Where I say ‘another‘ in the title above, what I mean is that this block plane is the first one from the Quangsheng range that I have owned. I was so impressed with the rebating block plane that I borrowed [thanks again, Matthew!] several months ago, that I couldn’t resist buying one of these in the current Rutlands sale, with the ridiculously low prices. Actually, it’s a shame they don’t also stock the rebating planes, or else I’d have bought one of those as well! 😀
Until last summer, I owned two other block planes – one was an old Stanley model I bought off eBay (a no.220, I think?) and the other was a modern 60½ plane made by Record/Irwin, which also had Chinese origins (though, in truth, it was perfectly usable, unlike a lot of the cheap Chinese rubbish out there). Anyway; I decided to sell those on because, having bought a Veritas apron plane one-year earlier, these two just weren’t getting enough use to warrant their stay in my tool storage cabinet. But, while the size of that one lends itself to all sorts of situations where heavy block plane would be less convenient, during my final year at college, I rediscovered the benefits in owning a larger block plane.
Just like the rebating block plane before it, this Dakota-branded model (they’re both made in the same “Quangsheng” factory – I can only assume that Rutlands use this title to try and draw business away from Workshop Heaven… Few people have much faith in the Dakota name!!). It was nice to see the plane wrapped and well-greased inside of the box which is certainly more durable than the squishable cardbord offerings supplied with Lie-Nielsen and Veritas planes – how do the Chinese do it for such a low price?!. Again, it’s got that reassuring weight to it, which you don’t get with other “budget“-priced planes from the Far East. You may have noticed already that the lever cap on the Dakota/Rutlands model has a silver or chrome finish, unlike the others from Workshop Heaven.
Unlike last time, I was pleasantly surprised to by the quality of the grinding of the primary (25°) bevel on the iron. With the last plane I used, the grinding was quite coarse and looked like it would need some work (though, in truth, it didn’t affect the quality or edge-holding properties of the steel – still, it does bother some people… 😉 ). I haven’t bothered to re-shoot any of the action photos as they’re identical to last time [see here and here]; wafer-thin shavings, and all that.
Despite the fact that delivery is free under their current sale, I still added a few other items to my basket, simply so that I could take advantage of the 15% discount on offer.
There’s a pack of five Chattahoochee pencils – if you’ve not come across them before, they’re basically an ‘unbreakable‘ version of the traditional carpenters pencil. I’ve thrown mine across the workshop a few times in blind rage and yet, the ‘lead’ does not break. You can bend them, too. One is never enough for me; with a pack of five going at half-price, I can now have several scattered around the workshop and also allow for one or two to fall down behind my bench! These are also available from Workshop Heaven.
A surface conditioning wheel for the Work Sharp 30000 – the idea is that this’ll clean the rust and corrosion off your steel tools and prepare the steel or metal surfaces for further protection. This is an interesting idea, as I regularly have rusty chisels from scraping excess adhesive from jobs and, in the past, I’ve ruined a couple of the standard PSA abrasives in cleaning them up. I look forward to seeing just how well this works and will report back in time – for almost £20 though, I hope it lasts a while…!
Just for good measure, a bottle of Titebond III – I’ve tried most of the others and so, I’m also curious to see how this one performs. One comment I’ve heard is that, while it’s ideal for exterior joinery work, it leaves more of a visible glue line than other adhesives in the Titebond range. At £6.71 in the sale, I felt I couldn’t go wrong, even though I may never actually use it! 😉
If I discover anything else worth mentioning on the block plane-front, I’ll be sure to post it here, at a later date. For now though, I believe this will prove to be a worthwhile purchase – Rutlands are also offering a ten-year guarantee, for extra piece of mind!! 😎
Thanks for reading.