I debated over my first plane purchase. I wasn’t convinced I could appreciate a finer plane from Lie-Nielsen or Veritas, and from reading, the low-end options seem to often require quite a bit of work that I’m not familiar with. So, the WoodRiver low angle jack from my local Woodcraft seemed a good option.
I found the plane immediately underwhelming—it just didn’t feel that great in my hand. Out of the box, the tote was very loose and had to be tightened. Trying to use it, I found the tote to be small in my hand. I don’t have big hands, but it wasn’t comfortable to hold. The mouth adjustment was rough and imprecise.
After trying it a bit I pulled the blade out to sharpen it. I put the square to the blade and found that it was not square. I had never sharpened a plane blade before but have lots of experience sharpening other things, and after a while had a square blade that cut much better. Adjusting the blade was a challenge because the blade would shift a little in the mouth, requiring I crank down hard on the cap iron.
Side to side, the plane’s sole was flat. But front-to-back there was a bow to it. I’m sure it was my imagination, but every time I looked at the plane I think the sole was more and more bowed. I didn’t measure the curve, but I came to believe I could see the bow with my naked eye and no straight edge. (And I didn’t yet have a way to flatten the sole.) One side of the sole was square, but the other was not.
As I said, I was underwhelmed. Flattening the sole would have made the plane useful, I believe, but all of the other shortcomings made the decision to return it pretty easy for me. My experience with the WoodRiver also made the advantages of a Veritas bevel up jack clear (which I bought): a larger tote, set screws at the mouth, and a cap iron that didn’t needs to be cranked down were clear improvements; as well, the sole was flat and sides square.Read more