|Review by bobasaurus||posted 12-03-2012 03:59 AM||3177 views||0 times favorited||12 comments|
I bought this WoodRiver #6 at a Rob Cosman hand planing / dovetailing seminar. He was able to take one of these new out of the box, hone the blade, and produce a shaving about 3/10000” thick according to his micrometer. Most of us attending were impressed enough to buy one ourselves (cost about $150 at the time, though the sale has ended now).
I try to follow his hand sharpening technique as well, and now I can get shavings from this plane almost as thin as he can. The first picture shows me planing pine with a freshly-honed blade, taking about the finest cut I can manage. The pine surface looked and felt like glass after. Another picture shows it setup on my shooting board, taking end grain shavings less than 1/1000” thick from some mahogany. I use Shapton water stones, and only the 1K and 15K are used for plane irons with Rob’s technique (along with a diamond plate for flattening them constantly).
After getting it tuned-up and taking shavings, I’ve really come to love this plane. At first I was a little put-off by the Chinese manufacturing and the relatively no-name brand, but after removing the 5 gallons of cosmoline from the metal and working with it I’ve become a believer. The castings are robust and heavy, the grinding consistent, flat, and polished. The frog is very sturdy and has a large supporting surface for the blade (see my picture). It adjusts via a Stanley Bedrock style mechanism, so you can leave the blade in while adjusting the mouth opening. The depth adjust knob is large, and is finely threaded. The blade and chipbreaker are very thick to dampen vibrations, and the A-2 steel holds an edge for quite a while. The sole is dead flat, though I did have to relieve the outer edges a hair to keep the sides from catching while sliding over smooth surfaces. All the adjustments are smooth and hold their position well in use.
The only downsides I could find are pretty superficial. The depth-adjust knob has a little more play in it than I like when switching directions. The lateral adjust lever has some resistance so it’s tricky to tell when you’ve actually engaged the blade or when you’re in the “dead zone” while changing sides. The back of the blade was slightly concave (though 30 seconds of lapping on my diamond stone fixed that). Finally, there was one tiny blemish in the finishing on the sole, though in an obscure spot and it still seemed completely flat. None of these things really detract from the plane in use, I’ve found.
Overall this is a great tool, especially so given the price. It’s become the second-most used plane in my shop, behind my Grandpa’s old Bailey #3 that I cleaned and fit with a Pinnacle blade.
A few more pictures here: http://imgur.com/a/DSwGQ
-- Allen, Colorado