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Thread: Anyone ever bought and tuned a Groz plane

  1. #1
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    Anyone ever bought and tuned a Groz plane

    I was thinking we buy an old xyz plane from the past all rusted and beaten up and spend hours tuning it up and bringing it back to life. Often paying significant $$ for this old plane.

    So when i saw Woodcraft has the No4 Groz on clearance sale for $16.70 how bad can this plane be. Surely for a guy thats just getting into fettling a plane it would be a good starting point to find out all the pitfalls of a plane and fix em?

    I am thinking this could make a good contest project among those who know planes to take one and make it perform and report on it and have a comparison done by a common judge.

    Seems to me the entry fee of less than $20 to get a plane would not be bad. If it dont work one has a decent paperweight.

    What say the Neanders ?


    Never had one of these in my hands so dont know just how bad they can be......
    Rob .....Alias John Wayne now Pasquinell da trapper.

    "forget the apples slap some bacon on a biscuit and lets go...

    We're burning daylight"

  2. #2
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    I've 'fettled' several no-name, or 'downtrodden name' planes over the years, and have been reasonably successful. My only total failure so far has been a Kunz copy of a Stanley 112 scraper. I never have gotten that one to work well.

    Haven't seen, or tried, a Groz yet, though.

    The problem with doing the no-name, or not-well-respected-name planes is that once you've done all the work, and probably spent additional money on a blade, chip breaker, tote, etc. (or maybe even all the above...) it still may not work well, and even it it does you've still only got a plane with little or no resale value. I'd rather rehab an old Stanley, Sargent or M-F than start with an unknown, no-name plane.

    BTW, I've got a nice blue Stanley "Handyman" #5 that I've fettled into a truly great working plane - sorta on a betacquaintancentance told me they were total junk, and gave it to me, so, accepting his challenge, I cleaned it, flattened the sole, flattened the frog and frog seat, flattened the back of the blade, sharpened the blade, trued the edge of the chip breaker, and was able to take 0.001" shavings with it. Okay, I proved a point, but I've still just got a Handyman that worth maybe ten bucks.

    YMMV...
    Jim D.
    Adapt...Improvise...Overcome!

    It seems to me that the whole premise of "Political Correctness," however well-intentioned it may be, runs the danger of uniform mediocrity becoming the norm.

  3. #3
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    My first plane was a Groz block plane. The blade to body surface had inadequate material to fettle it to a point where good contact could be made. I slipped a piece of credit card in there and use it for knocking corners off stuff during the very rough phases. I don't have the romantic gene that derives satisfaction from fussing with something for hours or days to take off a shaving. On the other hand the whole plane cost about what the iron in one of my decent daily user planes cost so let's be fair. ;-) Looking for the silver lining, I did learn a decent amount about block planes before I was through. I also learned that I will not part with my dollars with the mistaken thought that I am "saving" money by trying cheap tools.
    Be excellent to each other. - Rufus

    "You can get so exact that you immobilize yourself with accuracy" - James Krenov


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    ...Looking for the silver lining, I did learn a decent amount about block planes before I was through. I also learned that I will not part with my dollars with the mistaken thought that I am "saving" money by trying cheap tools.
    Two very good lessons!

    Actually, if you're gonna mess with old planes, I guess it's better to get the learning over with with a cheapo junker than it is to unknowingly mess up an otherwise good one.
    Jim D.
    Adapt...Improvise...Overcome!

    It seems to me that the whole premise of "Political Correctness," however well-intentioned it may be, runs the danger of uniform mediocrity becoming the norm.

  5. #5
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    Well, I wouldn't bother with a Groz. I'd sooner spend some money on an old Stanley. They can be had for little, and can be brought to a high performance level. Some planes just will never amount to much, no matter how much effort you put into them. I haven't used a Groz, but everything I've read about them tells me to go in the other direction. I will respectfully disagree with Mr. DeLaney's second post. You may do some harm to an old Stanley, but at least you have the potential for a fine plane from the get go.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  6. #6
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    I have a Groz #4 that I bought before I was fully enlightened about planes. One of the local Rockler employees had done some fettling on it to see if it could be made into a usable plane, and I bought it on his advice. (He said it was decent, but not great.) It was better than any plane I'd used prior, but I didn't really have a good benchmark by which to judge it at the time.

    I've not pulled it out of its box in several years now, so I honestly don't know if it could be whipped into shape or not. Based on what I know now (and I'm still far from being an expert), I'd have to agree with Jim and Ken and recommend starting with an old legacy plane instead.

    I'm considering taking a few planes with me to Albuquerque just for something to tinker around with. If I do, I'll probably take the Groz with me and see if I can get it tuned up properly.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken werner View Post
    Well, I wouldn't bother with a Groz. I'd sooner spend some money on an old Stanley...

    I will respectfully disagree with Mr. DeLaney's second post. You may do some harm to an old Stanley, but at least you have the potential for a fine plane from the get go.
    Actually, in retrospect, I agree with you, Ken. It'd be very frustrating for a novice 'fettler' to spend a lot of time and effort on an unredeemable no-name brand plane, only to end up with a still-unusable junker, when by starting with an old Stanley or Sargent (s)he'd have a much better chance of ending up with a good - or even excellent - user.
    Jim D.
    Adapt...Improvise...Overcome!

    It seems to me that the whole premise of "Political Correctness," however well-intentioned it may be, runs the danger of uniform mediocrity becoming the norm.

  8. #8
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    I've never owned a Groz, but wouldn't bother with one either. Dropping the price doesn't improve the basic bones of the tool, and could lead to a lot of frustration and a bad experience with hand planes. I see it as analogous to starting wwing with a really lousy TS...it'd be easy to walk away and think it's not for you, when in reality the tool's to blame.

    You don't have to buy a crusty rusty old plane...buy one that's in decent shape...they are loads of 'em. The odds are good that an older plane has already been fettled once upon a time, and may only need a little honing and adjusting.
    Got Wood?

  9. #9
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    I bought a Groz rabbit plane. It was the worst hand tool purchase I ever made. I spent hour fiing and reshaping the cap iron to allow a better angle for chips to clear. When I got that figured out; I noticed that each time I use the plane, the iron chips.

    I would recommend looking elsewhere.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Actually, in retrospect, I agree with you, Ken. It'd be very frustrating for a novice 'fettler' to spend a lot of time and effort on an unredeemable no-name brand plane, only to end up with a still-unusable junker
    Since this thread has floated back to the top, I'd like to point out that "unusable junker" is based on a frame of reference.

    The only hand plane I own is a 10-15 year old English-made Stanley SB4. If you're familiar with "crap" planes you'll recognize that the SB4 is a $20 homeowner grade plane with no proper frog or chip breaker, fixed mouth, and depth adjustment is done by a pair of janky knurled nuts on each side of the iron.

    Now I haven't flattened the sole of it, the frog is cast into the body, and I don't even know what fettling means. I have done the Scary Sharp thing on the iron.

    In soft woods (pine, fir) I can push a 6 foot long curl that you can see through. Is it .001"? Dunno, didn't measure it. But it was thin enough for me. Will it do that same 6-foot curl in Oak or ipe or mahogany? Nope, but it does all right. I do most of my work in pine and poplar and fir, so I'm not too worried about it.

    If I was accustomed to using laser-honed, fairy-sprinkled, $300 Lie-Nielsen planes, not pulling .001" curls off hard woods would be an unusable junker.

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