Gear Review: Groz Planes

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!