#4 Bench Hand Plane, V3
V3: Like our previous WoodRiver® Bench Hand Planes, our version 3 is based on the reliable Bedrock design and feature heavy, stress-relieved ductile iron castings, fully machined adjustable frogs...
- 2-7/16” W x 9-7/8”L with 2”W blade
- Modeled after the Bedrocks, Stanley Tool's very best line
- WoodRiver® hand planes feature the same heavy castings (5 lbs) and fully machined frogs
- Lightly finished Bubinga handles provide comfort and control
- Tools require minimal tune-up prior to use
- Commonly known as a smoothing plane
- Soles and sides are machined flat and square within tightly held tolerances
Articles & Blogs
With holiday gift giving in full swing, Tommy MacDonald, host of the national public television series Rough Cut – Woodworking with Tommy Mac, shares his view of ideal gifts for the woodworking friends and family on your list. Rough Cut is produced by WGBH Boston.
Scott Phillips has gone shopping at Woodcraft, and the co-host of The American Woodshop on PBS found lots of Christmas gift ideas for the woodworkers and DIYers. A few of the products in the “Phillips Collection” are mentioned here priced between $10 to $150. So for great gifts and stocking stuffers, Woodcraft Santa has got you covered this holiday and Christmas season.
Scott Phillips, Co-Host of The American Woodshop, Picks Favorite Gifts from Woodcraft for Father’s Day
Make Woodcraft your Father’s Day shopping headquarters. Scott Phillips, co-host of The American Woodshop with his wife Suzy, makes it easy with his Father’s Day Gift Guide – nearly three dozen suggestions from Woodcraft’s line of woodworking tools, accessories and supplies.
The art of hand-cut dovetails has become a race against time as Frank Klausz and Mike Siemsen went saw to saw at Woodworking in America. We won’t bore you with the verbal details as the entertainment comes from the boys and their woodworking toys with some added music provided by Mike Siemsen in the first video. Frank wins the competition in what appears to be approximately 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
As a woodworker, novice or professional and anywhere in between, Woodcraft has the right presents for Father’s Day to fit every budget. To show you just some of the items from Woodcraft, we had Scott Phillips, host of The American Woodshop choose his top picks for this Father’s Day.
Woodcraft has sponsored two contests on Instructables.com – described as The World’s Biggest Show and Tell – in an effort to introduce the woodworkers and potential woodworkers who use the website to Woodcraft and information about the company’s educational resources.
Classes with professional furnituremaker Jory Brigham are part of the Grand Prize in the “California Dreamin’ Sweepstakes” sponsored in part by Woodcraft.
The Rob Cosman workshop training program was held at the Mike Smrek Ontario, Canada workshop during the fourth week of July, 2014. Woodcraft product manager (router bits, benches, vises, ect.), Brian Renner, was in attendance to increase his woodworking skills from Rob’s proficient instruction of hand tools.
Gigi Branch, a high school nurse from San Antonio, Texas, is the Grand Prize winner in the “The Jory Brigham Experience” Sweepstakes sponsored by Woodcraft, Jory Brigham and SawStop.
Although it is possible to bulldog this plane, it is a strong, sturdy plane that came very accurate out of the box. After honing the iron, I get shavings at just over 1/2 thousandth with consistency. The iron is a bit soft though; you may want to invest in an A2 iron, as the one that comes with it seems to be a bit softer than M1. Worthwhile product.
A Real Winner
Machining and finish quality are excellent. All surfaces are square and flat. The blades are first rate, take and edge well and hold it on par with other top quality blades. Took it out of the box and put it right to hardwood. It cut see through shavings across the width.
W.R. #4 Works Great
My wood river #4 is the original and it works great. There is very little if anything to improve on.
Good for the money
Price-wise, this is a great hand plane. There was no truing of the soul at all to be done, very good and flat. When I first got the plane, it had a broken part (in shipping or defective I don't know for sure), customer service took care of it without a hitch. The only issue I've had so far, is that the blade doesn't stay sharp for too long, however, for the money, it does MUCH better than similarly priced items!
