Quangsheng version 4, No. 4 smoothing plane review


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Established Member
22 Sep 2010
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Frome, Somerset, UK
I'll edit this later to include photos once I work out a file server.

I just purchased a Quansheng version 4 No. 4 smoothing plane from Workshop Heaven (free postage and delivered within 48 hours, nice! :D )

I've never handled a 'proper' hand plane before (Lie-Nielsen, Clifton, etc.), so I haven't the best experience for comparisons. However, this QS plane is definitely a huge step up from the execrable Faithful plane I was using (which I suppose wouldn't be hard).

The plane comes in a heavy-weight heat-sealed plastic bag within a wooden box (packed with foam sheets) which itself is packed within another lighter-weight heat-sealed plastic bag and then a cardboard sleeve placed over the whole bundle. All metal parts of the plane are veritably drenched in a clear oil.

Outer sleeve

Wooden box in plastic wrapping

Foam packing

Snugged up tight

Out of the box and in its bag

Oil coating

Overall, the plane is finished very nicely. All bear metal surfaces have a brushed metal finish, with the sole of the plane being more highly polished. There's still room for a mirror finish on the sole and sides which will take very little work via wet-and-dry and float glass. The matt black paint is applied evenly and with no spill-over to areas it shouldn't be on (although there may possibly be some on the inside edge of the mouth, but I need to check later in the daylight). The wooden tote and knob are gorgeous with a satin finish that shows the wood grain very well. The improved yoke is a dull galvanized iron colour. The adjuster nut and threaded rod plus the tote, knob and cap screws are brass. The frog adjustment screw, adjuster tab, locking screws and frog hold-down pins are shiny silver steel. The frog hold-down pins have a sensible dimple on their heads to orient them with the locking screws.


Top down

The sole

The No. 4

The frog

The bed

Nice wood and finish

Brushed metal lever cap

Adjuster, locking screws, et al.

Flatness and squareness;
I went over the plane in some detail with my Veritas straight edge, aluminium winding sticks and an engineer's square. My findings are that the sole, sides and top and bottom of the frog are all as flat as flat can be. The frog bed looks to be well machined, but for obvious reasons I couldn't check that for flatness. The only 'defect' is that the sides are very, very slightly out of square with the sole (or at least according to my Drapper engineer's square, which itself might be out of square considering its provenance). The aluminium winding sticks (sold by Axminster and I highly recommend them) show the sole to have no twist at all. Thus, there will be no need for any flattening or filing, just a touch of polishing out of pure anal retentiveness. I've not yet closely inspected the mouth where there may be some need for a little fettling.

Believe me it's flat

No twist

Just a little out of square (hard to see)

The mouth

Blade, chip breaker and lever cap
The blade and chip breaker are quite thick and weighty (thicker than my WWII-vintage No. 5 blade and chip breaker). I really like the straight wedge design of the chip breaker rather than a curve. There appears to be just a little machining or filing of the chip breaker where it makes contact with the blade, suggesting some attention has been given to flatness for a good contact between the two. I need to investigate this fit a bit more, but so far it looks good. The blade has a perfect 25 deg bevel as checked via my Veritas angle gauge. It is also completely square in profile, so I'll need to put a slight curved profile to it while I'm honing the edge and putting on a microbevel. It's certainly sharp out of the box and cuts paper like a razor. The lever cap has no stamp upon it and has the current fashion brushed metal finish to it. This has definitely had some filing work done to the front underside to ensure an even contact with the chip breaker.

Lever cap with signs of milling

Blade and chip breaker sagittal view

Blade and chip breaker apart

Top of chip breaker

Underside of chip breaker

Near enough

Adjuster and lateral adjuster
The adjuster nut and yoke have a very good fit. There is not enough space between the yoke and inside edge of the nut's channel to fit my 30 cm steel rule edge in, so I estimate it fits in with about a 0.5 mm gap. That means there is just a bit of slack and nut turning when changing from setting the blade in to out and visa versa, but I suspect that is normal. There is certainly far, far less play in it compared to my old Faithful monster. The lateral adjuster is the new improved version with the finger tab screwed in to the arm of the adjuster.

Adjuster details

Steel ruler edge on

The bad
There are only a few 'defects' currently apparent with this plane that I can see.
Firstly, I suspect the sides and sole are just a smidgeon out of square (see my Drapper caveat above), but I'm sure it will have absolutely no impact when used for shooting.
Secondly, there is a very small (1mm wide by ~0.5 mm deep) pit in the sole of the plane that looks like it was a void in the metal. This is located at the trailing edge of the sole, so I'm sure it will have no impact on use.
Thirdly, the mouth looks like it might need a little bit of attention. Possibly some roughness to the edges or it might just be some paint giving that impression.
Fourthly, the adjuster tab looks a little thin but I'm sure that will cause no problem as long as someone doesn't try to strain it by, for instance, not first loosening the locking screws.

Spot (with flash)

Spot (without flash)

Overall, I'm really, really impressed by the plane's quality and am looking forward to using it in earnest.
Truly excellent pics. You`ve certainly left no stone unturned on the description front. Now, how about some shavings :)
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