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IWF Alert: WoodRiver planes, take three

comments (3) August 25th, 2010 in blogs

MKenney Matthew Kenney, special projects editor
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Planes-a-plenty. WoodRiver now offers a more robust lines of planes, from standard bench planes such as a No. 4 smoother to the more esoteric side-rabbet plane.
Nice knuckles. WoodRivers block planes have a kuckle-style cap iron.
Planes-a-plenty. WoodRiver now offers a more robust lines of planes, from standard bench planes such as a No. 4 smoother to the more esoteric side-rabbet plane. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Planes-a-plenty. WoodRiver now offers a more robust lines of planes, from standard bench planes such as a No. 4 smoother to the more esoteric side-rabbet plane.

Photo: Matt Kenney

Woodcraft's WoodRiver line of bench planes has been out for a while now (read our review and about the small controversy they sparked), so these aren't completely new tools. But the designers haven't been resting on their heels and have been working with the manufacturer to improve tolerances and refine the user's experience. There's been a change to the tote on the bench planes to improve comfort, and the diameter of the blade adjustment wheel has been increased for easier adjustments. There's also been a change to the lateral adjustment lever so that you get better feedback on what your adjustments are doing to the blade. The planes range in price from $115 to $155.

You should also keep your eye out for the WoodRiver block planes, which make use of Stanley's knuckle-style cap iron. The cap hooks over a screw that comes up from the body and then snaps down to lock the blade in place. It makes for very quick blade adjustments and means easy removal for sharpening. There's a low-angle and a standard angle version. They've also added a few specialty planes. There are two chisel planes (one large, one small) and a side-rabbet plane. The block planes will be available in a few months and will be in the November Woodcraft catalogue. The speciality planes will be available at the end of the year.

WoodRiver also had low-angle spokeshave on display, which sells for $50.

Read about other great tool finds at IWF 2010

posted in: blogs, planes, WoodRiver, IWF 2010

Comments (3)

jeremyk jeremyk writes: I have a #4 smoother (version 3) and I couldn't be happier. My used-almost-daily plane collection includes Stanley, LN, but mostly LV. Just as happy w/ the WoodRiver as the others.

Truth be told; if I could have bought LV locally-- I would have. I'm glad I did buy the WoodRiver, though. I've gotten decent at sharpening a blade (learn this before you even decide to discard a plane because it doesn't work for you) and closing down the frog I was getting extremely fine curly maple shavings w/ their stock blade/chip breaker.

It's survived beautifully and done an excellent job for me on many projects since. It is kind of the odd-ball sitting next to a bunch of Veritas planes; but, it does a fantastic job.

I can't imagine how the yoke broke for you. Three times.

Posted: 1:40 am on December 3rd

devincox2 devincox2 writes: I have never experienced one single problem with my Wood River planes, and continue to be impressed everytime I reach for one. I first purchased a No. 5 about a year ago. It worked fine out of the box and exceeded my expectations after some simple adjustments, fettling of the sole, and a small amount of attention to the blade. I can read the paper through the shavings. I bought a Hock blade to put in the plane but found it didnt need it.

I recently bought the No. 6 Wood River and am just as pleased with it.
I have some old reconditioned Stanleys/Bailey but I consistently reach for the Wood River planes.

Posted: 2:37 pm on October 28th

dennhy dennhy writes: I was so disappointed with my WoodRiver (number 5 jack plane). I bought it after FWW and others gave the new planes excellent reviews. It broke, yes broke, several times when making adjustments. It was obvious that the manufacturer used excellent machining and material for some of the plane but the yoke was made of cheap metal. It might as well be made of plastic. The folks at WoodCraft sent me the replacement parts, but they couldn't make up for the lost time in the shop. It goes back to the old proverb, "you only cry once when buying good tools". I don't know if I'll trust the new and improved planes. How hard can designing a hand plane be? The basic design has been around for, what, 100 years? After being initially impressed, the instructor at my adult wood working class ended up calling it a disappointment. After it broke (third time for this plane) when he tried adjusting it, he reached for an original Stanley plane. Built over 80 years ago, this plane has withstood years of abuse at the hands of high school shop students and still works great! Too bad for Wood RIver, there were 15 wood workers that received a live demo on what not to buy. Hey Wood River, measure twice, cut once.
Posted: 12:01 am on August 30th

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Blog edited by Fine Woodworking associate editor Matt Kenney.