Wood river or stanley sweetheart

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Forum topic by kent_michaels posted 03-04-2011 12:04 AM 9048 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 2656 days

03-04-2011 12:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane

I have a few old rehabed stanley planes but I want to get a new 4 plane. LN and LV are too expensive so between the wood river and new stanley sweetheart #4 which is the better choice. They are roughly the same price. Both seem to be well made. I like the adjustable throat on the stanley but I’m not sure how I’d like the norris style adjuster. Thanks for any help.

6 replies so far

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3053 days

#1 posted 03-04-2011 12:15 AM

They are both nice planes, if you havent already, look at them in person. I recently went to woodcraft with a friend who was buying a couple planes, and found out a lot. I love old sweetheart planes, I have a 4, 5, and 6, but the new ones did not impress me. they worked fine, but the quality of the casting, and the milling seemed to be lacking, not in any important areas, but it speaks to the quality overall IMO. The WoodRivers are made very well, look nice, and that is what my friend ended up with, and is very happy with. The woodrivers are almost an exact dupliacate of LN, I actually tore apart a WR and a LN in the store, and found the parts interchangable.
One caveat to the WR, ask the sales person to check which production run you are buying. The first run is the best, it was the introduction, and they made them perfect, the second run they let slip, the third run they got back up to standards, and since then there isnt much deviation, but check it over carefully before taking it home.

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34 posts in 2656 days

#2 posted 03-04-2011 12:32 AM

Thanks for your response, I’ve handled a wood river #5 and planed some soft wood with it and was impressed. I’ve held the stanley and noticed the black paint on it seemed to be rubbing off but didn’t really look closely at it.

View wasmithee's profile


58 posts in 2657 days

#3 posted 03-04-2011 02:21 AM

I purchased and returned two of the new sweetheart low angle block planes. Both had cooked beds and were not usable. I compared them and they weren’t even the same length and the finish was different on both. Low quality standards to say the least. Pretty stupid of them to associate their “sweetheart” logo with junk. I guess if they ever produce a quality plane they’ll have to give it a new logo.

I can’t speak to the WR planes. I ended up going with LV (Veritas) planes which are cheaper than the Lie Nielsen planes, but of similar quality. I am happy with my LV planes (I have three so far)

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2658 days

#4 posted 03-04-2011 02:30 AM

I won’t trash Stanley over their new offerings; nuff said. You’re clearly versed in Stanley resto’s; why not go with a Bedrock 604 & drop a new blade/chipbreaker into it. Seems like middle $ versus imitated performance, as I see it. Either way, you’re buying handplanes, which makes you a friend of mine.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2821 days

#5 posted 03-04-2011 03:26 AM

As a newbie to the hand tools (I’m getting hooked) I broke down and purchased the WR #4 over Christmas and absolutely love it. I had an old Fulton #3 from my grandfather that I worked on for a while and had it tuned and sharp. The WR has a lot more “beef” to it especially the iron. I also bought a Bahco scraper and learned how to sharpen it with a file in the bench vice and don’t use a burnisher. Both of these tools have changed the way I work now.

I am putting the finishing touches on a custom window seat for the wife to store fabric for her quilting. The solid oak face frame was about 1/16” proud of the top. The plane and scraper made short work of cleaning up the joint.

The WR is easy for me to adjust, and took just a little time to wipe off all the oil, scary sharp the Iron and I was making shavings in no time on red oak.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2878 days

#6 posted 03-04-2011 03:49 AM

What the Redneck says. I feel the same about my WR #4. FWIW, my only other experience is my GG-pa’s #418 Sargent and 1860s 22” Auburn jointer. The solid feel and adjustment has me convinced that this is worth buying, regardless. I also bought WR’s LA-block plane and a UK-Stanley #92 recently.

My vote, buy the WR #4. Buying any more than this is just bells and whistles…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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