I keep hearing so much about these Wood River Planes and how they keep improving from version to version. A few weeks ago, Rob Cosman made an appearance on The Wood Whisperer Guild and made mention of how much he likes these planes. This is coming from a guy who not only does great work, but used to sell Lie Nielsen planes for like 15 years. Since then I have been itching to get my hands on them to see what all the hype is about.
Unfortunately the Woodcraft booth didn’t have any of them at The Woodworking Show last weekend to try out. I decided to head over to my local store last night and see if I could get some play time. Sure enough they had a Jack plane and a #4 Smoothing plane so I was indeed able to try them out.
Now I didn’t really have that much time or any tough wood to work with. All they had was nice straight grained stuff to play with. You know the kind of wood that the demonstrator hand picks to use at a trade show. But I did get enough time to play around that I was quite impressed. The fit in the hand is comfortable, the sole flat, mouth tight, and the adjustment is smooth. The similarities to a Lie Nielsen plane or a fully restored Stanley Bedrock were uncanny. At 1/3 of the price, I admit to being shocked. There are definitely some fit and finish elements that separate the Lie Nielsens from this bunch but Wood River is not claiming to be the premium tool, but rather a more mid line tool. Based on the performance I saw, they are a few steps above mid level.
Now I have 3 smoothers and 2 jack planes so I was really looking at their #3 plane for my own tool kit. Alas, no dice but they guys there did tell me that the planes are going on sale. Sure enough I get an email today telling me they are on sale until January 29th, 2011 at 10% off. Quite a deal.
I went ahead and ordered one and I’ll be sure to give a full report as I get more time with the plane. In the meantime, if you are willing to trust this cursory review and the word of Rob Cosman (Tommy Mac told me he likes them too) then head over to Woodcraft now and make your purchase.Google+ Profile