In the woodshop today, I spent some quality time with a set of 3 Groz planes. The block plane (unsure what the Stanley No would be), the Jack Plane and their Jointer. I’ve been pleased with the results throughout this year. I sharpen the blades about once a quarter or during long breaks, and when they see an enormous amount of use.
Here’s a shot of the block plane at work today:
Groz planes are manufactured in India and you can pick them up at “Woodcraft”:www.woodcraft.com or other retailers. The planes take some setting up to get dead right. You have to flatten the sole and sharpen the blade to get them working correctly. I did not have to fix the machining of the frog, screws and such. I spent three to five hours in August getting these three set up. I followed this method to set the planes up. Since then, I have only sharpened the blade.
You’ve seen most of the results – the Clock project was milled with the Jack plane. Here’s a good shot of two matched boards for a bookcase I’ve been guiding along:
I think these planes are nearly perfect as student planes – they are real tools that really work at a decent price. The set-up time is substantial, but once properly set up, the planes take abuse well. If a student drops or otherwise mangles one, the cost means they are replaceable under a minimalist budget. The build quality means the tool should last. The results speak for themselves.
In my home shop I’m replacing most of my India/China planes with L-N and Veritas stuff. Their equipment just sings in a way this Groz probably never will.
If someone out there uses a different brand/type of hand plane for their woodworking students, I’d love to hear…I just put together next years “tool wish list” and while ”The Works” was on the list, I don’t necessarily think we’ll receive it. So tell me what my options are!