Reviews #2: Lee Valley Bevel Up Smoother Plane - Heaven!

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Blog entry by Tim Dorcas posted 01-13-2008 06:42 PM 5168 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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There was a recent thread where someone asked about buying used hand planes and refurbishing them to save some money. There was also some talk about buying inexpensive planes to do the same thing. I did both. First I bought some cheap Grotz planes. They were terrible. No matter what I did or how hard I worked to sharpen the blades, they would mark the wood or they would simply not feel good under hand. I had the same results when purchasing an old plane that I tried to refurbish. For the longest time, I just thought it was me and I stuck with my planer.

For my birthday last year, my wife bought me a Lee Valley Low Angle Jack Plane. Holy crap! Right out of the box it just worked. I could actually plane something without leaving gouges in the wood. All of the sudden things just made sense. Making minute adjustments was easy. I could finally make wispy shavings. Hoorah! Based solely on this experience, I went out a week later to buy the LV LA Block Plane to replace the $25 Stanley Block Plane and $20 Grotz I had purchased a year earlier. It was also an instant hit. Since then I have been lusting after the LV Smoother and LV Jointer to finish off the basic set.

YesterdayI was able to add the LV BUS to my collection. It’s my favorite plane yet. I can make even finer shavings with this plane than my BU Jack. There is just the right sense of weight—not too light, not to heavy. The controls are perfect. When my shavings were a bit too thick. I just closed the throat and they were perfect. An hour later after planing everything I could get my hands on in the shop, I was in a mini mountain of multicolored shavings. I am no stranger to power tools but there is an incredible sense of connection to the wood when you use one of these tools that satisfies in a way that is hard to describe. Listening to the plane travel along the wood’s surface; feeling the heft of the plane as it gains momentum; watching the shavings as they exit; and finally feeling the planed surface of the wood when you’re done – it really makes you feel part of the woodworking experience. The BUS does all of these things and more.

Now if only I could get that LV Jointer for finish off the basic set :)

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

3 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4037 days

#1 posted 01-13-2008 06:56 PM

Go get the jointer, you won’t regret it. The LA Smoother is a real winner too! I’ve really fallen in love with the Veritas line, having the low angle block, low angle smoother, low angle jack, jointer, #4, bevel up smoother, edge trimmer, and medium shoulder plane. They are just great! If there is some extra motivation for you, Lee Valley is feeling the pressure of an increasingly expensive work force, and is considering moving manufacturing of these planes, overseas. I can’t imagine the quality will stay intact. Thanks for the writeup, but without pictures, it didn’t happen. Sorry. Come again!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View furnitologist's profile


198 posts in 4013 days

#2 posted 01-13-2008 08:11 PM

Betsy was the one revolving around those plane threads.

I was thinking the same thing….................I’m so bad with this numbers of planes and low this and bevel up that I just know what I have. I agree with Tom above…...I wish we had a picture. I listen to Matts Basment and when he talks about planes I always go to a site and get a picture.

I’m headed over to Lee Valley now. You know something Tom, I’ve always loved my quality tools and service from Canadian products. I knew where they were coming from. Bummer if what you mention occurs, but North American is committed to globalization. No matter what form the cost is.
I’m off topic here a bit, but in the past 5 to 10 years, the home based woodworker has access to some great tooling because of it though.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4064 days

#3 posted 01-13-2008 08:47 PM

Even though I finally got my Sargent 410 to rehab, and Tom Angle's fine wooden bodied smoother. I have to admit I want that new plane experience with the LV Bevel Up Smoother. Someday… (sadly the 50 dollar Christmas gift certificate didn’t quite make the nut).

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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