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Woodriver gets it right

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Review by mcase posted 996 days ago 4424 views 1 time favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Woodriver gets it right No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I posted a poor review of Woodriver planes a couple of years ago. However Woodcraft has come out with a much improved version called the V3. Woodcraft had them on sale so I picked up a #4. Arguably it needed no tuning and with a quick honing could have been used right out of the box. I did however strip it down and tune it for my own compulsive reasons. The sole was very true and it hardly took five minutes to get it to within 1.5 thousands. The blade which is A2 steel was slightly dished in the center. But because the low was behind the edge I could have left this alone too. All parts were well machined and the handles were done nicely as well. The lateral adjuster is much nicer than the original, having a solid tang and a bearing like the Lie-Nielsen. The V3 also has a Lie-Nielsen style improved heavy chip breaker. The blade came flat ground at 25 degrees. I prefer a steeper angle than this particularly with A2 steel and wanted to get past the new steel edge anyway so I put it on the Tormek and gave it a 33 degree straight hollow grind with a honing to 6000 and a very shallow back bevel using the ruler technique. Then I put it all back together, dialed in the frog and gave it whirl. The results were beautiful. The plane has mass and and accuracy. The lateral adjustments were firm and the depth adjuster was precise. I could easily set it for feathery gossamer shavings or solid curls. I got full width shavings too. Just really really nice! It was so nice I went back and got the #5 and #6. These too were solid performers. I gave them the same small tuning and subsequently reground the #4 with a slightly convex edge for smoothing. I put them all through the paces and found the edge retention to be very good. The only reason I did not give them 5 stars is that one of them had a defective handle bolt which needed to be replaced and some pitting on the sole. They are not Lie-Nielsens, but they are handsome, solidly built planes that perform remarkably well.




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mcase

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25 comments so far

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ShaneA

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#1 posted 996 days ago

Thanks for the review, I have the v3 WR #5 as well. It is noticeably heavier than a Bailey #5, while I am not a plane expert nor do I have a 605 Bedrock or LN to compare it to, overall I have been very pleased with the fit and finish of this plane. Thick iron, hefty, solid feel to it.

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Lifesaver2000

512 posts in 1745 days


#2 posted 996 days ago

Thanks for the review. I have been wanting to pick up another #4, and not having much luck finding an old Stanley at a good price in the local antique stores. Gives me something to think about, and would save me a lot of time versus doing another restore.

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Ken90712

14878 posts in 1822 days


#3 posted 996 days ago

Good info, and review.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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Domer

245 posts in 2000 days


#4 posted 996 days ago

Does anyone have a comparison between the v2 and v3 Wood River planes?

Domer

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Don W

14886 posts in 1201 days


#5 posted 996 days ago

great review.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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Roco54

18 posts in 1001 days


#6 posted 996 days ago

Thank you for the review – Very detailed and informative.
I have a #4 and a #5 Stanley-Bailey made in England and a #7 Record. I want to buy a #6 and a #3 and I have been wondering about the quality of the Wood Rivers from Woodcraft. These planes are very reasonably priced compared with the Lie Nilsen or Lee Valley ones. I like the shape of the aprons, similar to the Stanley bedrocks. I really like the bedrocks but they are expensive. Ebay has them often but one never knows in what condition they really are and the prices go through the roof. There are also some old Baileys with a flat frog surface but on eBay the prices can end up high and the state in wich they are in is problematuic. Stanley has also come up with the premium SW planes, a revival of the old SW series – Does anybody have any experience with these planes?
Chris Shwartz from Popular Woodworking has dedicated a lot of attention to planes and published good books about them.
mcase – Based on your review I will probably buy the Wood River’s;
I also see that you have a nice bench – Can you give some details about it?
Thank you again.

