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Are WoodRiver's new block planes good enough to knuckle down in the shop?

comments (4) November 19th, 2010 in blogs

MKenney Matthew Kenney, special projects editor
thumbs up 11 users recommend

Anatomy lesson. The cap iron has two parts. The true cap iron looks a lot like a chip break, with its curved front. A bulbous cap applies pressure when its snapped down, closing up the jointed lever.
 - CLICK TO ENLARGE Photo: Matt Kenney

Eariler this week, I found a small, but very heavy box on my desk. The shipping label and weight told me all I needed to know. Inside I would find both versions (low-angle and standard-angle) of WoodRiver's new block planes. One thing that immediately jumps out is that they have a knuckle-joint cap lever. Stroll on over to Patrick Leach's Blood & Gore and read about Stanley's #18 block plane to learn a bit more about the original design. I'll need some more time with the WoodRiver version to determine exactly how, if at all, they differ from the Stanley #18. (But that will have to wait.)

I used the prototypes at IWF, but not enough to get a good sense of how well the planes worked. Sadly, I've already packed up these new ones and shipped them off to Chris Gochnour, who will give them a full test. Look for his review in an upcoming issue of Fine Woodworking. On first impression, the fit and finish are good. And the planes are heavy. That big spoony looking part of the cap lever is comfortable (I prefer it to the cap iron on a more traditional block plane, like the Stanley #9 1/2). And overall, the plane fit my hand very well. Oh, but I wish I could have put it to use for a week or so in my shop. So, I'm sorry to say I can't report on its performace. (I guess that's alright. I do have three very cool planes in my shop right now for testing. Say no more. Say no more.)

posted in: blogs, WoodRiver, block planes, knuckle-joint cap lever

Comments (4)

goodguy goodguy writes: This "article" is a waste of time.
Posted: 12:26 am on December 8th

Morbius_Of_Oz Morbius_Of_Oz writes: I have the WoodRiver low-angle block plane and love it. I have had it for about two weeks now and have used it nearly every second day. It is a pleasure to use and (with the blade properly sharpened) produces the finest shavings that I have ever seen. The quality of the plane that I received is exceptional. I will definitely be picking up more WoodRiver planes to use in future.
Posted: 6:34 am on December 3rd

jmunn jmunn writes: I haven't used them but they look a lot like the very old block planes used a very long time ago in entry level woodworking training or even in woodshop classes at the junior high or high school level.

What was wrong with the previous design? Was it too expensive to make with those threads and nut design? At least they could give some marketing spin on why these are better than the previous generation.
Or is this some reaction to another manufacturer threatening to take legal action against WoodRiver?
Posted: 2:56 pm on November 24th

Rustyhoundog Rustyhoundog writes: The planes are seven inches long which makes them more akin to Stanley #19 and Stanley #65. Wood River doesn't specify cutter width in their 'Information' panel so who's to know. The #19 had a hinged cap. They would be more akin to a high angle 65 than a low angle 18 or 19.
Posted: 4:45 pm on November 23rd

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Blog edited by Fine Woodworking associate editor Matt Kenney.