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Groz JP-5 initial impressions.

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Review by dbhost posted 04-20-2010 03:48 AM 4000 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Groz JP-5 initial impressions. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

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




View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1887 days



21 comments so far

View docholladay's profile

docholladay

1286 posts in 1714 days


#1 posted 04-20-2010 04:44 AM

If you are willing to invest the time in fettling a lower end plane. I suggest taking a look at the Anant line of planes that Highland Woodworking (www.highlandwoodworking.com) carries. Anant makes 2 lines of planes. The lower end line is much like the Groz planes. The Anant Kamal planes are the higher quality planes. These are really quite good, but still at a very reasonable cost.

I have looked at the Groz planes and the main drawback I have seen is that the irons are pretty thin. Of course the same could also be said of most any Stanley “Bailey” planes manufactured in the last 25 years or so (the newest Stanley Sweetheart planes actually have a very thick iron). I will give the Wood River planes an edge in that category also. The iron on the Wood River planes would rival most any high end plane in thickness. They are almost as thick and heavy as a Hock iron.

Anyway, after all of that dissertation, for my money, if I am going to spend a few hours fettling a plane to make it work properly, I would still prefer to spend my time refurbing a 100 year old Stanley or Millers Falls plane. There is just something I love about taking an old neglected tool and make it useful again. Also, if you look closely at flea markets and antique shops, sometimes you get lucky and find a bargain. I have bought planes for less than $10 before that I took home, cleaned up and tuned them up and then sold on ebay for $50.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10846 posts in 1661 days


#2 posted 04-20-2010 03:16 PM

I just picked up a #5 Groz as well, being kind of a newbie ifigured that for $30 off CL i couldn’t gp wrong. This thing was brand new, never touched a piece of wood, and still had the packing grease all over it. Took it home and realized that the sole did need some lapping and the blade, like you say, couldn’t cut butter. So after a few hours tuning it up i took it to a piece of 100 year old rough sawn oak, First pass .. no chatter and fine shavings! IMHO a great starter plane that can be certainly upgraded with a new iron and chip breaker. Put a little sweat into it and im definately pleased.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View QuangFromCalgary's profile

QuangFromCalgary

25 posts in 1653 days


#3 posted 04-20-2010 04:58 PM

I bought a Groz #4 3 years ago without knowing anything about planes, it was on sale dirt cheap. Last year I started learning how to use plane. I did a lot of reading and learning that what I had was the one lots of people try to avoid. Well, I learned how to tuning this Groz plane up. It worked ok with the stock blade. But later on I bought a hock blade and chip breaker. Put them in the Groz, it works like a dream.
That was a part of learning, and I found that the Groz plan is not too bad to make it works. Of course it is not in the class of LV or LN, but it shaves as thin as others do if you learn how to tune it.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3662 posts in 1820 days


#4 posted 04-20-2010 05:18 PM

David
I am always amazed to see some of my old, but not anywhere near the top-of-line tools holding up for decades. Sunday I used my 30+ year old Skil circular saw again. Seemed to work the same as always. I looked at that saw closely when I used it….....7 1/4 inch Model 559, ball bearing, 10 amp, 2 hp, Commercial Duty was the label. This may seem strange, but I remember looking at that saw on the shelf in the small local hardware store in North Pole owned by a friend, and then buying it. He passed away many years ago. Just keeps humming along.

....... I am continually amazed to see you take either an old or lower price tool and make it something special.

Seems that the basic integrity is there for many tools, but they may need some adjusting occasionally, or even upgrading of parts (like sharpening the blade on a plane, or putting in a high quality carbide tipped blade on the old circular saw). In fact, I think that circular saw is just about due for a new blade. The old one still cuts, but it is getting dirty, and more importantly, I think there are better blades out there now. I remember replacing all the blades in the shop with high quality carbide ones, just purchased locally, probably 15 or 20 years ago. Suddenly everything worked better.

There are some limits to the cheaper tools, like the motor on your DC that can’t be converted to 240V, but on a limited budget, with some knowledge and ingenuity, you can get a fine set of tools that fit your needs.

