Why the WoodRiver #4 is so uncomfortable.

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Forum topic by lysdexic posted 10-05-2011 05:10 AM 1625 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5254 posts in 2589 days

10-05-2011 05:10 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane

There have been several reviews here on LJ’s concerning the WR #4. I have responded a couple times that I felt the tote was cramp. So, I started looking at the tote to figure out why.

I thought I’d post for those considering these planes. I think they are a good value but with some draw backs. I really like mine but I have to hold it with the index and small finger extended.

Here is pic of the WR #4

I placed a type 12 SB #3 on top of the #4 so the horns and curve for the 1st web space are equal.

While in the same position, this is a look straight down at the base of the totes. The WR #4 base is significantly taller.

This is another look just trying to minimize parallax error.

Sitting side by side you can see have prominent the WR #4 tote’s base is.

Now, I shimmed the #3 up so that the horn and web space curve are about the same.

And this is comparing a #4 to a #3. I don’t have a vintage #4 to compare. There is just no room for your little finger.

Just FYI.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

10 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6909 posts in 2564 days

#1 posted 10-05-2011 05:56 AM

Are you working with some big hands? How about pic with your hands on both? Im a demanding PITA, I know. Thanks for the info. Very interesting. Is there a way to easily reconfigure the handle? Maybe make it better, or is that a stupid question? Forgive my plane ignorance.

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5254 posts in 2589 days

#2 posted 10-05-2011 06:29 AM

Yea, I’d say that my hands are on the thick side. Pics holding the planes is a fair request.

Looking at the base of the WR tote, you could certainly sand it down to the level of the screw head and that would probably make all the difference in the world. But it is just another thing to tune before this plane is really ready for extended use.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3762 days

#3 posted 10-05-2011 12:07 PM

I agree that reworking the tote is a PITA…which is why I still would go vintage if I were doing it all again today :)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View wingate_52's profile


224 posts in 2535 days

#4 posted 10-05-2011 05:52 PM

I have the Quangsheng (Manufacturer of Wood River) 62 LA BU plane. This handle is wrong. A little too upright and the lower curve near the casting is too tight. I have made a replacement that is now perfect for me. I will post a photo when it is polished and on the plane. I have tried it at the bench and am really pleased with its performance.

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2659 days

#5 posted 10-05-2011 06:01 PM

It looks like they beefed it to accommodate the screw, rather than the little boss. I bet you could put a flat screw in there & bring the handle down. The screw’s probably not even necessary and you could just fill the hole. Thanks for this very illuminating post. I’m taking that you like the plane with the exception of the handle. That’s a good thing.

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

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4063 days

#6 posted 10-05-2011 06:26 PM

Related to the index finger being extended. From a tool use perspective it should be extended. This provides feedback and assists you in guiding the plane.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2937 days

#7 posted 10-05-2011 06:29 PM

It’s interesting that these tote discussions are popping up frequently. I have a vintage #4C with a broken tote and a missing knob which I had posted a question about wood choices for a replacement. That led to me researching more and I noticed something about my Groz planes. I have them tuned up and generally am satisfied with how they plane wood, but they cramp my hands if I have any significant amount of work to do with them.

After that last observation I noticed that all Groz plane’s totes are about 20% smaller than my old American made Stanleys. Makes me wonder if that might be a trend for most, if not all, Asian or Indian plane totes. Those people generally have smaller hands than we do and it makes me wonder if that’s reflected in the handles they put on these tools.

I am planning to replace the tote on my Groz #6 just to see how much difference it makes.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15280 posts in 2584 days

#8 posted 10-05-2011 07:13 PM

Can’t imagine having to extend the pinkie to get a hand on a plane… Two finger grip can’t offer much in the way of control.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View wingate_52's profile


224 posts in 2535 days

#9 posted 10-05-2011 07:43 PM

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2393 days

#10 posted 10-09-2011 10:32 PM

Wingate you are so right, just a tenth of an inch here and tenth there and you have a handle that just feels wrong. The Chinese may have a slightly different size hand compared to Anglo Saxons or they just do not care as long as the product goes out the door, and they get paid.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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