The plane is good, but not great. While I agree with some of the reviews, on some of the good points, I've found that there's one big thing that makes me wish I paid a few extra dollars and got a better branded plane- the blade advancing mechanism is poor. It has a ton of 'play' in it, which results in you not being able to move the blade into position to cut correctly. This is important when you're trying to dial in for that very fine shaving. I't took me half an hour of moving the blade forward and back, time and again, to get it to 'just that spot'. The next time, I again had to fiddle with it for a long time to get it back into place. I eventually went out and purchased a better brand and am very happy. A few turns and I'm ready to go. Not so with the Woodriver. It's not a bad brand and they make decent stuff, BUT, know that you're not getting a hand plane of the quality some other brands put out.
A great plane
I do high-end remodeling and cabinet making for a living. While most of what I do involves power tool woodworking I still need some good hand planes that actually work - unlike many modern planes which are just plain junk. I came across the WoodRiver V3 series and they looked really good. I initially purchased the #4 in the V3 series and am now a WoodRiver convert. Upon inspecting this plane I was very impressed. In the first place, the sole was dead flat. NO flattening was needed at all and this is a big, big plus in my book. Since the sole was flat there was very little tuning to do. The blade which is A2 steel took a bit of flattening, but then plane blades generally do. All in all the parts were well machined and the handles were done nicely as well. The V3s lateral adjuster is much nicer than the earlier WoodRiver series, having a solid tang and a bearing like the vintage Stanleys. The V3 also has a modern-style improved heavy chip breaker. The blade came flat ground at 25 degrees. I used my Tormek grinder to grind past any bad edge temper and gave the blade a 25 degree hollow grind. Next, I honed a 30 degree secondary bevel on it with a 6000 Japanese water stone and polished the back the same way. Then I put it all back together, dialed in the frog and gave it a whirl. The results were beautiful. The plane has mass and accuracy. The lateral adjustments were firm and the depth adjuster was precise. I could easily set it for feathery gossamer shavings or solid curls. I got full width shavings too. Just really, really, nice! It was so nice I went back and got the #3,#5 and #6. These too were solid performers. I gave them all the same small tuning and put them through the paces and found the edge retention to be very good. The WoodRiver V3s are solidly built Bedrock-style planes that perform wonderfully and are available at a very fair price. With the bubinga handles and stainless cap irons they are handsome planes too.
the good tool for any master
Honest plane for the money. I straightened a sole, and in hands the ideal tool a little
Excellent plane, great value
Purchased the #4 and the #7 during a 20% off sale in fall of 2013. Have been using both for about 4 months now. Impressed with both, particularly for the value. Arrived well packaged, well oiled, and no concerns with the service/shipping of these items. Only fettling required out of the box was wiping down all the oil, and tightening up the knob and tote. After almost 6 months of use, I have no regrets. The plane body is well machined and cast, with a sole that is dead flat and square. Adjustment of the frog is a bit finnicky but once it is set then its done (I keep the mouth tight for a fine shaving). Only drawback is the blade itself. It's a decent quality A2 blade that holds an edge well but it took a fair bit of work to lap it to a flat back with a nice polish. Only needs to be done once though. I would definitely consider adding other WR planes to my collection (possibly their new 4 1/2 or 5 1/2!).