I am just restating something you have made a premise in your shop, and demonstrated over and over again…..guess I am just tooting your own horn for you…........(-:

Keep it up…...you continue to demonstrate, especially to young hobbyists, that you don’t need to have a large budget, or the the most expensive tools. Just choose wisely, and with a little time, knowledge, and work you will have a capable shop.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Luke's profile

Luke

538 posts in 1949 days


#5 posted 04-21-2010 02:11 AM

Let me know when you return it :).

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2677 days


#6 posted 04-21-2010 02:19 AM

If the geometry is correct you have the makings of a fine tool.
I suggest you swap out the original blade for a Lie Niesen , Lee Valley or Hock.
They really make the difference in your ability to get a consitent smooth cut.
l

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1887 days


#7 posted 04-21-2010 02:43 AM

Luke,

Not likely to happen. I have been quite pleased with my #4, and really see no reason to think the #5 won’t be up to par in the months / years to come… I called it though. “I know a LOT of guys out there wouldn’t even consider one of these”. Responses here prove it…

It’s funny where some folks are willing to put their $$.... I don’t think I will ever understand woodworkers that are allergic to a little bit of tuning work on their tools…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Sean's profile

Sean

156 posts in 2270 days


#8 posted 04-22-2010 12:16 AM

Not allergic to it….just don’t want to do it. Kind of offended that I would have to. “here’s your plane, enjoy…it doesn’t work right, but you can fix it.” I wouldnt accept that from any other product that I would buy new, be it a TV, a car, a lamp, a picture frame, whatever. Why would I accept it in a tool?

Now, I do enjoy finding old planes and fettling them, and here in town there are several antique shops that have tools in them…have managed to pick up a 5, 5.5, a few transitional planes, and a 7…all of which needed cleaning and tuning, and none of which i spent more than 45$ on…unless you count time spent as money. But I am happy to do that, it’s nice to own and use a tool thats been in use for almost a century.
But as far as buying something new and fixing it? I won’t do it…but thats a personal thing. I bought a miter guage from woodcraft a year ago, it wasn’t the demonstrated product and couldnt work like the demonstrated product…when I called Jessem and wanted the right product, they started giving me instruction on adding a piece of mdf here, or switching out some bolts there….I told them to get bent, took it back and got an osborne, which worked correctly out of the box….something that, amusing tho it may be, I expect. I don’t think that makes me lazy, or a tool snob…I just feel a bit put out by the ‘hey f@#$ you, you’ll buy this as long as we make it cheap, why should we make it right’ attitude that takes over so much of our industries.

It doesn’t matter. whats important is that you are happy with it. If you like it and you enjoy tuning it up to make it work just how you want it, great. But don’t make the insinuation that it makes me stupid or lazy for not taking up the ‘deal’. It’s like telling someone they are silly for buying a BMW when they could’ve just bought a Ford.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1887 days


#9 posted 04-22-2010 04:09 AM

Sean,

It was suggested by several others that I simply not respond to your post as it appeared to them to be simple troll bait.

Aside from Luke’s very short response, I do not think anyone here is saying these planes are broken out of the box. The ONLY Issue I have with this plane I have with the in store Wood River, and the few remaining Lie Nielsen planes as well. The irons are not sharpened when they come to you. Those nice high end Hock irons aren’t pre-honed either.

Now mind you, manufacturers specifications call for the sole of the plane to be within .003 of flat, which is fine for many folks. Mine was as far as I could measure totally flat all the way across toe to heel. Is a Veritas any flatter than dead flat?

I hone my plane irons for a lot of the same reasons I do my own home repairs, and my own woodworking. I want it done right. Yes Woodcraft does offer a sharpening service. I’ve had enough experience with them to not expect anything from them.

I’m also not sure where you get the insinuation that not wanting to tune your tools makes you lazy or stupid. But if you want to feel that way, be my guest. It’s not what I meant in the slightest, but I won’t interfere with your freedom of choice.

