $100 plane.

    Maybe later today, I will grind back about 1/8" and re-sharpen, maybe at 30 degrees, and this blade, supposedly O1, I will use natural oilstones to see how it acts. Pending this future test, on same type of material, I will report back, but so far, I have a poor impression of blade life. The plane itself is very well made and machined, so if I still have blade issues, because I have heat treating capabilities, I will probably re-heat treat it.

    Ok-I ground the blade back a bit and re-sharpened, at 25 degrees. I planed at least 10 to 12 feet of the same poplar, with no apparent edge degradation. This is a good thing and I expect with another slight grind back, the blade steel should be more than acceptable. As it stands, this is a decent plane at the price. If the blade life gets a bit getter, after another grinding, then the plane becomes an excellent plane at the price. As a sidenote, a standard Stanley 9-1/2 blade and the Ray Illes replacement blade for a 9-1/2 fit perfectly in the Woodriver.
    Last edited by Tony Zaffuto; Yesterday at 12:53 PM.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

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