-- Life is what we make of it

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Roco54

18 posts in 1001 days


#7 posted 996 days ago

Thank you for the review – Very detailed and informative.
I have a #4 and a #5 Stanley-Bailey and a #7 Record. I want to buy a #6 and a #3 and I have been wondering about the quality of the Wood Rivers from Woodcraft. These planes are very reasonably priced compared with Lie Nilsen’s or Lee Valley ones. I like the shape of the aprons, similar to the Stanley bedrocks. I really like the bedrocks but they are expensive. Ebay has them often but one never knows in what condition they really are and the prices go through the roof. There are also some ol Baileys with a flat frog surface but on eBay the prices can endup very high and the state in wich they are in is problematuic. Stanley has also come up with the premium SW planes, a revival of the old SW series – Does anybody has any experience with these planes?
Chris Shwartz from Popular Woodworking has dedicated a lot of attention to planes and published good books about them.
mcase – Based on your review I will probably buy the Wood River’s;
Thank you again.
OOPS!!! – I don’t know how to cancell a post

-- Life is what we make of it

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mcase

438 posts in 1762 days


#8 posted 995 days ago

Roco,

The new Sweethearts are aimed at the quality market, but they are not a revival. They are a sort of hybrid – they have Norris style adjusters and are somewhat akin to the Veritas planes. I had one of the new Stanley Sweethearts a while back and returned it. The handles are flat and the product of corner cutting. The steel in the blade on the one I owned was useless. It simply crumbled and tore the wood up. I reground and set a new edge three times and still the same thing. That may have been one poorly tempered blade, but I never went back for more. Also the Sweetheart is almost $200.00 so I thought why not just get a Veritas from Lee Valley? Then I looked at V3 Woodrivers and you know the rest. The Woodrivers are a Bedrock plane by the way. They are knock of of the Lie-Nielsen which is a knock off of the Bedrock. They both share heavier blades and chip breakers than the old Bedrocks. Stanley blades (“cutters” as Stanley called them) were always thin and so this is an improvement even over the best old Bedrock -

The bench I built about six years ago. Its quatersawn white oak throughout. Rather than use the trestle design manufacturers favor because it allows them to ship their benches disassembled in a flat box, I employed four massive 3 1/2×4” legs mortised and tenoned together to a frame of 1 3/4” x 4” rails. It has two chain drive Veritas vices – one at the end and one on the front. It also harbors a large tool case with six drawers.

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Chelios

567 posts in 1699 days


#9 posted 995 days ago

Lets not keep sponsoring mediocre manufacturing outside this country! Especially when the best of the best are made here, at home.

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thedude50

3512 posts in 1111 days


#10 posted 995 days ago

actually the best of the best were made here but they are no longer made here unless you believe a LN is the best of the best. What if i told you its all crap and the plane matters for not you would say I am crazy right. Hell I would have been right there with you. But I am a professional tool evaluator have been for 15 years and I was just asked a couple of weeks ago to try out a blade and chip-breaker that if put into one of my old Stanley planes would challenge my pretty new Lie Nelson Plane that cost 300 dollars. I was floored by the claim and said because my mom is from Missouri Show Me . So they sent me several sets of these Rob Cosman Matched sets when they arrived I jumped up and grabbed the box and ripped it open like a kid at Christmas. I looked at the blades and thought I have seen tons of blades but i have not in 43 Years of woodworking seen a blade and chip breaker that came close to this the machining is beyond good its great. I was reading how I was going to fit this into one of my antique planes and it said something about having to file the mouth open on the leading edge of the throat. For a minute I balked and said oh they want me to what. I thought I could grab one of the Bailey Planes they are a dime a dozen I literally have hundreds of them out in the shop. Then I thought of the hand tool expert Rob Cosman Himself put his whole reputation on the line so I could put a bedrock on the line I had just finished restoring a no603 for my personal plane so I grabbed it and followed the instructions very carefully and in 15 minutes I had the throat opened enough to allow the blade to fit through with the mouth being wide enough for a shaving of decent size to fit through easily. I literally did nothing to this Iron and I went to work on a piece of figured crotch wood Walnut the first shaving came out a little to thin and strong on the right just a touch I adjuster the lateral lever on my plane and gave her a little more blade the second pass was whisper thin full thickness shavings just like on u tube I mean three feet long and just like a ribbon. I was in awe of my own plane is was close to a religious moment I was at last pleased 100 percent with a plane this thing made my LN look like so much a bailey in the LN defense it is a brand new 1995 plane that had never seen wood and has their first design iron and chip breaker in it but it didn’t cut as well as my old bedrock 603 did with the Rob Cosman IBC Iron I gave the plane a workout for about 30 minutes cut after cur was a show fit for television I mean it was unreal. So Now I grabbed a big Blade that says it fits a 4 .5 a 5.5 6 and 7 so i grabbed my new eBay find a late model 5.5 and was bummed to find the plane was a tiny bit too small so I grabbed the 607 now in baileys a 5.5 and a 7 are the same size but this is not the case in the bedrocks so i filed again for about 20 minutes and made it look so good you couldn’t tell it was altered. Then I fit the iron adjusted it and went at some pine boards then some walnut then alder and poplar I was planing just for the fun of seeing these whisper thin shavings. In conclusion the blades performed like advertised maybe even better If there is a down side to making grandads plane cut like a new elite plane it would be they currently only make the Iron in 3 sizes the price is good at a hundred dollars and i have seen them at 69.99 on sale I do proudly recommend these Iron chip breaker sets Lance

