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Groz “Workshop” #220 Block Plane Review

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Alf

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Hey, it was on offer for a tenner, and I was curious.; the idea being, if it wasn’t too bad, to tune it up for the old man who likes tools he doesn’t have to worry about. Anyway, I imagine I’m not the only one to wonder what kind of tools these are and whether they’re worth the money, so I thought I’d share.



To all intents and purposes it’s a Stanley #220, so have a look at Blood and Gore. I’m not so insane as to want to list the cast arn, black paint etc. :lol: The packing informs me Groz have been going since 1976 and there’s a 12 month warranty on the plane :shock: , but not where it’s made. As it happens I know it’s from India, but don’t you have to say anymore? It came absolutely covered in grease and near impossible to release from its plastic bag.



Fit and finish is, erm, patchy. Paint’s missing in some places (just the odd spot here and there) while it’s presence is too great in others, especially the lever cap. Evidently someone tried to patch up the finish on the lever cap, and discovered as so many have before them, that dabbing a bit of extra finish on an already drying main coat seldom results in a professional result… However, where it’s there it’s pretty even, shiny and not too shabby at all.



The machining is coarse, but not as far out of square and flat as I’ve seem some modern Stanleys.



Needless to say the bedding for the blade has been milled on the skew, but then that seems to be a fashionable trend in planes these days. :roll: The front edge of the mouth is a bit of a mess; not straight across and gummed up with paint. However it is at 90° to the side, which is nice. The sides aren’t remotely square to the sole.



Adjustments are straight off the Stanley too, but probably a bit worse. The lateral adjustment, once I’d filed the slots in the blade wide enough to register on it, works better than it looks. The depth screw is a total pig. There must be three? Four? full turns of slop in it. I can’t call it backlash ‘cos it’s way beyond that. Looking at the adjuster itself it’s very easy to see why it’s so poor. Painful too, ‘cos the knurling on the brass wheel veers from hardly there at all to deep and sharp and painful. It works mind you, but you get so bored out of your skull waiting for the blade to move as you crank the thing round, you tend to get impatient, crank a bit quicker and, whoops! Too deep. Back we go. Crank, crank. Etc etc. ](*,)



The blade is, well, metal. Heck, it takes an edge which is something. The machining on it is about on a par with Stanley’s (yes, that bad), and the flatness, or rather the lack of flatness, equally poor.



A whip round with a file to get the slots in functioning order and remove the worst of the rough edges, half an hour or so to get a usable edge and I took it for a spin - totally unfettled except for the blade.

Well if ever you doubted the idea that a sharp edge is two thirds of the battle with hand tools, you’ll be suitably chastened I trust. Really not at all bad. The fact it took me twenty minutes to get the depth of cut set is neither here nor there… Do I hear a few “oooo’s” and “ahhh’s” for the end grain shaving in slightly punk spalted beech?



Anyway, it seemed just about worth the effort, so I did a little tuning. The usual flattening the sole (with the blade in place but retracted, of course), a bit of work on the sides, some filing of the mouth and softening all the edges and also a little improvement to the bedding for the blade with the aid of some epoxy. First time I’ve tried that, and apart from the nervous tension of whether you’ve irretrievably adhered your blade to the plane for ever more, it was easier than I expected. Lots of wax on the blade is essential.. :lol:



The result wasn’t too bad.



To sum up then. On the plus side it’s fairly cheap and it can be made to work with some effort. It’s really not much worse than the recent model Stanley’s I’ve suffered with, quite frankly. Cons; if you’re new to The Slope, this could put you off for life. You do need to have a reasonable understanding of how a block plane works and what you should reasonably expect it to do if you’re going to make this one work. And of course the depth adjuster. I’m sure there must be a way of improving it without taking up engineering, so I’ll probably have a look into that if time permits. Will I inflict it on the Old Man? Not sure yet, but maybe. After all, he’ll use it ‘til it’s blunter than a comment from Jeremy Paxman and then throw it at me to sharpen, I’ll set it again and he’ll use it until it’s blunter than, etc etc, so the depth adjustment probably won’t even get used by anyone but me. :roll: :lol:

Groz Workshop standard angle block plane. £14.95 from Axminster.
 

Shady

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Alf, you're a loonie... :wink: That picture of the sole! - I thought it was an expensive corrugated tool for a second there. Useful for braining anyone who breaks into the workshop, I suppose...
 

Alf

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bugbear":1mxk7lio said:
but not as far out of square and flat as I’ve seem
(wicked chuckle) how do you know?
Ah, revenge is sweet eh...? :p I think we can safely say a good deal more than just a sliver of light was seen between the relevent reference surfaces. :roll:

I dunno, you exert effort to review high class tools and you get called a loonie and your methods called into question. [-( Pack it up, chaps. How am I going to get Groz to send me all their planes to review with a response like this...? :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Pete W

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Alf":1o6wkc2i said:
How am I going to get Groz to send me all their planes to review with a response like this...?
No thanks necessary, methinks :wink:
 

Shady

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The sides aren’t remotely square to the sole.
It's an interesting point though, given that they do produce perfectly reasonable engineers' squares: the concept of machining accuracy is obviously not foreign to them... :-k
 

bugbear

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the concept of machining accuracy is obviously not foreign to them...
With a large concern like Groz, you can assume that much of the work is outsourced to various sub-contractors.

Further, any engineering factory will have several different machines capable of varying tolerances.

You use whichever one is good enough.

BugBear
 

Aragorn

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bugbear":4v76t1me said:
Further, any engineering factory will have several different machines capable of varying tolerances.
I've no doubt that's true BugBear, but it does surprise me that it's so hard to set one of these machines for 90º, when it's so capable of exactly producing 89º. :?
 

Midnight

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For all it's faults - I'll bet it groz on you over time...

(i gotta stop that... )
the first one was bad enogh... but this...???? sheeshhhh

people have been wedgied for a lot less...

:twisted:
 
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