Finding Excellent Hand Planes Online

I'm a card-carrying power tool junkie. Whew! They say that admitting it is the first step, and that wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.

I remember vividly calling my dad on Christmas day in '85 to tell him that I received my first cordless screwdriver as a gift from my bride, and following a few seconds of silence he said: "Son... all of my screwdrivers are cordless."

Even with my 15+ router obsession I still have a place in my heart (and shop) for lots of "cordless" hand tools, just like my dad. Chisels, scrapers, Japanese and Western hand saws and lay-out tools are always close at hand, but the hand tools that I love to reach for most of all are my hand planes.

Now don't get me wrong; I don't have a collection that anyone would envy, but what I have I use.

The purpose of this blog is to provide folks like me with a little useful info about planes and to connect those who are searching for decent planes with, well... decent planes.

Add us to your favorites and check our other blogs if you prefer to plug in your tools!

Woodcraft WoodRiver planes ar 20% off!

If you've been waiting n a deal to purchase a WoodRiver hand plane, the wait no more! The entire range of planes are currently 20% off! I've really been impressed by the one I own, and I think it's time for me to grab a few more too. See them at

Oh yeah, they are also including a month's free access to Rob Cosman's Hand Tool Workshop! Here's a sample of Rob's fine work.

Finally, a tool you can take for granite

As you may have read I've been returning to the roots of woodworking by dusting off my hand tools and purchasing a few new planes.  An important first step after purchasing a new plane is something called "Fettling", which is a pretentious way of saying prepping the plane by flattening the sole.  While there are a few other things that also need to be checked and tweaked, the sole flattening is the biggie.  I've successfully used wet/dry silicone oxide sandpaper for this, but the trick has always been finding an uber-flat surface to stick the paper.  I was at Woodcraft today and noticed that they are now offering a large slab of granite for this operation, and I can't think of a better solution.  Great idea Woodcraft!

This same set-up can be used for sharpening and honing your plane's iron (blade) and your chisels, using a rolling blade guide, so it's a multi-tasker too.
Check it out now at

An AWESOME video showing the advantage of ductile iron over cast iron

If you're not familiar with Christopher Schwarz's blog over at, you owe it to yourself to check him out and to add his blog to your bookmarks.  My favorite video of his has to be the one where he is smashing hand planes in order to first demonstrate the difference between cast iron and ductile iron; followed by the attempted destruction of a WoodRiver plane in order to determine it's make-up.  

I wish I could embed the video here, but I can't so check it out here:

A Hands-On Reveal of the WoodRiver V3 #4 Plane from Woodcraft

So I went and did it.  I purchased a Woodriver #4, and since I couldn't find any videos showing what's in the box, I decided to shoot one myself.  So, this is lil' ol' me with my new plane. 

Woodcraft has improved their WoodRiver hand planes

Woodcraft recently announced that they have made improvement to their WoodRiver hand plane line.

Introduced as Woodcraft's "New and Improved Version 3 WoodRiver Bench Planes" they are still based on the old Stanley Bedrock design and feature heavy, stress –relieved ductile iron castings, fully machined adjustable frogs and A-2 blades.  They've changed the shape of the rear tote and increased the diameter of the blade adjustment wheel to make advancing the blade a bit easier. They also improved the lateral adjustment lever and added a traditional style bearing for better control of the blade.

They’ve made changes to the castings that result in better “feedback” and a solid feel to the user, and they’ve continued to make improvements in machining, finish and functionality which have yielded hand planes that are meant to be used and offer an extraordinary value.
  • Modeled after the Bedrocks, Stanley Tool's very best line
  • WoodRiver planes feature heavy castings and fully machined frogs
  • This arrangement reduces chatter by supporting the blade and helps to reduce tear-out when planing highly figured wood
  • They feature a Stainless Steel Lever Cap
  • Lightly finished Bubinga handles provide comfort and control
  • Soles and sides are machined flat and square within tightly held tolerances
  • Tools require minimal no tune-up prior to use
  • Light touch up on the high-carbon Rc60-64 blades will enable you to go right to work 
Check them out at this link:

Handplane Revival

Here's a DVD that really looks interesting.  Rob Cosman sold hand tools for years and shot several videos sharing his skill.  This one is interesting because his goal is to convert more of us plugged-in woodworkers into hand tool lovers.  check this out at

Woodcraft Breaks New (Old) Ground with it's New WoodRiver™ Hand Planes, and upsets some folks in the process.

