|Review by japie||posted 07-15-2014 06:51 PM||4214 views||0 times favorited||22 comments|
I bought this at Home Depot, and out of the box, it just didn’t plane boards.
Now I’m not expecting Veritas quality for $35. But I’m not complaining here that the tool might have worked a little better, or been a little easier to use.
Let’s set the bar low. Let’s assume that I have a Douglas Fir 2×4 and I get splinters in my hands from handling it, but I want to build a ladder out of it and not get splinters in my hands every time I climb the ladder, so I want to plane the 2×4. Note that we have said nothing about exotic hardwoods or fine furniture.
So you put the 2×4 up on some saw horses and start to plane it. After about half a minute, you notice that suddenly the plane no longer takes any shavings. You try to clear out the mouth and notice you cannot, so you disassemble it and find that chips are getting caught under the chip breaker, plugging up the mouth and making the plane entirely useless. Clean it out, go back to planing, and after only a few strokes, exact same problem again. Regardless of how well you tighten the chip breaker or how thin of a cut you’re making.
Contrast this to the Buck Brothers block plane. Sure, it works a lot better if you sharpen the blade and fix up a bunch of other minor details, but out of the box, it works. You can chamfer the edges a beam with it, or take a few shavings of the top of a squeaky door — the sort of carpentry grade stuff the tool is intended for.
Yes, I eventually managed to get this to work. By spending several hours filing and lapping and grinding and polishing. Basically, I beveled the chip breaker so that without tension the front of it contacts the blade only at the very edge. Then, when you tighten it down, you push the bevel against the blade for a perfect fit. I also sharpened the blade, I ground and polished the back of the chip breaker it so chips can glide off easily, I removed the paint (!) from the inside of the plane’s mouth, and a whole bunch of other such things.
But if I need to spend hours to get this to work at all anyway, I’m much better off buying a vintage Stanley at a yard sale. The point of buying tools new is that you can start using them without having to remanufacture them from scratch.
(BTW, I’m including the HD stock photo because the form wants me to include at least one picture, but in reality the plane doesn’t look as nice as in the picture. It isn’t even quite the same design. It has a screw instead of the Bailey-type cam tensioner on the cap iron, and the side-to-side adjustment lever is this really dinky chrome-plated folded sheet metal.)