Tool Review – Bench Dog 5-1/2 Bench Plane

Tool Review – Bench Dog 5-1/2 Bench Plane

Tool Review. Rob Cosman reviews the Bench Dog 5-1/2 bench plane and tells you his oppinon of it.
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  1. Michael Ross on July 31, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    My Woodriver 5 1/2 the tilt lever has to screws holding the tab onto the lever. It soon unscrewed and one was lost. I wish it had a low quality stamped and formed lever. That will never fail.

  2. Bill Giles on July 31, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    $220 seems a lot of money for a cheap Indian plane.

  3. E. T. Ashworth on July 31, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    Didn’t need to watch. Rob no likey.

  4. Larry Williams on July 31, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    Hi Rob .., thanks for the review, I know that it helps a lot of wood workers make the right decision when purchasing a new plane .., I personally have been sticking with the higher end makers , (Lie-Nielsen , Veritas , and Wood River) because I feel that the quality is going to be so much better right out of the box.., one plane maker that I wish that you would do a review on one of their tools is the new line of Clifton planes sold by Woodcraft .., these planes appear high quality in the photos …., well judging by the cost .., they should be! , they’re up there with Lie-Nielsen!!

  5. Joshua Puyear on July 31, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Glad I found this video before I wasted my money on the bench dog planes. Guess I will just save up my money for the wood river ones

  6. Robert Drown on July 31, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Your review is thorough, professional and informative. Well done. Having restored 8 or 10 old Stanley planes and a knock off plane, It took a lot of trial and error to learn about and appreciate the facets of your review. I really enjoy using hand planes and the feel of the iron slicing the wood is wonderful. It also tells you a lot about the grain direction, thickness of the cut, blade sharpness, and surface finish of the wood. I think the lack feel with this plane is in part caused by the rough bedding of the tote and knob, lighter than usual screws and questionable fit between the blade, frog and frog bed. A few refinements could improve this product a-lot. You probably spent an hour tuning the plane. If the manufacturer spent $10 in effort, they would have a much more competitive product.

  7. Kellan Aldous on July 31, 2022 at 11:34 pm

    $220 and mostly what I hear is "meh" I’ll just stick with my restored planes and my harbor freight $15 plane xD

  8. djtblizzle on July 31, 2022 at 11:35 pm

    It shaved the wood. Good enough for me. Done and done

  9. Bill Ferrol on July 31, 2022 at 11:36 pm

    $220 – US or C?

  10. Charles Hinton on July 31, 2022 at 11:42 pm

    The Bench Dog planes were updated a couple of years ago.
    When the previous version was being closed out I bought a box set with a #4 and a block plane.
    I am a sucker for a deal and just bought them because the set was $100.
    I do not see any difference between the #4 I have and the #5 1/2 Rob is evaluating.
    I am not much of a hand tool woodworker so for the occasional use the planes are okay but if given a do over I would not buy them again.

  11. Ton Kuipers on July 31, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    Thx, a very thorough investigation, helps to identify which plane i would like to buy👍

  12. Jesse Nunes on July 31, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    For that much money I would get a name i trust like lie nielsen or woodriver .

  13. Joe Perch on July 31, 2022 at 11:46 pm

    I just stumbled across this review. I bought a Bench Dog 5 1/2 about a month or so ago. I like it okay. But I am a beginner and I may not know any better. I ended up buying this plane for two main reasons: one was that an employee of my local Woodcraft store actually told me that he did notliek the Woodriver version of this plane. He mentioned something about the sides being out of spec for squarness and a few other issues. The second reason was they were, and still are, completely out of stock. The newly opened Rockler store in my area had this plane in stock and they had a 20% off coupon. So I only paid about $180 for mine. Since I am not a major user of hand planes, and because I got it at a lower price, I think I can live with many of the functional issues Rob mentioned. I know I can live with the cosmetic issues.

  14. Kevin Barbaro on July 31, 2022 at 11:46 pm

    Something made in India is crude!?! Nooooo waaay…

  15. frank cawley on July 31, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    The fundamentals are consistently missed on cheaper planes. Seems like the fundamentals are now being missed on mid price too.
    I will take function over cosmetics any day.
    Is it REALLY an awful lot more expensive to machine crucial contact points flat?
    I don’t imagine so but they consistently let themselves down
    Thanks for another great review Rob.

  16. D Clark on July 31, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    Any ideas on which Adjustar I would want for a Bench Dog?