Nice plane, bad blade
After reading a lot of positive reviews online, I decided to give this a try and see if it could replace my old Stanley #4. In most respects, it has. With three exceptions, everything was just right - the sole was already dead flat, the depth adjuster was smooth and has almost no free play when you move from one direction to the other, the frog was flat and perfectly aligned with the body, the tote and knob were both beautiful and comfortable. The plane is very heavy (even heavier than my Stanley #5!), which really makes a huge difference in how much downward pressure you need to apply while using the plane. It really feels like less work using this plane than an old Stanley #4. The three exceptions were these: (1) (A VERY small one) one of the two frog screws was very rough and made a grinding sound as I turned it. I took it out and there was a lot of some sort of black gunk clogging up the screw. No idea what it was. It cleaned off easily though, and there is no problem now. (2) The lateral adjuster is very tight and a little bit "jumpy" - its hard to get it to move, and once you do, it usually goes a bit farther than you'd like it to. I oiled it up and that didn't make much of a difference right away. However, after only a few days of use it has loosened up a little bit, so I hope that will fix itself with a little more time. It is VERY annoying as it currently stands, as its extremely difficult to make the minute adjustments one needs to make with the later adjuster. (3) This is a significant issue: as far as I can tell, the blade is no good. As soon as I got the plane, I did a side by side comparison with my old Stanley (with a Veritas blade). The Stanley/Veritas combo clearly outperformed the Woodriver. It had less chatter, less tearout, and left a generally smoother surface. I was quite unhappy, since I'd just forked over a lot of money for the new plane. But then I swapped the blades: the Woodriver plane with the Veritas blade was the best combination of them all, and I got not tearout whatsoever on either Cherry or Walnut. After the test (which was only about 40 passes for each blade), I took the blades back out. The Veritas blade was still basically as sharp as it had been when I started, while the Woodriver blade had dulled significantly. I couldn't shave any hairs off my arm with it, while I could before the test and still could with the Veritas. In sum: this is a great plane, and I'm really happy with almost everything about it. But I would recommend buying a high end blade to put in it. (Also worth considering: once you factor in the extra $45 for the blade, you are only about $10 shy of the price of a Veritas #4, and about $110 below the Lie-Nielsen #4.)
I picked up the #4 and #7 WR planes during the most recent 20% off sale. I have a few other planes from LV so those are my comparisons. Quality of machining seems quite high to me, and from my non-engineer perspective seems to be about as good as my Veritas planes but at a significant discount, even taking into account the cost of shipping to Canada. So far I'm very happy with the planes. The plane body itself required virtually no tune-up - just wiped the oil off with mineral spirits and coated it with some wax. The tote was a bit floppy but tightened down nicely. My only criticism so far is the blade - as others have mentioned they require a fair bit of lapping to get a flat, mirror polish on the back. Both blades (for the #4 and #7) had the slightest convexity on the back which required a 220 waterstone and about an hour to flatten and polish. I suppose that's to be expected but I'd much rather spend that hour making shavings. Overall - a great value, especially if you can get it on sale!
be careful and observe the pin connecting the yoke adjustment. mine almost came out completely. Had to remove and flatten slightly for a snug fit
Precise, beautifully executed
This is a good general purpose plane. Didn't need much tuneup, bottom was amazingly flat and required only a few strokes to be perfectly flat. Blade needed some extra work to flatten back and sharpen properly, but that's to be expected. Use it primarily to prepare a near flate surface on rough sawn lumber before jointing. Haven't been quite able to adjust to plane surfaces with paper thin curls, but I think that is more about my increasingly poor vision these days. I love the sound it makes too.
I also have a Groz #4 that I've never been able to get a decent shaving with, no matter how much I tune it. When I got the wood river I took it out of the box, cleaned the grease off and was getting great shaving immediately. This plane convinced me that I actually CAN use a hand-plane and that the problems before were really poor quality tools. I've resharpened the blade a few times and everything always goes back together smoothly. The only complaint I have is the amount of play in the thumb screw to adjust the blade depth. When you change direction there is quite a bit of motion before there is any change in the blade. That makes it a bit difficult to get the depth if you over-shoot. This is a great plane to start with. You can certainly find better for more money, but I don't think you can go much cheaper and have it work, at least not without a LOT of work on your part to "fix" the tool.
I owned Lie Nielsen Planes and that Woodcraft plane is near from Lie Nielsen and less expensive.
very good for the money
Just a quick honing and some minor adjustments and it was taking very fine shavings from a curly maple top I'm working on. Rob Cosmans video on you tube is right on the money as far as how long it takes from unboxing to planing.
Almost as good as my Lie Nielsen
Out of the box, with no tuning, I was making shavings as good as my Lie Nielsen #6 out of the box. The depth adjustment dial is a bit stiffer than the Lie Nelsen to adjust, but overall this plane is a pleasure to work with.
