My ongoing shop clean-out project is becoming more an exercise in archaeology than hygiene. I came upon these two hiding in a long-unopened drawer today:The Stanley #2 bench plane on the right used to belong to my dad. I minimally restored it a long time ago. It had a cracked tote (the rear handle), and the metal was in tough shape, but it’s pretty decent now, if a bit dusty and dull from lying around unused.
But the Groz #5 jack plane on the left is a problem, because I have absolutely no memory of how I came by it.
The plane appears brand new. There’s no visible wear on it, and there even appears to be cosmoline on the iron, which still has a factory edge. The chrome plating on the lever cap is bright and shiny, and the metal on the body is pristine with no rust or pitting. The the depth adjusting screw had a little corrosion on it, probably due to humidity in the shop, but I cleaned that up quickly with a little penetrating oil. Everything works smoothly, and it seems like a decent plane.
I’m not sure what to make of this tool. I’ve looked it up online to try to get an idea of price, but I can’t find any currently in stock at the usual places. My guess is that it was pretty cheap – Groz seems to be an India-based company, and I’ve seen some videos suggesting folks paid $15 for a new #4 Groz bench plane. It seems like you need to put a lot of work into getting these planes ready for production – flattening and lapping the sole, grinding and sharpening the iron. You get what you pay for.
I’m not sure how much effort to put into this plane. I’ve always dreamed of turning out projects using only hand tools – razor sharp planes and chisels making heaps of lovely curls of creamy wood that fall quietly to the floor, the scent of pine and linseed oil in the air, a cheery fire going in the woodstove. I’m not at that point yet, but having decent hand tools around will get me a little closer to that dream, so maybe I should put the effort into this plane.
But I just wish I could remember where it came from.