  17. MrEhf111 on July 31, 2022 at 11:51 pm

    Great review Rob … the deal breakers for me are casting quality (this is a minor one but it does speak to attention to detail), the screw type "lever" cap and the big one is the frog design. I don’t understand why anyone would design a Stanley Bailey type frog when many manufacturers are able to implement the Bedrock design. Years ago I bought and refurbished 6 Stanley planes from eBay. This was at the time when "collectors" were scooping up Bedrock planes for crazy money only to sit on a shelf as an ornament, never to be used. This drives me crazy but that’s a subject for another day. Anyway I was only able to get one Bedrock (my #7) the rest were Bailey design. Used them for years (still do) but started to upgrade to WoodRiver bench planes 6 years ago (based on your comments and involvement in the design … thank you for that) … the time saved in adjustment alone is very helpful. I don’t think the Bench Dog is a piece off junk but it’s not for me … I’m continuing on with WoodRiver as I know I’m getting a quality tool.

  18. SquirrelsForAll on July 31, 2022 at 11:51 pm

    Glad I watched this, thanks for creating and sharing. I’ll skip this brand.

  19. Wilhelm Taylor on July 31, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    The little bump under the front handle is there for a reason: keeps it from turning which it’s likely to do when you grab it hard. Also, the short screw holding down the rear handle is perfect for its function. A flat head screw would tend to split the wood. I like that it’s not counter bored thus maximizing the wood structure under the screw. Like you, I own Woodriver planes but I wouldn’t ding someone for non-performance issues. Incidentally, I shoot air pistols and the handles on those come blocky – you’re expected to use a rasp and file to shape to your preference. It’s not possible to make a handle that fits every hand. PITA but not a deal breaker if you intend to use the tool long term.

  20. Joschmoyo on July 31, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    Save your money. In fourty years as a full time craftsman, I have never used a no 5. No 4 and 4.5 smoothers, yes, all the time and a no 8 for jointing long thin boards and truing soundbars on pipe organ chests. But that’s it.
    Jack planes are much more of a carpenter’s tool. Trimming doors to fit jams, floorboards and the like. But if you like showing off a big collection of dust collectors behind your bench….

  21. Will J on July 31, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    Thank you for the review. I appreciate your teaching and learn something from each video. After months of waiting, I finally received my backordered Woodriver 5 1/2 Jack plane and I’m looking forward to fine tuning it right after I received my shipping-delayed IBC blades. My question for you is where do I get that neat star-shaped adjuster I see on your 5 1/2? Thanks.

  22. Scott Dingwall on July 31, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    In Europe it’s an axminster rider ..I just bought one and all the same complaints are there …plus there is a 0.13 mm hollow behind the mouth and the sides are nowhere near sq to the sole ..pretty poor quality control.

  23. Vasileios Bitas on July 31, 2022 at 11:56 pm

    I didn’t even finish the video. Just by looking at the cast lateral adjustment is a HARD pass for me. Cheap quality that is not worth the time of day, or even $50.
    Personal opinion, derived by my experiences with such type of lateral adjustments

  24. Forest Woodworks on July 31, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    There was a slight perkup in your voice once you started planning though lol. I thought that was pretty cool. It’s like the sound of wood shaving allowed you to forget the issues, temporarily. Thanks for the honest review Rob!…alas, someday!

  25. steven lang on July 31, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    I don’t understand how a management team can look at the product and not see these simple issues Rob is pointing out?????

    How can some thing be good on this and let the others issues be overlioked and poorly done?????

    It doesn’t make sense. What’s even more troubling is that Rockler is waisting the consumers time and making them there quality control inspectors for the stuff they sell!

    This is so wrong! Bulldog in the first place, and Rockler in the second place, and consumers that don’t do their homework then complain when they get taken.

    I never buy any thing made in India yet! This is a prime example that there manaufacting is not to par yet!

    I’d like to know who’s at the wheel house and why can’t we confront them with these issues up front, right to the the Board of Directors if necessary!

    If you have a concern say on a Lie-Nielsen product you can get an response right from the Captian himself Mr. Thomss Lie-Neilsen himself! I know cause I have, even if it is cosmetic issue!

    I don’t like woodworking stores that just sell things to make a buck! Look at the work Rob and team puts into his products! He would never sign of on that plan before shipping it! So why do companies do this and hide behind board doors? Who are the people???????? And Rockler should be avoided cause there board desided to sell this stuff also!!!!! who are these people!!!!!!!

    I don’t buy much from Rockler either cause there prices are too high! There like Ace Hardware, way too pricey to buy from! They think they have corned the hardware market so wrong. Ther markup is just too high on product you can buy else were for much less, same product, or quality.

    In any case do your home work and you won’t get taken br these kind of stores or product!

    Rob. your doing a great service for the wood work h community! My hard off to you and your team!

    Folks do your home work or waist your money! India products still not there!