Very good quality
I bought this plane along with the #7 jointer, both of them are of VERY good quality in their construction and performance, the blade needed very little work to get its back flat and polished, sole was flat right out of the box, and I only spent some minutes sharpening the blade and adding a secondary bevel. The quality of machining in the frog and sole of the plane are just perfect, and ease of adjustement for blade movement is very nice. Have used this plane to smooth table tops and smaller pieces, even though I have not "honed" a camber in the blade it leaves a very nice, uniform and smooth surface. Only "con" I could add is that, my hands being maybe larger than average are a little "uncomfortable" gripping the rear tote, which by the way is made of very beautiful wood and left unfinished but smoothly sanded. However I belive this "con" has more to do with my poor technique using the tool than a flaw of the tool itself. Anyway, Im very happy with this plane.
Minimal fettling needed for set up. Spent 1min honing the blade on waterstones and it was good to go!
get ready to lap
I'd like to add some pros and cons but honestly I haven't had the chance yet to use the plane. I purchased it at my local Woodcraft store two days ago. I cleaned off the oil and began to check out the flatness of the back of the iron. Boy was I surprised. I actually can't think how anyone could make a plane iron so out of flat. There were hollows all over it. I've been lapping with 180 sandpaper for 2 hours and it sill needs work. The feel of the plane is great and the mechanics of it seem to work quite well. I'm looking forward to see how it performs. I may be spoiled in that all my other planes are Veritas or Lie Neilsen. I was hoping to save a couple hundred on this #4. I hope I didn't blow it. I'll update the review once I get the iron in working order.
I bought this plane because I'm building a small boat. After very little work on the blade with an 4000/8000 stone, it makes gossamer thin shavings. The rear handle is a little short and close to the plane iron for my hand but I guess a #4 is kinda of small plane. I really like the plane and you can tell it is a quality piece compared to my other plane (14" 20 year old Craftsman). I was a little disappointed to see it was made in China though. I didn't notice that until I got it home.
Got this to go with my grandfather's 4 others that are over 80 years old. This completes my set and is worth every penny.
Bargain price for an outstanding plane!
I've had the #4 for 5 or 6 weeks and have been very happy with it. I used it for general planing of southern pine, poplar and black walnut straight out of the box with no problems and no tuning. For smoothing I did give the iron a few strokes on the water stones to give it a slight camber. Straight from the box it would plane the walnut as smooth as glass and take shavings less than 0.002 with no problem. However, being honed square it did leave faint tracks, which cambering quickly cured. My first WoodRiver plane, but it won't be my last. My only regret is that the product line isn't more comlplete.
I received the WR #4 bench plane yesterday; I removed it from the box to see if it's in fact the plane I ordered, it is. But that's all I've done with it and I'm giving high marks; I already own the WR #3 and #5 plane and I'm well pleased with those. I expect little difference from the #4. Like the other two I own, I'll work with sharpening the blade real well, tighten the tote and front knob but that's about all I'll need to do, for this price I'm fine with doing little adjustments.
I can't imagine a plane being made any better than this. This cut perfectly right out of the box. I just wiped off a little oil, adjusted the blade and started planing. Does it get any better than this! Just couldn't see spending more on those pricier brands. Thanks Woodcraft for developing and marketing a finely made line of planes for a fair price. As far as I'm concerned these planes are the best value on the market to date. I for one will be purchasing more !
Good choice but certainly not perfect
[...] after taking it home I discovered it was defective with the blade adjustment wheel frozen on the threaded shaft. Quickly went back to the store to nab the display model,[...]This plane works well after some honing, but had no instructions for setup or adjustments. The frog adjustment screw is very difficult to turn because of it's placement on the plane centerline below the wheel..
Good price but blade bowed
The blade is not planar and wobbles when laid on a flat surface. Its surface is also slightly uneven.
One of the best
I took a look at a Groz, wanted to save some money, but the craftmanship was horrible. The WR V3 was polished and ready to go with light sharping of the blade.
great plane at a great price
very good quality plane without the [$] price tag. Works very well and seems to be very well made. Some of the past reviews said it came with a nice wooden storage box but this one just came in a plain cardboard box.
I am very pleased with this plane. When Woodriver planes first came out, I was not impressed. However, the new version V3 is very well made. The improvements put it up there with the very best.
Don't let the price fool you!!!
