|Review by dbhost||posted 04-20-2010 03:48 AM||5166 views||0 times favorited||21 comments|
While I have had far more on my mind than planes, I have been wanting to fill out my collection and the Groz #5 has been a resident of my wish list for a while now. I know a LOT of guys out there wouldn’t even consider one of these, and maybe more is the shame for them…. While this write up is based on initial impressions of un-boxing, cleaning, and initial setup of the plane, if my early impressions, and prior experience with Groz planes holds true, then this will be a fine plane that will likely outlast me….
Typical to form, I waited until the plane I wanted was on sale, and I had a gift card that needed to be used. So I dropped in to my local Woodcraft store, and took at long hard look at the Groz #5. Only 2 were left in stock, one in a badly damaged box, the other pristine. I took both out of their boxes, quickly glanced and at least in first impression did not see any damage to the gashed box version, all the same, I took home the pristine box version just to be safe….
The sales guy at the Woodcraft tried talking me out of buying this plane. And wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting in to. Funny. I thought a salesman’s job was to push the POSITIVE aspects of a product, not slam his own companies chosen line to sell…. Oh for what it’s worth, he was trying to steer me to a Wood River #5…. Which from the reviews I have seen, isn’t worth the added $$ if you are willing to start out with a plane that needs sharpened, and the sole lapped a little bit….
Now back to my #5… It came home, packed in an obnoxious amount of grease. Not quite cosmoline as this stuff was not nearly that thick, but it came off easily with a shop rag sprayed with some CRC Brakleen on the milled cast iron surfaces. The excess shipping sealant removed,
Now clean, an initial inspection is in order. I took out the Johnson Engineers squares and got to work on the sole. While no runout / dial indicator measurement was taken, NO dips, concave, convex, or con anything was noticed in the sole of this plane. Simply put, it is FLAT. A quick swipe across the 600 grit on the lapping board setup verified that this plane is flat, flatter, flattest. NO lapping needs to be done here at all. (This is a nice change from the Groz #4 for sure!)
Checked the mouth which was neatly and cleanly machined, with no burrs, everything square as it should be, with no burrs, bumps, or dips or holes aside from that which is supposed to be there…
The rear side of the frog has been flattened nicely, and the fit between the chip breaker and the iron was nice and clean.
Next I was on to the tote and knob. The fit and finish was every bit as nice as the Groz #4 was, and unlike the #4. I didn’t have to tighten the bolt for the tote down to keep it from falling off.
The adjusters were all cleanly machined, and moved the iron in the direction that they are designed to perfectly.
Next was to set the iron, and then take a test swipe and some scrap SYP…
Now this is a brand new plane, fresh out of the box, and it is a CHEAP plane. Does ANYONE expect this iron to be sharp? If so you will be disappointed because my butter knives are sharper than this thing. Okay maybe an exaggeration, but you get the idea….
So it needs the iron sharpened, big whoop de doo….
The guy at Woodcraft warned me that folks are bringing these things back because they don’t cut like a Lie Nielsen out of the box. My response to the guy was pretty simple… For the price point of this plane, I am smart enough to know I will likely have to lap the sole and hone the iron. The guys that figure they don’t need to do this, and are shocked that a cheap plane doesn’t cut great out of the box probably don’t need to be handling tools in the first place….
Low cost tool haters, and there are plenty out there, will likely never even consider this plane, but to be honest, I am stunningly impressed with the initial quality impressions I have of this plane. A little sharpening, and adjustment and this should cut every bit as nice as my #4. And if that is the case, at least I know I won’t run out of note paper because I will be able to use planer shavings for it instead!
-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com