WoodRiver #5 V3 Bench Plane Review – Unpackaged

From FlairWoodworks.com comes two reviews by Chris Wong on Woodcraft’s #5 V3 Bench Plane. The first review covers the product in detail, and the second blog will show the use of the plane. We thought we would share Chris’s expertise and overview of our product here at Woodshop Demos.com. So a hearty thank you, full credits and kudos goes out to Chris for allowing us to share his blog here at Woodshop Demos.

A little bit about Chris…Hailing from Port Moody in British Columbia, Canada. Chris began his woodworking path at the early age of 6. Under the tutelage of his father Brian and 2 uncles Ron and Tim, Chris just liked making stuff. One of his first projects was a stool made with the use of a jigsaw with radiused feet.

Chris’s middle school years consisted of a mandatory shop program called Technology Education which covered not only woodworking, but plastics and hydraulics. In high school, Chris’s elective’s consisted of 6 woodworking classes. Now there’s a thought for today’s education system, less computer tech and more woodworking education!

Right after leaving high school Chris made a decision based on learning from Sam Maloof, Chris stated, “You can take $20,000 and go to school or you can take $20,000 and build a quality woodshop.

Chris chose the latter and built himself a woodshop with the premise of making a woodworking future by learning as he went and teaching himself. After 9 years as a hobbyist woodworker and now 4 years as a professional, Chris enjoys the design and creation of his own business, Flair Woodworks making sculptural wood works. Chris can also be found on his Twitter page, @Flairwoodworks. Chris’s latest endeavor is a partnership with Garth Schafer, a woodworker turned toolmaker. Together they have formed Time Warp Tool Works. At Time Warp Tool Works, Chris and Garth are dedicated to fusing the best of old and new technologies in wood and metal working to create quality woodworking tools for the modern craftsman.  Each tool is individually made with care in British Columbia, Canada.

The following is Chris’s WoodRiver Review…

The purpose of this article is to show what the V3 plane looked like out of the box.

A couple of months ago, while visiting some friends in Arizona. I went to a Woodcraft store and bought a WoodRiver #5 V3 bench plane.  While I don’t need any more bench planes, I was curious to see just how good the much-talked-about WoodRiver planes really were.  From what I have read, Version 3 (V3) is drastically better than the previous two versions.

After taking the plane out of the package, the first thing I did was disassemble the plane and wipe off the grease applied to keep the plane rust free.  I carefully inspected each part, made notes and took photos along the way.  In general, everything seemed well-machined.

I noticed that the burr from tapping the hole in the cap iron had not been removed.  I used a mill file to remove the burr.

Cap Iron

The cap iron was ground to a fine edge.

Cap Iron Edge

The blade was also ground to a fine edge.  The machining marks were finer on the blade than on the cap iron and the blade was sharp, though not as sharp as I keep my blades.

Blade

The parts of the lateral- and depth-adjusters that engage with the cap iron and blade appeared to be well-made.

Top of Frog

I spotted a cosmetic defect, a scratch on the right wing of the plane. It did not concern me in the least.

Scratch on Side Wing

The body was machined very uniformly. The text on the box clearly reflected in the plane’s sole.

Sole

The frog rested on this ramp. The small machined edges on either side of the bed were helpful in keeping the frog from twisting as it was adjusted and locked down.

Frog Bedding Surface

The bottom of the frog was finely ground.

Bottom of Frog

All the moving parts moved smoothly.

Back of Frog/Depth Adjuster

There were two of these “rivets” dropped through the slots in the frog and into the body of the plane.  In the rear of the ramp (on which the frog rests) was a pair of slot-head screws with pointed tips.  The points engaged with the conical recess in the rivets and as the screws were tightened, the rivets were pulled down to secure the frog.  The dimple on the top indicated the location of the conical recess so that it could be properly aligned once it was dropped in place.  (Side note:  When removing the pointed, slot-head screws for the first time, they backed off freely then bound up snug.  By applying a little extra torque – but by no means an excessive amount – I was able to remove the screws.  When I ran them in and out afterwards, there was no resistance.)

Frog Rivets

My biggest complaint about the plane was that the front of the mouth opening was a little uneven, making it difficult to set the mouth evenly.  A little work with a file solved that problem.

Mouth Opening

The left wing appeared to be perfectly square.

Left Wing and Sole

The right wing appeared to be a little out of square.  I e-mailed Woodcraft Technical Support about this and they informed me that if I was able to fit a 0.002″ feeler gauge between the square and the plane’s sole, they would be happy to replace the plane.  This gap was well within that tolerance.

Right Wing and Sole

Purchase any WoodRiver Hand Plane at Woodcraft and Get A FREE 1 Month Subscription to Rob Cosman’s Interactive Online Hand Tool Workshop! The Subscription is Eight 30-Minute Sessions Plus Access to Hand Plane 101!

The next article will show how the plane performed…Stay tuned!
auf Wiedersehen…Frank

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