This plane is great. A performer right out of the box. The quality of this import is incredible!
the plane is a goodbuy I had to do a good amount of tuneup compared to my other planes that I own. After I got it tuned up,it worked great.I didnt try it right out of the box so cant compare before and after tuneup.
I've only had experience with lower quality planes (Bailey #5, #7, and newer Stanley block plane). This plane is significantly heavier than the #5, feels MUCH sturdier, and cuts much smoother and easier. Blade only needed minor (2 minutes) work out of the box. Having seen the quality and price of the #4, I plan on replacing the rest of my planes with Woodriver.
"Non-expert who is extremely impressed"
Keep in mind I am no expert, but I know what works and what does not and this plane works! I received this as a present from my father because it was the plane size I was lacking. I have learned on my own how to use/repair a plane to working order and this is my first new one. Right out of the box it looked as good as any higher cost brand. In the hand it is heavy and well fit. Immediately took it all apart and checked squareness and flatness. Perfect all the way around. I cannot imagine lapping the sole will get it any flatter. The blade was sharp and I put it back together and got everything where I wanted it. Grabbed a piece of scrap cherry and went to work on it. Set for a heavy cut gave me great paper thick curls. Went for thin and got what we love to see and kept backing the blade up ever so slightly until I was producing dust. This is a great plane. I will sharpen the blade as I like and be even more pleased I am sure. I have used planes from the rustiest old stanley to Lie Nielsen and in my meager opinion, this is as good as they get. The single thing that would make it better is if it were proudly stamped "Made in the USA", but one thing is for sure, I am proud to own it and it will be a staple in my shop for the rest of my years. I am 29 by the way and might as well have been born in a woodshop.
What a exceptional tool!
Recieved as a gift for christmas upon request. This plane feels great in the hand,heavy,thick castings,and the mouth can be set very small. I do believe this beats the higher prices planes hands down. I'am very very pleased with the performance, Producing very thin whispy shavings while smoothing. I wouldn't hesitate on buying another in the future. A low angle version of the same quality would be even better. Keep a arm and a leg and save some money, buy one of these.
Good design, well made (in China). Made a great gift to my son-in-law who is a keen woodworker. Would prefer a bronze frame for the weight but for the price, ductile iron is just fine.
I saw this plane at a woodworking show and it compared very well to the more expensive varieties being shown. At the show I also caught a presentation on tuning and using planes by Graham Blackburn. I spent a little time fiddling with the plane at home per Mr. Blackburn and put it to work. It was the first time I really felt I had a plane working as it should. Highly recommended. As soon as finances allow I will get a complete set.
The overall quality if this tool is just as described. I had been delaying a purchase of a new plane due to the cost, because I really only want high quality tools at this stage of my life. I had been a dedicated hand-sander for years, but wanted to try a well-made plane after reading about their effectiveness. I decided to try the #4 because the price was well worth the risk. However, I was surprised to find such a well made tool when it arrived. The blade required only minutes to flatten the back and primary bevel was very true and also took only a few minutes to sharpen to perfection. It works very well, and I am proud to have this tool in my collection.
This is a great plane and has a thick heavy blade and chip breaker so it's a lot less prone to chatter especially on woods like hard maple. The handle isn't particulary comfortable for me but I have small hands. The sole was nice and flat. I did have to flatten & polish the back of the blade but it wasn't far from flat. The only thing I really disliked about this plane was cleaning all the oil off it as it had a very heavy coating of it. It took 2 cleanings with naptha to get it all off. I would suggest the manufacturer finding another solution to protect it from rust as oil will ruin any chance of getting a good finish if it gets in the wood.
Get ready to be surprised
The V3 Woodriver bench planes will not disappoint, they will surprise you. Excellent machining, thick blade and chipbreaker, nice adjustments and a flat sole. A far better investment than an old stanley/bailey or even a bedrock if you want a good plane without taking out a new mortgage. Watch out high end plane makers, these Woodrivers will give you a run for the money.
Well Made and Great Value
I'm a new woodworker looking to build a tool set that has quality at an affordable price. I think it's outstanding value for money. The plane is extremely well made and well presented. It feels well balanced and is easy to use and adjust. The blade only needed a secondary bevel and it was sharp and ready to go in minutes. (The blade needs more work to shape it for effective smoothing without leaving whiskers).