    Steven Columbus Michigan 🇺🇸

  26. Seth Fontenot on August 1, 2022 at 12:02 am

    I got a 4 1/2 in sale, same comments. It took me less time to get a beat up vintage Craftsman than the 4 1/2. Still happy with it for the price, but waaaaay more work than the cost when it’s not in sale.

  27. mcgeorgerl on August 1, 2022 at 12:02 am

    Very good and honest review. It seams that for the additional 40 bucks, the Wood River offers greater value. Thanks, Rob.

  28. Gary Gibbons on August 1, 2022 at 12:02 am

    I bought one of these 3 years ago. It is not the plane I grab regularly – I also have a Woodriver Cosmanized (blade and breaker) 5 1/2 jack. On the Bench Dog plane, I have never been able to get the iron angle to remain as set, and I really don’t like the knurled thumb screw lever cap that locks the iron and breaker. The plane is heavy enough, but it just doesn’t keep its set on the blade angle, and is also hard to adjust the iron depth with the thumb screw locked down on the lever cap.

    Over all, I wish I hadn’t bought it. No amount of fettling on my part has made this plane anything more than maybe a shooting board plane.

  29. Tioga Fretworks on August 1, 2022 at 12:03 am

    Wow $1/hr Indians you see on TikTok working in metal forges in sandals and no PPE whatsoever didn’t produce a top-quality tool?? How could that possibly be?

  30. Romulus Clay on August 1, 2022 at 12:05 am

    So I grew up with a father who worked in a machine shop and foundry here in Southern California and built parts for the Apollo missions back in the day. He used to say All craftsmen need to know how to fix, repair and maintain their tools. He also said a true Craftsman can get superior results Out of worn out tools. What he meant Was that if you were a true Craftsman you didn’t have to have the latest greatest most expensive tool to get the job done properly. As to the aerospace engineer that commented down below all your jibber jabber about tolerances is a complete waste of time and doesn’t apply to woodworking. Growing up with a father/engineer everything I did was measured intolerances with micrometers regardless of task. So when I moved to woodworking trying to achieve machineist tolerance’s on wood drove me nuts. With lumber being the material your tolerances can move many thousands just because of temperature, moisture, And hell with large guys like me I can put my weight into it and compress the fibers way farther out of tolerance than any of those numbers you were talking about. I think it was a stumpy nubs video that showed how you should not prep your wood until you’re ready to glue it up. He showed some material that he had prepped the day before that was flat and square and the next day it was not flat and square just because of the moisture. As in all rob cosman videos this is just a giant bitch fest on who has the biggest penis. The bottom line is buy what you can afford learn how to fix it up and tune it and get to work. We all can’t afford Lie Nielsen.

  31. ANHAD BANI NR on August 1, 2022 at 12:05 am

    Plz reply me

  32. Wonder Wilds on August 1, 2022 at 12:07 am

    i have a bench dog low angle block plane i got on sale.. its much like this one. it works good for me, but its definitely crude casting. i think there price point is to high for how rough it is.

  33. TheTranq on August 1, 2022 at 12:07 am

    Good video Rob. Can you reiterate a bit on “having suspicion that the sole isn’t flat based on the performance”? My Benchdog is 0.0025” out of flat at spots and I am unable to get quite as good performance as you

  34. Laurence Lance on August 1, 2022 at 12:09 am

    Lookding at WoodCraft Seattle, I find that a Woodriver #5 1/2 is listed at $269.99. For an additional $49.99 the buyer gets a fully adjustable plane that is of better quality in every aspect. Case closed.

  35. Ionut on August 1, 2022 at 12:12 am

    Those cheeks are not good enough for shooting. More contact surface is needed.

  36. Richard Smart on August 1, 2022 at 12:13 am

    I just want to say as a person who recently started woodworking with one of these planes:
    1. You are absolutely correct about the hand blister from the front knob. I got one pretty bad.
    2. When you don’t know what you’re doing, adjusting the screw for the lever cap is a source of frustration. An actual lever is so much better.
    3. I had problems with mine that I could tell needed fixing (chip breaker, frog adjustment) and at the same time I didn’t (and mostly don’t) know what I’m doing, so it was a long road of screwing the plane up and trying to fix it only to cave, buy a Lie-Nielson and have no problems whatsoever.

    These planes are okay, but as a beginner, I’d not necessarily recommend. Either go cheap / flea market and have the same pain of getting it workable, or go pricey and get a really nice tool if you have the money. This plane lands squarely in the middle ground where an experienced wood worker will know how to set it up well and get their $200 worth out of it. Maybe a good buy as an upgrade once you’ve cut your teeth a bit on a cheapo.