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

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Roco54

18 posts in 1001 days


#11 posted 994 days ago

Hey theDud,
Interesting! Where can one buy the Rob Cosman blades (cutters)?
Chelios,
You are right, but that was long time ago. So far as I know, most of the current planes and blades are no more manufactured in North America, with exception of LN and Veritas. They are good for sure but very expensive and many cannot justify forking out that kind of money. Just imagine going to your better half and say – Honey look what I got, a fantastic #4 plane for $300.00. I think to do that safely one has to have budgeted also for a diamond ring…
When I studied woodworking in the 60’s in Africa most of the planes were made in England and it was a real treat to get one made in the US. The old bedrocks were exceptionaly good, mainly because their frog faces were flat and provided solid backing to the blade, but they are also very expensive now. There are some batches of Stanley Baileys with similar frogs and they are chepar on eBay, but they normally need a fair amount of work, and new good blades to bring them to a awing state.

-- Life is what we make of it

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14886 posts in 1201 days


#12 posted 993 days ago

Roco, woodcraft has them. Here is the #4 size

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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Roco54

18 posts in 1001 days


#13 posted 993 days ago

Thank you Don
It’s amazing what’s available to the woodworker now. In the Rob Crosman’s video demonstrationn, he angles the plane to the edge of the piece, making the cuting easier, a position now recomended by the experts. When I studied woodworking the emphasis was, when joining, to maintain all the plane face on the work piece to attain the straightest edge possible. Also when I studied the “shop master” insisted on resting the planes on their sides and not on the faces. Another thing that’s now recomended is to slightly bow the edge of blades , in order to avoid digging on the work piece, where as we were taught to get the staightest edge possible. Luckly the sharpening stones we had at the time were not that flat, and did that automaticaly.

-- Life is what we make of it

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mcase

438 posts in 1762 days


#14 posted 993 days ago

Roco,

I was always taught to rest them on their sides too. In taking the photo I dialed the blades in.

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wingate_52

219 posts in 1203 days


#15 posted 993 days ago

My bench planes are all Bailley style Records or Stanleys from the 60’s, because that is when I bought them. 10 or so years ago I bought a Japanese laminated Smoothcut blade as I was having trouble planing some ebony.It was a winner, but a little brittle. I recently refurbished all my planes with new handles and totes, self made. Re-lapped the soles and the frogs, and installed some more Smoothcut blades, a Quangsheng blade in my No.3 and a couple of Rob Cosman combos. All are a great improvement over the older Stanley/Record blades, which can take a sharp edge but don’t keep it on some hardwoods. The Cosman blade is outstanding. I have fitted QS chipbreakers to the other planes and am now a happy planer indeed. I have bought a QS 62 LABU plane with 3 blades and I could do most operations with that plane alone, but the Rob Cosman blades are worth every penny and every minute spent fitting them.

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