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Bench Dog 62 Low Angle Manufacturing Quality Problems

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Review by LakesideWoodworker posted 08-21-2019 02:52 PM 1721 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bench Dog 62 Low Angle Manufacturing Quality Problems Bench Dog 62 Low Angle Manufacturing Quality Problems Bench Dog 62 Low Angle Manufacturing Quality Problems Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been comparing LV, LN, Woodriver, and Benchdog Low Angle Jack Planes for some time. When Rockler had their Bench Dog plane on sale this month for $159, I thought I would give it a try.

Out of the box, it looked very good. The certificate that accompanied the plane said the sole of the plane was flat and when checked with my steel straight edge, it appeared flat. I don’t have a granite stone to test for flatness. Also, using my Starrett combination square, the sides appeared square to the sole. Looking at the blade in the throat, it also appeared square after I tapped it to align it with the throat.

I then tried to adjust the plane iron forward to make some trial cuts and started to notice problems – the plane iron would not move forward. After loosening the plane iron screw, when I turned the brass adjusting knob, the iron started to move forward, but there was a clicking sound as it moved. After removing the cap iron and plane iron, there were brass filings coming off the adjuster that fits in the goove in bottom of the plane iron. It appears the adjusting groove in the plane iron had not been milled cleanly and was cutting the softer brass from the adjuster. I took a diamond card to the plane iron groove and that seemed to smooth the rough edge that was in the groove.

However, while I had the plane iron out I noticed the bed of the plane had very rough milling swirl marks which was creating resistance to the plane iron movement. After reassembling the plane, the only way I could get the plane iron to move was reducing the tension on the plane iron cap screw to the point the plane iron felt loose. It seems the milling marks in the bed were keeping the plane iron from moving smoothly. The quality of milling of the throat plate bed and the throat plate itself were of equally rough quality making it difficult to open and close the throat without either having the knob very loose or using a lot of force.

Upon closer inspection of the plane iron with my combination square, the edge was not square with the sides of the iron – it tapered back on the right side by about 1/32”. In addition, there was a small hollow spot on the center edge of the bevel. I expect that plane irons need some work and I could have been resolved this had I decided to keep the plane and spend some time on my sharpening stones. That said, I would have to have taken about 1/32” off the edge to take out the hollow area and square up the iron.

Given the poor quality of manufacturing, I plan to take it back to Rockler and try a second plane. If that one has similar problems, I will take Bench Dog off my list for the future. It may have just been a poor quality item and I will update this review after I talk with them. They have been very good in the past when I have encountered problems with some of their products.

Hope you find this useful.

-- Lakeside Woodworker




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LakesideWoodworker

20 posts in 552 days



11 comments so far

View BigAl98's profile

BigAl98

187 posts in 3521 days


#1 posted 08-22-2019 01:55 AM

It would appear to me that in this situation with the various differences in cost of the said planes that it winds down to a simple observation that has repeatedly cropped up in my experience among different product categories and services that I’ve used.

I guess you get what you pay for.

I’m sure the next one will be another worthy of evaluation….good luck!

-- Al,New Jersey -To thine own self be true

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pottz

6001 posts in 1466 days


#2 posted 08-22-2019 07:30 PM

good to know i bought a couple of their plane during a sale months back but other than give then a look at havn’t had a chance to test drive them yet.like you said they look great out of the box.i do fully expect to do some fine tuning on the blades and soles though as most are never perfect.thanks for the info.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1776 posts in 1976 days


#3 posted 08-22-2019 08:18 PM

Thanks for posting this review.
Have seriously looked at buying a Bench Dog plane at my last two Rockler visits, but as you pointed out; the surface finish on hidden machined areas is too rough, and the overall fit/finish of the blade/cap iron/adjuster felt sloppy on every plane I tested.

In my mind – Bench Dog planes are no different than Stanley Bailey planes made after ~1960. Most the Stanley planes out of the box are not very good. Have tuned maybe a dozen planes produced from 60’s-80;s and they had exact same issues you noted. Rough machining on frog/base, and poor tolerances on blade/adjuster; all which made the adjusting process a total PIA. But after some TLC with file/sandpaper to improve the fit, and good sharping on blade; most could be make to work as intended.

IMHO – The zero to one star review problem with Bench Dog planes is not mfg quality (everyone knows Rockler always makes cheap stuff), it is the marketing on the Bench Dog Planes. They should never attempt to sell us cheap steel and cheap offshore mfg as top of line product made for craftsmen.

Let’s face it. The Bench Dog India produced planes are not first class hand tools. They are second class, or more likely third class behind the Woodcraft planes. If Bench Dog planes where marketed and sold as THE plane for every mans tool box, and price was lowered to less than half of what the Veritas/LN planes sell for; they would be labeled a good value. When a product is sold as value tool that needs to some fine tuning; the ratings are higher due lower expectations and less disappointment. Rockler attempting to compete head to head with top of line planes doomed the entire product before was even released!

One thing that really hurts Bench Dog planes is the blade steel. They won’t publish what kind of steel is being used. All we get is vague hardness number range. The high end plane makers know craftsmen want best blade steels. Even WoodCraft have positioned their Chinese made planes with A2 steel to appeal to craftsmen that buy hand planes in today’s get it done fast – power tool world.