My comment about not understanding woodworkers that are allergic to a little bit of tuning work on their tools is based on the fact that sooner or later, that iron is going to have to come back out of that Lie Nielsen, or that Veritas plane, and some tuning is in order. I see MANY woodworkers that tout the high end planes on the sole virtue that they didn’t have to lap the sole or spend the time honing the iron (although the high end planes I have seen have irons as dull as my Groz). After some use, all hand planes, just like all automobiles are going to require tuning. So you see my comment is an honest one about not understanding. It seems a little silly to me to try to avoid the inevitable. Postponing however I do understand. But this isn’t a life or death thing…

If you have the money, and the high end planes make you happy, there is nothing wrong with spending the bucks. And there is certainly something worth while about the idea of supporting the home team. If I had the bucks, I would own a nice chunk of the Lie Nielsen catalog contents.

If you read my review with the idea that I am saying all cheap tools are good, and all high end tools are a waste of time and money then you are not reading what I have written in context. What I AM saying is that for a guy (or gal) on a budget, that is looking for function within a lower budget range, there are some good options to be had.

By the way, it IS silly to buy a BMW versus a Ford if that BMW is a 3 series, and you need a full size pickup to tow your 30 foot travel trailer. A BMW 3 series I do not believe has much of a towing capacity., and would probably be lucky to be able to tow a teardrop trailer….

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2677 days


#10 posted 04-22-2010 04:19 AM

In a busy train station I asked if anyone had the correct time.
One fellow was wearing a Timex and the other a Rolex.
They both replied 3:00 PM.
Don’t be too hard on each other.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Shopsmithtom's profile

Shopsmithtom

780 posts in 2850 days


#11 posted 04-22-2010 04:38 AM

Thanks for the great review. This subject always seems to bring out lots of diverse opinions, and that’s a good thing, as there’s something for everybody. Me, I prefer the old Stanley’s that I’ve restored. They were very reasonable to buy & I love putzing with them as well. I haven’t yet replaced any of the original blades with a thicker one because I really can’t imagine them working any better than they already do, and I’m cheap, so why spend the extra $$$?
Because of their low price,the Groz planes have, I must admit, tempted me. But so far I’ve been able to resist. I actually have more than enough planes anyway. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1887 days


#12 posted 04-22-2010 05:00 AM

Bob #2, I LOVE your analogy!

Oh I’m on the prowl for decent antique Stanley / Bailey, Millers Falls etc… planes. And if somebody wants to sell me an LN or Veritas #7 for what I am wanting to pay for a second hand antique or a groz then I will snap it up….

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Luke's profile

Luke

538 posts in 1949 days


#13 posted 04-22-2010 05:07 AM

I bought a buck bros smoother from depot. I spent a lot of time tuning it up and got it taking a pretty nice shaving. I was only partially happy cause I’d never used a smoother and didn’t know how to feel. I bought my father in law a wood river smoother and tried it right out of the box. Wow…. I can only imagine what a LN smoother would do. Granted a smoother may be more important than a jack or leveling plane but I still think the quality of the cut would and should be an issue. No offense on my earlier comment but it still stands. Try a LN with a sharp blade and then let me know when you take the Groz back :) Not that it will help you much towards the cost of a LN. hehe

BTW I own a LN Adj. mouth block plane and it is Amazing…

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View Sean's profile

Sean

156 posts in 2270 days


#14 posted 04-22-2010 05:08 AM

It’s not troll bait. I wasn’t rude, or looking to pick a fight. you made several comments that seemed to make a clear tone that you think people who don’t want to put in the extra effort of converting their low-end tool are foolish, and probably shouldn’t be woodworking. I’m one of those people, and I don’t feel foolish for expecting whatever I buy to perform. If you didn’t mean to imply that, then my mistake for taking it that way…the internet can do that, things spoken seem harsh when written.
It’s funny where some folks are willing to put their $$.... I don’t think I will ever understand woodworkers that are allergic to a little bit of tuning work on their tools…

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….

That being said, I will respect your opinion of your plane, and agree with your point that at that price you have to expect to fettle it.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View Sean's profile

Sean

156 posts in 2270 days


#15 posted 04-22-2010 05:16 AM

btw, if you are on the prowl for a decent antique, i would go the route of looking at antique shops or auctions…not ebay auctions…I’ve got the shaft on that end twice now, buying something that turned out to be a frankenplane. I’m happier if I can pick it up and take it apart before buying. I went to a tool auction here in indy with 200$ last month. If I had taken 500$ I could have walked away with quite a collection…i think the prices at a regular auction are better than what you get on ebay.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

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