Woodriver No 1 Plane

A few months ago, I bought this Woodriver No 1 Plane on eBay after missing owning my Stanley No 1 Plane that I bought at an antique show a couple of years earlier. I had to sell my Stanley No 1 because at the time, I needed the cash, but I still enjoyed using it for the short time I owned it.

I wanted to buy a Lie Nielsen No 1 plane, but those have shot up in price over the past couple of years as well. When I wrote my article about “Using a Stanley No 1 Plane,” you could buy a Lie Nielsen for about $200. Now, their prices fetch anywhere between $500-800 because apparently Lie Nielsen is no longer making them, and collectors are grabbing them up.

Woodriver No 1 planes are technically still available, but they have been on backorder from Woodcraft for over a year, which is why I had to hunt eBay for this little guy. Whether or not they come off backorder is anyone’s guess.

The plane needed a little cleaning, so I took it apart and polished all the parts, removing surface rust. I noticed the edges were sharp from the milling process, so I cut them down with a file and some 120 grit sand paper.

The one thing I didn’t like about the plane was the shape of the rear tote. I originally wanted to replace the handle with Brazialian Rosewood, but I couldn’t source a piece that was cheap enough, so I settled with a scrap piece of Paduak. I’m partial to the look of Stanley’s older totes, so I drew out a design that I thought looked close enough to the old Stanley planes.

I simply used chisels and files and rounded the edges of the tote. I played around with the overall shape of the tote a few times until I was satisfied with the overall look.

After the shaping was done, I had to drill the holes for the nut and threaded rod. I stuck a 1/8″ dowel through the Woodriver tote and transferred that angle onto my new tote. Then, I drilled the center hole through the body and larger holes on the top and bottom of the tote to fit the nut on top and the raised hump on the bed.

Once I put the tote onto the plane, I examined how it fit. I noticed that the front part of the tote was a little too tall for the brass adjustment screw to move freely. So I reshaped the front of the tote, giving the screw more clearance to move.

I sanded the tote smooth and applied dark walnut Danish oil on the tote to tone the reddish color down a little bit. I contemplated making a new knob as well, but I decided against it. I’m hoping that the color of the Paduak will darken over time and match the knob better in color.

Here’s the plane all cleaned up with a new tote. Looks nice, but I still would like to make Brazialian Rosewood handles someday.

I sharpened the blade to see how it performed. I grabbed a scrap piece of birch with some swirly grain and went to work. The plane worked admirably. I really do think these little guys were made to clean up rough grain produced by larger planes.

I don’t think Woodriver No 1 Planes are as nicely machined as Stanley or Lie Nielsen planes, but for the price, they’re a good substitute.

Corradi Gold Rasp Handles

Last year I bought a couple of Italian made Corradi Gold Rasps direct from Italy; a 6″ round and a 10″ cabinet rasp. While I absolutely loved using them, they were painful to use without a proper handle. The tip of the tang would dig into the palm of my hand causing great pain. Corradi sells handles for their rasps, but I figured I could make my own easily enough.


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I use these rasps to shape and make new pieces of wood for the top of my rosewood plane totes. Their small size makes it nice to work into the tight curves of the handle and the small hole for the threaded rod. At a 6 cut, they are aggressive enough to make quick work of removing the wood, but with their advanced stitching, they don’t leave big tool marks on the wood’s surface. In the photo below, there is a small black line near the top of the tote that distinguishes the original Brazilian rosewood and the new piece of cocobolo. I use cocobolo because Brazilian rosewood is nearly impossible to get nowadays and cocobolo is in the same species of wood. While the color of the woods are not an exact match, they’re good enough to make the tote look nice again.

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I started making the handle with a scrap piece of apple about 12″ long and chucked it into my lathe.

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Then, using a template handle I had when I bought an old knife sharpener, I used my parting tool and calipers to mark and measure the details of the handle.

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After everything was turned to my satisfaction, I took some of my lathe shavings and burnished the wood to a nice sheen.

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In order for the handle to fit in the tang of the rasp securely, I drilled a small pilot hole as plum as possible down the center of the handle. The drill bit was the size of the very tip of the tang of the rasp so it would fit tight when driven into the handle.

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Next, I took my blow torch and carefully heated the tip of the rasp so I could burn into the handle. It took a couple of tries as I didn’t want to burn it in all at once. On the second burn, the rasp seated nicely into the handle and I was unable to pull it out.

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The final touch was to simply apply a couple coats of oil on the handles. These handles were extremely simple to make. In fact, it took less that 30 minutes to make both. Why I didn’t make them last year when I originally bought the rasps I have no idea.

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