|Review by BigDawg||posted 01-06-2013 12:55 PM||2796 views||0 times favorited||8 comments|
I am not surprised at how well refined this plane is. The sole is perfectly square to the sides and the blade is perfectly ground to just barely hang over the edge of the rabbet hole. The blade is extremely easy to flatten and sharpen and I had the plane up and running in about 15 minutes after I protected the metal surfaces with CRC 3-36 spray lubricant.
First of all, I have tried both the medium and large shoulder plane, but I ultimately bought the medium shoulder plane because it is 0.70” wide, making it extremely versatile for cleaning up dadoes, cleaning up machine cut joints and trimming tenons to fit.
One really great feature of this plane is that you can turn 4 screws on each side of the plane to center the blade (and keep it there after sharpening). After 2 minutes of adjusting, I got the blade perfectly centered and every time I have replaced the blade after sharpening, it is dead on.
Another nice feature of the plane is that you can adjust the nose of the plane to change the mouth opening. This is a great feature especially if you use the plane to take a heavier cut.
The medium shoulder plane comes with an A2 blade that holds a very keen edge. The blade only required about 5 minutes of flattening to remove the mill marks and another couple of minutes to hone the bevel. The only caveat to shoulder planes is that you must make sure that the bevel is perfectly square. Not a huge issue, but you just need to spend that extra minute or two making sure you have everything set perfectly in your honing jig.
The nice brass knob on the handle tilts for differing types of work.
Across the grain work
This plane does a surprisingly good job at planing down tenon cheeks. If you use machinery (especially a band saw) for making tenons, then this is the plane for you. I did a couple of quick and dirty tenons that turned out to no be squarely cut. I used the shoulder plane to make the top cheek parallel to the bottom one and in a few strokes I removed the high spot and then a couple of more strokes and I made it perfectly parallel. The best part is that the finish of the wood was smoother than I have even seen with a table saw tenoning jig. This is mainly doe to the low angle of the blade. I was very happy to see such a great finish left on those cheeks that I now feel comfortable relying on this plane to bring down the width of a tenon to fit its mortise.
Another nice part is that this plane rabbets and because the blade is so hard is keeps a nice edge on the corners of the blade even when removing material in these areas. This is great for removing those mistakes when making tenons
With the grain work
Even though the blade is set at a low angle, is does fairly well with the grain. I was able to make a shallow rabbet quickly and squarely. The only thing to remember it to keep that mouth tight so the plane doesn’t bite into the wood.
End grain work
Have you ever made tenons with some ugly cheeks? The medium shoulder plane can remove the mess quickly. I was pleasantly surprise at how well the plane took off end grain. This plane can also be set surprising aggressively and I accidentally took off too much off of a couple of test tenons.
My biggest problem with the plane lies in this type of work. Since a nose knob isn’t provided it is a bit tricky to grab the nose and keep the plane on track when trimming shoulders. The grip I came up with is to put my thumb in the rabbet hole and fingers on the nose of the plane. This works fairly well, but the only problem is trying to keep adequate pressure on the plane.
As noted above, this plane works well with the grain. As long as you do not need to clean up a stopped rabbet plane, the medium shoulder plane performs exceptionally.
For $179 delivered, the Veritas medium shoulder plane is not inexpensive. It is however, definitely a winner. I was very happy overall with the fit finish and performance of the plane. If you routinely do machine-cut joinery and have always cursed when you had to just barely trim one of these joints, then you will find great value in the medium shoulder plane. I found that this plane excelled at trimming all aspects of tenons, making it extremely quick to fit tenons to a mortise. This plane sure beats trying to keep from taking off your finger while trimming tenons with a razor sharp chisel. Not only is it easier than a chisel, but also since it is a plane you don’t screw up that flat surface that your machine established in the first place.
-- Shawn DuGay, Wallingford, CT http://www.bigdogwoodworks.com