Review: Rider 3-in-1 plane

Three planes in one? SOLD! I bought a Rider 3-in-1 shoulder plane. Which is also a bull nose plane. And a chisel plane. That’s two special purpose planes I might not need to buy separately, if this thing keeps its promises. Tool review time!

UNBOXING – somehow, that is an important part of a review. Go figure. How is the product packaged and blah blah. I don’t get why that has become the standard of reviews, but I am certainly guilty of it. Back in the early 2000’s I ran a web site where we reviewed computer thingamabobs. Water cooling, overclocking and all that good stuff. I’ve done hundreds of reviews, and almost all of them had the obligatory unboxing photo. So here it is:

In the box we find a paper wrapped plane, covered in anti rust protective grease or whatnot. An allen wrench / hex key, a shim and the bull nose nose. The shim opens up the mouth a bit if needed.

A bit of 5-56 (3-in-1 oil, a fitting choice for cleaning this tool…) on a rag, and it cleaned up nicely.

Quality and finish

The overall quality of this plane is good, but not really great. There’s lots of sharp corners, burrs and the overall finish is a semi-coarse grinder feel. It is smooth and nice to hold (apart from sharp corners), but the manufacturer has not spent too much time on the tool. The sharp corners and burrs has to go, but the overall finish is good enough.

Here is an example – if the person that ground this part spent 5 seconds more, it would look nice and the tell-tale sign of a rush job would’ve been gone.

The back of the bull nose nose (sorry, can’t resist) also shows how little effort and time that has gone into this tool. Swiffa-swoffa over the grinder (the diagonal lines comes from some sort of milling tool, but the rest of the faces are ground), and NEXT! Shame, really. Not vital for the tool at all, but a shame none the less. A few more seconds on the production line and a hundred Norwegian quid more on the bill would’ve been worth it.

In this price range, I do not expect great quality control. If the part is “passable”, it’ll get past QC. Clearly evident in the bronze handle:

The bronze handle has a mirror polish on the top and sides, and has the tell-tale sand cast texture underneath. It really does make the plane look good, and the overall fit and finish is very good.

The casting of the handle shows some bubbles in the surface, but I don’t think the area is weakened. Possibly just a bit of trapped air during the casting or some impurities. These planes are cast in sand moulds, which is evident by the fact that there’s quite a bit of moulding sand left on the parts! They have certainly not been cleaned. Just get’em to the grinder as soon as they have cooled enough to be handled… I tapped the plane on the bench and a lot of grits fell off:

I did not expect this plane to be ready to go out of the box, and I was right. The blade is sharp, but not hand plane sharp. Not by a long shot! This is the result of a few swipes to test what it would do:

As you can see, that blade is not sharpened properly. It is just shaped from the factory, so some quality diamond plate time is needed here! Plus de-burring the blade and lap the back of it. As expected, really.

Overall, the plane is decent for what I paid for it. And after some fettling, it is going to be an excellent user plane. It will never be worth a lot of money, but the utilitarian value is absolutely there. Or, as we will see, after a bit of work.

Let’s see how to refine this plane on the next page!

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