A Great Plane

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Review by bobasaurus posted 12-03-2012 03:59 AM 4516 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A Great Plane A Great Plane A Great Plane Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this WoodRiver #6 at a Rob Cosman hand planing / dovetailing seminar. He was able to take one of these new out of the box, hone the blade, and produce a shaving about 3/10000” thick according to his micrometer. Most of us attending were impressed enough to buy one ourselves (cost about $150 at the time, though the sale has ended now).

I try to follow his hand sharpening technique as well, and now I can get shavings from this plane almost as thin as he can. The first picture shows me planing pine with a freshly-honed blade, taking about the finest cut I can manage. The pine surface looked and felt like glass after. Another picture shows it setup on my shooting board, taking end grain shavings less than 1/1000” thick from some mahogany. I use Shapton water stones, and only the 1K and 15K are used for plane irons with Rob’s technique (along with a diamond plate for flattening them constantly).

After getting it tuned-up and taking shavings, I’ve really come to love this plane. At first I was a little put-off by the Chinese manufacturing and the relatively no-name brand, but after removing the 5 gallons of cosmoline from the metal and working with it I’ve become a believer. The castings are robust and heavy, the grinding consistent, flat, and polished. The frog is very sturdy and has a large supporting surface for the blade (see my picture). It adjusts via a Stanley Bedrock style mechanism, so you can leave the blade in while adjusting the mouth opening. The depth adjust knob is large, and is finely threaded. The blade and chipbreaker are very thick to dampen vibrations, and the A-2 steel holds an edge for quite a while. The sole is dead flat, though I did have to relieve the outer edges a hair to keep the sides from catching while sliding over smooth surfaces. All the adjustments are smooth and hold their position well in use.

The only downsides I could find are pretty superficial. The depth-adjust knob has a little more play in it than I like when switching directions. The lateral adjust lever has some resistance so it’s tricky to tell when you’ve actually engaged the blade or when you’re in the “dead zone” while changing sides. The back of the blade was slightly concave (though 30 seconds of lapping on my diamond stone fixed that). Finally, there was one tiny blemish in the finishing on the sole, though in an obscure spot and it still seemed completely flat. None of these things really detract from the plane in use, I’ve found.

Overall this is a great tool, especially so given the price. It’s become the second-most used plane in my shop, behind my Grandpa’s old Bailey #3 that I cleaned and fit with a Pinnacle blade.

A few more pictures here:

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3955 days

12 comments so far

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 3018 days

#1 posted 12-03-2012 12:44 PM

Wow, those are some thin shavings. Good to see that WoodRiver maintains their quality.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2917 days

#2 posted 12-03-2012 09:19 PM

Great review! I bought this same plane during the same sale and am really impressed with it. It needed very little tuneup out of the box before it was ready to take very nice shavings. My only complaint was the depth adjustment knob was kind of difficult to move initially, but some machine oil cleared that up. Overall a great plane.


View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3754 days

#3 posted 12-03-2012 11:43 PM

i’ve got a #7 and works fine. i’m sure you’ll get a lot of use from it

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 2796 days

#4 posted 12-04-2012 01:30 AM

I have also recently bought the number 6, along with a number 4 and the low angle block plane, I couldn’t be happier with the performance of my planes. The iron sharpens up well, the castings are very thick and solidly built, and the frog and other parts seem well machined and square. I’ve had no problems getting feather thin shavings and with a razor sharp blade I can cut through most difficult grain.

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4348 days

#5 posted 12-04-2012 01:32 AM

Thanks for the review.


View 2bigfeet's profile


65 posts in 3450 days

#6 posted 12-04-2012 02:52 AM

Yep. Got the #3 last year and couldn’t be more pleased. Mine only has maybe a 1/4” turn more backlash than my Lie-Nielsen’s. Not even a issue with me. They’re so close its scary. Meant to get a #6 or a #7 during the sale. When I remembered, I missed it by a day. Guess I’ll wait ‘till it rolls around again.

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

541 posts in 4252 days

#7 posted 12-05-2012 02:42 AM

I love the V3 planes. I’ve had the opportunity to use most of them and can’t find any fault in them. I’m excited about the new No. 92 shoulder plane they are releasing this month.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3955 days

#8 posted 12-05-2012 04:28 AM

That shoulder plane looks fantastic. If I didn’t already have one, I would be all over that.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2881 days

#9 posted 12-06-2012 04:13 PM

The WR shoulder plane does look nice, but for an additional $30, I think I’d again spring for the Canadian-made Veritas Medium Shoulder. In addition to being made in a first world facility, the Veritas product also comes with Lee Valley’s fantastic support standing behind it.

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3955 days

#10 posted 12-06-2012 04:30 PM

Yeah, I have the veritas medium shoulder plane now and it’s fantastic. I like this trend of bringing back the old stylized plane designs, though.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View HorizontalMike's profile


7873 posts in 3685 days

#11 posted 12-07-2012 12:56 PM

Great review of this #6 WR plane! If I didn’t already have two old #6s and a #7, I would be all over this. I do have a WR #4 and know these are higher quality than some admit to.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Willeh's profile


228 posts in 3110 days

#12 posted 12-10-2012 11:36 PM

I 100% agree with you on this. My Woodriver #6 is actually my go-to plane, I use it for almost everything, and it performs consistently. I’ve had mine for a little over a year and it has been a joy to use.

Here’s my review

For your difficulty with the lateral adjuster, losen the main screw that holds the lever cap down a hair… you may find that solves your prob.

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "

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