  37. David W on August 1, 2022 at 12:14 am

    Overall, kind of a blah plane. Not that I’m in the market for any of them. But as an amateur maker, the two things that stand out are the upright rear handle (sore wrist with heavier use). Just no reason to copy anything other than Stanley’s handle, which had the same angle as better wooden planes from England. And the 58 hardness iron is going to have beginners coming up short on sharpness and wondering why, as well as reduced edge strength at the apex. I’d much rather have a Stanley plane and flatten the sole and prep the parts.

  38. Christian Tyler on August 1, 2022 at 12:15 am

    Dang.. thought if I upgraded to a benchdog some of my troubles would be over. The Taytools jack plane for 125$ has given me nonstop problems. Guess I’m stuck waiting for a wood river. Don’t have the knowledge/skill to make a cheap plane function like a premium brand. I’m between a rock and a hard place with these hand planes at the moment.

  39. Kevin Davenport on August 1, 2022 at 12:16 am

    Perfect timing on the review. I just received a 5 1/2 tay tools on Amazon for $133. Had thought of getting the bench dog. Glad I did not spend the extra $. As they are almost identical, my lever cap is silver and poorer quality then the bench dog. Thanks keep up the great videos

  40. paul Jackson on August 1, 2022 at 12:16 am

    Need some videos of you showing and using some of your wooden planes! I know they are more difficult to setup and use but I’d love to see your process and method for any of them

  41. Chris Perry on August 1, 2022 at 12:20 am

    Good morning Rob 🙂 Have you ever looked at Busy Bee (100% Canadian) hand planes? If so, any reviews, any comments?

  42. Darin on August 1, 2022 at 12:21 am


  43. Erik on August 1, 2022 at 12:22 am

    A Little off Topic but Rob talked briefly about end grain glued to vertical grain, as in a shelf, in his last boadcast.
    Saw this this morning, VERY interesting results from this guy’s tests..

  44. Lyle Carmignani on August 1, 2022 at 12:23 am

    Rob you have always said that you get little to no strength from end grain glue. You are not alone in this opinion. And I have always felt the same. However I just saw this video and I think it is changing my mine. Can you please view and give me your opinion?

  45. Benjamin Adair on August 1, 2022 at 12:23 am

    I looked to buy a benchdog 5 1/2 after watching this video I’m really glad I waited for my woodriver 5 1/2 thanks again

  46. ANHAD BANI NR on August 1, 2022 at 12:24 am

    Wher is state in India rob

  47. Gary Rawlins on August 1, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Looks like a plane sold as Rider in the UK, its about £99, or $137 here.

  48. Turning Point on August 1, 2022 at 12:26 am

    A very unbiased review that I’d sure agree with Rob.

    In today’s volume production manufacturing environment CNC machine tools are an absolute necessity. I’m real confident that plane’s machined and non ground areas were done using a manual mill and a really low skilled operator. The starting nick with the end mill edge at the incorrect elevation and non flat end milled areas prove that. I’d be embarrassed to produce surfaces and finished work that bad with my mill. Even a low end CNC mill could surface the the casting under the tote and properly make the radial cut under the handle in less than two minutes. Secondly whoever did the initial design and specified the + – tolerances didn’t have a clue. Or if the drawings were were properly done the manufacturer ignored those and there’s no real quality control inspection.

    The totes bottom length isn’t even close to matching the castings boss length, and those protruding screw heads on hand held surfaces? All that isn’t exactly witchcraft to figure out and do properly without adding a single cent to the production costs. They’ve obviously cut corners for zero benefit and certainly lessened there chances of having any real long term customer loyalty. I’d bet the machining was farmed out to the absolute lowest bidder and it shows that all too well. Unlike most wood workers I could re-machine, fix, or replace parts for most of it’s problem areas, but for $220, I’d pay a bit more and get something that works right out of the box. Imo that plane is an over priced starting kit of parts that just about needs access to machine tools to finish it off into something that’s ok at most.

  49. JLQ on August 1, 2022 at 12:26 am

    The level of quality for that price is just unacceptable. I guess they should have shaved some of the budget from the packaging and put that toward the plane.

  50. Smuggle Me Zyra on August 1, 2022 at 12:27 am

    i bought a benchdog no 7 recently. came in fairly good shape. the contacts for the frog needed a decent amount of work to seat properly. the sole looked very nice aesthetically. the piece of paper said it was .004 flat which it definitely was not. not even close lol. if it wasnt a long plane like a 7 it wouldnt of bothered me that much but the fact that they give u some signed off piece of paper authenticating it… also had the same problem with trigger finger having nowhere to sit. i’d rub up against the adjustment while planing until modifying.