This solidly built and finely finished handplane came to me [...] in a nice wooden box. It was flat and true right out of the box and only required minimal honing to get it going. The adjustments are easy and stay put and it is a SOLID plane. I have the 3, 4, and 6 and love them all and highly recommend them.
I use this plane to joint guitar top and back plates. As advertised, it was ready to use with just honing. The iron sharpens well and holds a good edge. It is a pleasure to use and works much better than an old Stanley #4 that I meticulously tuned.
Excellent, recomm w/o reservations
Short version: This is an excellent plane at any price, I have no reservations recommending it. Long version: I've spent quite a bit of time fettling old planes to work properly because they represented a great value when compared to modern, super expensive planes. Over time I've come to learn about and appreciate the differences between various makers and eras. The machining and finish on my Wood River #4 is just the best I've seen, and represents a better value, new, than taking the time and resources (new premium blades) on good older planes, and certainly a better value, it seems to me, than other current manufacturers for this style of smoother. The sides are lapped absolutely square to the sole, the material isn't that grainy, pore-y cast iron but probably ductile cast iron and buffed to a mirror like sheen. The frog adjustment was also likewise machined smoothly, which is important to reduce chatter, a problem I've seen on cheaper Sargent and Baileys #4s. The plane iron is sharp out of the box, but I honed and lapped it to scary sharp (600 - 1500 - 2000) in about three minutes. Again, lapped absolutely flat so you don't have to spend half an hour watching TV and lapping the back of the blade. Such a pleasure. The chip breaker was also massive and impressive. Instead of a flimsy piece of sheet metal that's curved at the end that you have to file and fiddle with to get to work right, they've actually milled a recess into a bar of cold rolled steel so there's a crisp line. The knob and tote appear to be burled apple or maple, and although they're gorgeous, more importantly, they're comfortable. In use, and in your hand, the first thing you notice is the weight, heft, and authority compared to my other planes. With a paraffin-waxed sole, it just sort of glided across the wood; despite the added weight, I think it's actually less work/more ergonomic than a lighter plane. With a plane this heavy, the natural adjustments you make as you're going along are subtler and less labored; you're not subconsciously pushing down on the hilltops of the wood because the weight of the plane does that for you. As you should expect, the shavings were of the very finest, and the finish of the wood thus far has been uniformly excellent. It'll shave wood cells in half and actually bring out the figure even in old gray 2x4s you may have laying around. The long and the short of it is that if I were recommending a basic plane to anyone, at any level of experience, this is the one I'd tell them to get. You can spend a lot of time and money getting old planes to work well (think expensive blades and chipbreakers, new varnish & lacquer, not to mention electrolysis, sandpaper, etc., etc.) , and there are other more expensive new planes out there that presumably work well out of the box, but at this price, I don't think you can beat this. I think I'll get the #6 next. The person or team at Woodcraft that put this together deserves a pat on the back. Color me impressed.
Well built plane for the price.
Bought plane to trim 3/4" oak down to 1/2" for a Mantel clock. Works effectively, had the plane sharpened and flatened at Woodcraft. Only issue was the depth adjustment pin falls out while planing, so I had to tape up to solve the problem. Cuts paper thin shavings for sure.
A rock solid value
I have been delighted with the overall quality,finish and value of this tool. It was ready to go after the perservative came off and a few touches of the stone. Comes in a nice box - delightful surprise. Very pleased with my purchase.
Well built, heavy smoother
This is a good plane at a modest price. After milling a keyway and inserting a key between the frog and the body to keep the frog square during adjustment of the mouth, its a keeper.
Never Owned LN, Love This Plane
This plane is perfectly adequate for my purposes. If budget wasn't an issue I would have not taken a chance but I am satisfied with my selection.
Good Overall Value
After cleaning up the oil and sharpening the blade, I was taking fine walnut shavings with little effort. This really is a good plane and a reasonable alternative to higher end planes. The only real disappointment is the lateral adjuster, which is the only part of the plane that feels "cheap." I'd give it 5 stars, except for the lateral.