My point? Bench Dog Planes = Until they drop the price to equal actual value received, Just say no thank you.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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Woodshark

10 posts in 4016 days


#4 posted 08-26-2019 12:14 PM

My birthday is coming up and I was looking to buy a low angle block plane. I’ve several old Stanley/Bailey four and fives but I’ve never purchased a new plane before. I researched different ones and almost bought the Bench Dog version because of the lower price. The question I keep coming back to was would I still be happy with it in a few years. In the end I decided to treat myself and ordered one from Lie Nielson.

View LakesideWoodworker's profile

LakesideWoodworker

20 posts in 552 days


#5 posted 08-27-2019 02:43 AM

I took the plane back to Rockler and we opened a second LAJ while I was in the store. It had similar problems in the same areas – milling quality of the bed and throat and adjuster/blade fit. I decided not to exchange for a different one and returned it.

I appreciate the comments about the value for the price point and this plane did not have value at its current price point.

I have several old Stanley and Record Planes which are my go-to planes but I want to expand my collection in the middle of the range.

I bought a Wood River a while back and the fit, finish and overall quality was excellent and required just minor tuning. I would say it was nearly the same as my older planes.

For the LAJ I decided that I will go with Veritas and it should be here soon. As Woodshark said, I asked myself what would make me happy in the next few years while I can still do woodworking and the extra $90 for the Veritas seemed to be worth it. Less time tuning and more time woodworking.

Thanks for the comments.

-- Lakeside Woodworker

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

560 posts in 3439 days


#6 posted 08-29-2019 03:29 AM

Indian-sourced tools in my experience = second-string at best. I do have, use, and am pleased with a Footprint Jack because it handles well those kamikaze jobs that I won’t risk my thoroughbreds on. That being said, I only paid about ten or 15 bucks new for the tool when Sears closed them out maybe 15 years ago. The OP’s review confirms what I had thought of Indian manufacturing.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Andre's profile

Andre

2750 posts in 2288 days


#7 posted 08-30-2019 11:48 PM



My birthday is coming up and I was looking to buy a low angle block plane. I ve several old Stanley/Bailey four and fives but I ve never purchased a new plane before. I researched different ones and almost bought the Bench Dog version because of the lower price. The question I keep coming back to was would I still be happy with it in a few years. In the end I decided to treat myself and ordered one from Lie Nielson.

- Woodshark

I picked up the LN 60 1/2 rabbet plane and do love it for it’s purpose but when I decided to upgrade my old Stanley 60 1/2 I went to the Veritas DX60 for the feel and of course the PMV-11 blade. Funny thing is I also have the LN Brass 102 which I use 90% of the time.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View BigAl98's profile

BigAl98

187 posts in 3521 days


#8 posted 08-31-2019 01:09 AM

I have several Lee Valley Veritas planes, and found the quality of design, finish, customer service to be excellent. When they first came out they where a good value for that, but now I think they’ve raised their price up a bit and hesitate to lay out that type of money….The stanley sweethearts are a good quality/finish for the price (when you can get them sale).

-- Al,New Jersey -To thine own self be true

View LakesideWoodworker's profile

LakesideWoodworker

20 posts in 552 days


#9 posted 08-31-2019 03:39 AM

Andre, sounds like you have a cabinet full of block planes. That DX60 is something I would really like to add but my old Stanley 60 1/2 will have to continue to be my go to plane.

I received the Veritas 62 LAJ today and it is a beautiful plane. Fit and finish were perfect and trying a couple of sample cuts before tuning the iron makes me think I won’t have much tuning to do. I am glad I decided to spend the extra money. It should make me happy for a long time.

-- Lakeside Woodworker

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LakesideWoodworker

20 posts in 552 days


#10 posted 08-31-2019 03:40 AM

Andre, sounds like you have a cabinet full of block planes. That DX60 is something I would really like to add but my old Stanley 60 1/2 will have to continue to be my go to plane.

I received the Veritas 62 LAJ today and it is a beautiful plane. Fit and finish were perfect and trying a couple of sample cuts before tuning the iron makes me think I won’t have much tuning to do. I am glad I decided to spend the extra money. It should make me happy for a long time.

-- Lakeside Woodworker

View Andre's profile

Andre

2750 posts in 2288 days


#11 posted 08-31-2019 03:43 PM



Andre, sounds like you have a cabinet full of block planes. That DX60 is something I would really like to add but my old Stanley 60 1/2 will have to continue to be my go to plane.

I received the Veritas 62 LAJ today and it is a beautiful plane. Fit and finish were perfect and trying a couple of sample cuts before tuning the iron makes me think I won’t have much tuning to do. I am glad I decided to spend the extra money. It should make me happy for a long time.

- LakesideWoodworker

LOL! Maybe? had a problem when I first got started but then I had a job, retirement has a way of stopping the buying process. Think I may have a few too many Chisels also:)
Always wanted the Veritas 62 but I had already bought the LA #4 and a custom HA #4 Veritas so have a hard time now to justify the 62!
Any of my Stanley planes have all been switched to the PMV-11 irons including the 60 1/2, very worthy investment!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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