Jointer Plane: Bargain or bust

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Forum topic by rrdesigns posted 03-18-2011 04:19 PM 5528 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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531 posts in 3210 days

03-18-2011 04:19 PM

Looking at Jointer Planes and wondering if the WoodRiver is a bargain at $170 “” or a bust. All of my other bench planes are Lie Nielsen, but at $425 this one is pretty pricey.””. I like the longer length of the LN. WoodRiver doesn’t come in the same size.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

22 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2717 days

#1 posted 03-18-2011 04:22 PM

Bust, in my opinion. For a new plane, I’d go with Nielsen or Veritas. Both of their jointers are exceptional. I think the LN is worth every bit of $425 and don’t think you’ll regret the purchase. My favorite plane is my old Stanley #8, closely followed by the #7. I use them ALOT and certainly wouldn’t trade them for a new LN. If you’re up to a little refurbishing, this is a very inexpensive way to go, even with a new blade/chipbreaker.

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

View SWM's profile


94 posts in 3082 days

#2 posted 03-18-2011 04:57 PM

Boom, in my opinion. I have this exact plane and I absolutely love it. I have no doubt that the veritas and LN are fine tools, but I can’t imagine that they would produce a better finish. This plane was literally ready to go out of the box, except for a little blade honing. It’s hard to argue with whisper thin shavings. The blade appears to well balanced, holds an edge, and of good quality.

I agree that the longer length of the LN & Veritas planes would be useful when jointing larger stock, but I also think they are listed as #7 or #8 planes too. I use this #6 for flattening just about anything and it certainly could be used for edge jointing small to medium stock.

Full disclosure: I have never owned or used a LN plane. I’m partially scared that I will fall in love with them and only purchase their super expensive tools from there on out! I have a small Veritas block plane that I absolutely couldn’t do without. I bought the Veritas because the WoodRiver was $90 and the veritas was on sale for $125. I could afford $35 to give a high end plane a try. $300??? Now that might be cause for a bit of reflection.

-- Working on a retirement hobby, only 30 more years to practice!

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4219 days

#3 posted 03-18-2011 05:08 PM

I gotta go with Bertha’s comment above. All my planes are old Stanleys, and I can’t imagine how spending what the new planes cost will give you any better result and I’ve never added a new thicker blade. If you watch ebay for a while, you can get an idea what they are going for. The only other older ones I’d consider are Millers Falls planes.
When I’ve read reviews on those (price range) planes, they all seem to need a lot of tuning up; truing up the sole, squaring the blades, etc.
I’m not saying that the new planes aren’t good, just that you can get just as good for a lot less, and then there’s the feeling you get from keeping the old tools working. Some folks like that (I do, obviously), some need to have new & shiny. Good luck. -SST

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

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2904 days

#4 posted 03-18-2011 07:05 PM

The WoodRiver planes were modeled after the Stanley Bedrock Series planes which a lot of people consider Stanley’s premium plane series. I have never used a WoodRiver plane but I have heard a lot of good things about them.

It all boils down to the blade. If you are comfortable sharpening and honing the blades then you can make just about any plane preform at a premium level.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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8056 posts in 3399 days

#5 posted 03-18-2011 07:39 PM

I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a bust, but I don’t believe it’s your best bang for the buck either. For starters, an 18” #6 isn’t a true jointer plane like a 22” #7 or 24” #8. Secondly, and more importantly IMO, even though the Woodriver planes may be well designed and reasonably well made, its not made to the same standards that many of the older Bedrock, Bailey, Record, or Millers Falls (etc.) planes were. Compare any component, and you’re likely to find superior precision and superior metallurgy on the older plane….to exceed that level you’ll need to cough up the bucks for a LN or Veritas, and there’s still no guarantee it’ll be substantially better…just new, nice, and ready to rumble out of the box. I just see very few advantages going for a new Woodriver at that price. Plus the older planes are still readily available from a variety of sources, including many experienced resellers on these woodworking forums who really no how to pick a solid plane…guys like “Tablesaw Tom” or “Leonard Bailey” on Woodnet are excellent (and there are many others). I’ve got an older Record #07 made in Sheffield England that’s a beautiful jointer plane….it’s hard for me to imagine that you couldn’t find a really good example of a comparable plane for < $125.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3687 days

#6 posted 03-18-2011 08:41 PM

I think I would go for a vintage Stanley, and stick a new Pinnacle or Hock blade in it. That’s what I did … total investment in my No 7 was under $125.00.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2938 days

#7 posted 03-18-2011 09:25 PM

My vote is to refurbish an older foreplane. Here are my two Sargent 418 foreplanes (#6). The one nearest is a 418VBM I JUST picked up off of eBay for $26 +sh. This is its ”Coming Out” photo! I had to strip and refurb but have a total of less than $55-60 in it if I count ALL the sandpaper, Dremel supplies, Washing powder for electrolysis, etc. The 418 in the back has been in the family for +100 years and I am still trying to nail down its production date (many parts are Type 2 so I am hesitating on refurbing this one for the moment). BTW, the one in the back I added a Hock blade to and the one in the front I just ordered a Veritas Scraper Insert for. If I switched out the Hock blade and put it in the refurb (like Gerry says) I think I would top out right at $100 invested.


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

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2851 days

#8 posted 03-18-2011 09:41 PM

go for some used ones on craigslist


View emart's profile


445 posts in 2652 days

#9 posted 03-19-2011 06:58 AM

im with the majority on this one. all my planes are restored/rescued from second hand stores flea markets and antique stores. i have never paid more than $20 for my planes (some of which are over 100 years old) and after being restored they all work like new. dont get me wrong i like the technology in the newer planes but i just dont see paying that much for something i can get for a lot less

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#10 posted 03-19-2011 03:11 PM

Spend some time on e-bay and looking at other sources for good used planes and be patient. You’ll get a better plane for less money.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View rrdesigns's profile


531 posts in 3210 days

#11 posted 03-19-2011 04:33 PM

Which specific brands and models are the best choices if I go the ebay route? What is the “pre 19??” date for the good ones?

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3687 days

#12 posted 03-19-2011 04:51 PM

Stanley Bedrock, pre-WWII.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View knotscott's profile (online now)


8056 posts in 3399 days

#13 posted 03-19-2011 04:53 PM

Stanley Bailey, Stanley Bedrock, Record, Millers Falls, Sargent VBM, Keen Kutter, Union, Winchester, some Craftsman (among others) are the names I’d consider. Typically pre WWII are the most desirable, but there also some really nice planes made in the 50’s and even 60’s.

Some tips

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#14 posted 03-19-2011 05:00 PM

I’ve read good things about the Wood River planes, but it seems the responses here are mixed.

There are always old Stanley #7's available on e-Bay. Cleaning them up like new isn’t all that difficult.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SouthpawCA's profile


270 posts in 3257 days

#15 posted 03-19-2011 06:37 PM

I’d go the Made in USA route of the Lie-Nielsen or at least the Veritas – Made in Canada. They both are ready to go right out of the box. An added plus, you can get a really handy jointer fence with the Veritas –,41182,52515 .

-- Don

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