Woodworking in America 2008 #12: Bevel-up vs. Bevel-down Planes

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Blog entry by Al Navas posted 12-23-2008 04:03 PM 2366 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Video Episode #39 - Advanced Dovetailing with Frank Klausz Part 12 of Woodworking in America 2008 series no next part

From my blog:

Christopher Schwarz moderated this session on the second day of Woodworking in America in Berea, KY. Robin Lee and Thomas Lie-Nielsen participated. Highlights of items covered during this session:

Summary (from notes I took during the session – but everything is on the video):

1. Characteristics of both types of hand planes.
2. Questions with Robin Lee and Thomas Lie-Nielsen.
3. Questions from the audience.

Now for the good stuff:

Using a Veritas bevel-up plane as an example, Schwarz explained:

1. There is no removable frog.
2. These have been called “low angle” tools, which can be confusing because they can be made into high-angle tools.
3. What changes when using a bevel-up plane? We gain, due to some of the following advantages, and lose some due to a few disadvantages:

  • The sharpening angle of attack influences the angle of the tool: Low angle, for end grain, for example; and high angle for “tricky” grain.
  • The adjustment mechanisms are vastly different; they result in easier, and more accurate, blade adjustment with the bevel-up tools. Blade projection is easier; but lateral adjustment can be more tricky on the bevel-up planes.
  • There is no separate chip breaker. Robin Lee discusses wood failure.
  • Some discussion followed on changing the angle of attack by changing the back bevel on the iron; Schwarz does not like this approach, as it doubles sharpening time.
  • A major advantage of bevel-down smoothers and jointers: Making adjustments “on-the-fly”, which gives great feedback to the user.
  • A disadvantage of the bevel-up tools: Cannot “point” with the index finger, or make adjustments.

Starting about 45 minutes into the session, the panel took questions from the audience. This was a great session with two major players on the tool manufacturing side, an amateur woodworker who doubles as a magazine editor, and an audience hungry for information.

View videos from Woodworking in America on my blog+-+

The following is a screen shot of the session:

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

2 comments so far

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

789 posts in 3833 days

#1 posted 12-25-2008 06:54 PM

These are incredibly interesting and informative. Thanks for all your work in making the videos and posting them. I’ll look/listen to them all. Thank you !!! Het LJs ck these out.

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 3875 days

#2 posted 12-26-2008 12:55 AM


I am very glad you are enjoying them – there was a lot to cover, and we all have tried our best to get out the information on the web.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

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