|Review by Gofor||posted 11-22-2010 05:25 AM||8450 views||4 times favorited||11 comments|
Purchasing: Done online, no problems, and delivered well packaged on the date promised.
Quality: Very impressed. All parts are closely machined and close tolerance. Sole flat, sides square, and irons sharp, but I did hone them with 2000 grit wet/dry paper (scary sharp method) and green buffing compound.
Comparability: Comes in a little larger than a Bailey #5 (more like 5 1/2), in width, length and weight. Iron width is 2 1/4” vs #5 Bailey at 2” and #6 at 2 3/8”. Handle is more up-right and a bit deeper. Mouth is about the same from the back of sole, but further back from the toe. Casting is heavier. Other than that, it is two different technologies as far as iron advancement, mouth adjustment, lateral control. Iron angle of attack is controlled by the bevel, so is easily modified to the woods characteristics.
Versatility: With the three different irons, [Bevels of 25 (comes standard with plane), 38 and 50 degrees) it attacks the wood at 37, 50, and 62 degrees respectively. The angle of attack can be modified by changing the bevel. I tried all three on face grain (gnarly knotted white oak and black walnut), edge grain (white oak, walnut, purple heart, and cocobola) and end grain with shooting board (white oak, pine, walnut and cocobola).
The bevels definitely make a difference.
The 25 bevel is easy to use, but readily results in tear out on face smoothing when running into opposing grain. Bad tear-out on the knotty white oak face, but not as bad as the Baileys on the edge grain. Slid through the black walnut and purple heart edges like butter. Did superbly on all end grain except the cocobola (ended up having to re-sharpen the blade as it put minor nicks in the iron. In all fairness, Lee-Valley’s instructions suggested that a 30 degree micro-bevel is better suited for some woods). Some shooting board end grain cuts of white oak, walnut and pine are pictured.
The 38 bevel (basically York pitch as used) did well in all except the white oak face, where again I had tear-out. Seemed to be easier to push than the 45 pitch Bailey, but that may have been due to the added mass. This will probably be my most used all-around iron.
The 50 bevel was a complete surprise, and a pleasant one at that. More umph needed on the knotty white oak face smoothing, but it had minimal tear-out that I cannot say was the plane’s fault. I need to get more experienced at the proper mouth setting as well as depth for the difficult woods. On the edge and the end grain, it performed flawlessly, and was the best to use on the cocobola (left no tear-out on the intermittent grain). Pushed as easily as the Baileys and actually cuts curls on smooth grain (I expected chips).
Ease of adjustment: This is the easiest plane to adjust that I own. The mouth adjustment is made by loosening the front knob, but also has an adjustable stop so that you can prevent hitting the iron edge and micro-adjust the gap. SWEET!. Lateral adjustment is made by swinging the depth adjustment knob, but can be controlled by set screws in the sides to keep an iron square to the sole if not ground perfectly.
Summary: Very well crafted tool that worked great right out-of-the-box. It is different than the Stanley/Bailey in the tote, but I did not find that a problem. In fact, I think it made me more conscious of pushing straight rather than downward, which I found benefited me when I used the Stanley’s. It is more versatile with pitch modification and easier in mouth adjustment.
Caveats: I am not a Galoot. I do have and use hand planes, but this plane now gives me a target of performance to shoot for when re-tuning my others. I tried not to let the fact that this is my newest and most expensive (by far for this ol’ miser) hand tool affect my judgment, but cannot say that those factors may not have influenced my evaluation. It does out-perform the other 8 hand planes I own. IMHO it is well worth the price to me.