Recently Woodcraft of Parkersburg WV introduced a small line of hand planes that are setting the woodworking world abuzz. These planes are called WoodRiver Planes, and they are cast iron behemoths that owe their design to the old Stanley Bed Rock line, and a bit to the modern planes by Thomas Lie-Nielsen's Lie-Nielsen ToolWorks USA.

First off, let's address the issue of country or origin. These planes are made in China for Woodcraft. Now, I work for a company who sells to Woodcraft, and I can tell you that they do not accept junk. Are these Chinese planes equivalent to the America made Lie-Nielsen planes, or the Canadian made Lee Valley planes? Get serious. But the great news is they are worlds better than the current Stanley planes which are sold by the big boxes and hardware chains; and they are 1/3 of the price of a new Lee Valley, and 1/2-1/3 of the price of clean vintage Stanley Bedrock.

Are they TOO similar to the Lie-Nielsen? Well, that depends on your perspective. LEGALLY Thomas Lie-Nielsen owns ZERO US Patents for his plane designs. Why? Because he himself was knocking-off the original Stanley. I Say "Knocked-off" to make a point. Just like Woodcraft Mr. Lie-Nielsen was inspired by the Stanley, and seeing that the US Patents on the Stanley Bed-Rock planes expired almost 100 years ago he was well within his rights to produce tools based on the originals... just as Woodcraft is. Lie-Nielsen ToolWorks USA has made a few changes to the original design, but these improvements were not patentable, or they determined that the cost to gain patent protection for 20 years (the life of a US patent) wasn't worth it.

All that said, it looks like the WoodRiver planes are getting a great reception, and the four planes that I played with at my local Woodcraft looked like a good value at $65 to $149!

Click to see the new WoodRiver Hand Planes From Woodcraft

Click this link to see the new WoodRiver planes for sale on eBay

Here's the text from Woodcraft's listing:
Working closely with our own manufacturer, Woodcraft has succeeded in doing what hasn't happened in more than a century: producing a collection of hand planes that are meant to be used, and are surprisingly affordable.
  • Modeled after the Bedrocks, Stanley Tool's very best line, WoodRiver™ planes feature the same heavy castings and fully machined frogs
  • This arrangement reduces chatter by supporting the blade and helps to reduce tear-out when planing highly figured wood
  • Lightly finished rosewood handles provide comfort and control
  • Most importantly, the tools require almost no tune-up prior to use
  • Soles and sides are machined flat and square within tightly held tolerances ensuring these planes are as close to ready to use as can be made
  • Usually, just a light touch up on the high-carbon Rc60-64 blades will enable you to go right to work
Intro to the Woodcraft WoodRiver Hand Planes:

WoodRiver #4 Bench Plane

WoodRiver #6 Fore Plane

WoodRiver #3 Plane

WoodRiver Adjustable Mouth Block Plane

WoodRiver #5 (Jack) Plane

Stanley Odd Jobs #1 (and it's imitators)

Made from 1888 to the early 1930's, the Stanley Odd Jobs #1 was one of the few tools that old time craftsmen needed to build anything.

It's an inside miter and try square, a depth gauge, a scribing tool for arcs and circles, a T-square, a depth marking scribe which is excellent for marking out mortises, a plumb level and a rule!

In recent years the original Odd Jobs has been
copied in the far east, and is available from every DIY woodworking store and tool catalog. Beware of the poor copy which is being sold at Harbor Freight, and which is being sold on eBay using deceptive descriptions. When in doubt ask the seller the brand name. If they don't know, or if it's CEN-TECH, take a pass.

An original Stanley Odd Jobs #1 will run you $25-75, depending on the condition and if is comes with the proper rule or not. The decent clones run around $35 with a 6" 0r 12" brass-edged rule.

Click link to find the Odd Jobs #1 for sale on eBay

Inside Lie-Nielson Toolworks video

Click this link to see Lie-Nielsen tools for Sale by Thomas Lie-Nielsen through

Click the link to see Lie-Nielsen Tools for sale on eBay