Hot New Tools: Issue 65

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This article is from Issue 65 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Woodriver No.1 Bench Hand Plane

Sweet Little Shaver

WoodRiver No. 1 Bench Hand Plane V3

This pint-sized plane is patterned after the Stanley No. 1, the smallest (and hardest to find) bench plane made by the Stanley Tool Works in the 70 years prior to World War II. Considerable debate exists about its original intended use, but I’ve discovered that this little shaver can serve as a handy problem solver for all sorts of small scale projects. At 53⁄4" long and 11⁄2" wide, the 1.3-pound flyweight fits into tight places that larger planes can’t.

While some woodworkers are likely to purchase this plane simply to complete their Stanley lineup, it is more than just a collector’s item. Like WoodRiver’s other V3 planes, this one sports a crack-resistant ductile iron casting, a nicely machined body and frog, a bubinga knob and tote, a brass blade-adjustment knob, and a high-carbon steel blade. Give the blade a quick honing, and this plane is ready to start shaving.

#159005, $119.99

Tester: Kent Harpool

Doctors woodshop finishes

K.I.S.S. Finishes

Doctor’s Woodshop Finishes

Considering that finish formulas rank among the most closely-guarded secrets in the woodworking industry, a line of finishes made of nothing other than walnut oil, wax, and shellac sounds almost too good to be true. To see if less is best, I tested the entire line of Doctor’s Woodshop Finishes on a set of turned bowls and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the products deliver as promised.

The various blends offer a range of sheens and protection. Doctor’s Walnut Finishing Oil works as both a low-luster finish and sanding lubricant. Adding a few drops while sanding speeds up the finishing process. The Microcrystal Wax Bowl Finish (a combination of walnut oil and wax) creates more sheen yet and offers protection against fingerprints. For a general purpose finish, I recommend the High Build Friction Polish. This drier-free finish sets up as quickly as other friction polishes, and imparts a nice shine with good depth after just three coats. Pens Plus (a blend of walnut oil, shellac, and wax) produces a slightly higher sheen than the High Build and seems more resistant to fingerprints. However, because it requires a little more work to achieve an even sheen, I’d save it for smaller-scale projects.

I look forward to using these products on future projects–not just because of their performance, but because the solvent- and petroleum-free formulations mean that I don’t need to take extreme safety precautions. As a premium, after using the oil and bowl finishes, my hands felt as if I had treated them to some pricey hand cream.

#847674, Walnut Finishing Oil, $13.99

#855500, Microcrystal Wax Bowl Finish, $13.99

#843051, High Build Friction Polish, $19.99

#855499, Pens Plus, $20.99

Tester: Mike Kehs

Woodriver Vacuum Pump Kit

“In the Bag” Clamping

WoodRiver Vacuum Pump Kit

Clamping cauls and veneer presses certainly have their place in the shop, but when you get serious about laminating or veneering curved forms, you’ll want to consider stepping up to a vacuum press. Clamp-ups don’t get much easier: just slide the project into the bag and turn on the pump. As the air inside gets sucked out, the air outside presses down and molds the bag tightly around the project. Unlike standard caul-clamping, the vacuum distributes pressure evenly across the entire surface, so you’re less likely to wind up with a bubble under the veneer or lamination.

This WoodRiver starter kit comes with a 2 × 2' vacuum bag and a pump. (Larger bags are optional.) To use, slide your project into the bag, zip it closed, and then attach the bag to the pump using the supplied polyurethane hose. (An in-line filter prevents sucking dust and debris into the pump.) Next, turn on the pump, and allow the glue to cure under clamping pressure for about three hours before removing the project from the bag.

The continuous-operation 1/8 HP pump is small enough to sit on the bench. The bag features a full-width open end for easy access in and out of the bag and a zipper closure as a seal. Five spring clamps are included to help fold the bag to a smaller size to suit the project.

#159773, $299.99

#412372 54 × 85" 20 mil Vinyl Bag with Zip Closure, $134.99

Tester: George Snyder


Smooth Operator

Rikon 25-130H 13"  Portable Planer with Helical Cutterhead

Compared to standard straight-knife cutterheads whose knives hammer stock two or three times per revolution, the short, segmented cutters on a helical cutterhead are in almost constant contact with the wood. These easily replaceable “insert cutters” take slightly smaller bites than standard blades, but because each works in concert with adjacent cutters, they can thickness stock with less noise and reduced tear-out.

Now, Rikon has incorporated a helical head into a fully-functional 15-amp planer for about $200 more than the price of a high-end segmented cutterhead upgrade. The 25-130H employs 26 two-sided high-speed steel cutters arranged in an alternating pattern that produces a helical-style cutting action.

The high-speed steel (HSS) cutters should last as long as standard knives. And when you get a nick, simply rotate the offending inserts to expose  fresh edges, and you’re back in business. (For longer planing life without the hassle of rotating and/or replacing inserts, consider stepping up to carbide. According to the manufacturer, it lasts four times longer than HSS.)

#863179, $649.99

#160868, $59.99 2-Edge HSS Replacement inserts (pack of 10)

#160689, $99.99 2-Edge Carbide Replacement inserts (pack of 10)

Tester: Andrew Bondi

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