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Works Well with Only One Negative

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Review by walden posted 09-28-2014 10:03 PM 8605 views 0 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Works Well with Only One Negative Works Well with Only One Negative Works Well with Only One Negative Click the pictures to enlarge them

I purchased Lee Valley’s new Veritas custom plane when it first became available. After messing around with it for a few days, here are my thoughts.

1) The plane is built well and looks a lot better than their old line of bench planes. It feels nice and heavy and is about the same weight as a Lie-Nielsen (LN) #5. I bought mine with the “medium” traditional tote in the back and the middle-sized knob in the front. This gives it the same feeling in the hand as old Stanley or a LN plane.

2) The frog is fixed and does not move like a traditional plane. Instead, you loosen the front knob and move the mouth of the plane. I found this to be much easier to adjust than a traditional plane. I could set the mouth open for an aggressive cut and then quickly bring it in to make a very fine cut. The mouth opens to almost 1/4 of an inch, which I think will make it a great plane for using with a cambered blade. (The reason I bought the plane.) It also has a set screw you can adjust to bring the mouth to the same spacing every time.

3) It also has screw holes on the side to take a fence. I don’t plan to use it that way, but it is a nice feature. If you already own the Veritas fenced rabbet plane, you already own the fence. You might want to purchase the longer rods though.

4) It works very well and will take very thin shavings. I started to forget about the plane and focus on the wood, which to me is a sign of a good plane.

5) The Norris style adjuster is easy to use, but is a bit more sensitive (both for depth of cut and lateral adjustment) than a traditional plane. This will take a little getting used to, but was not a negative for me.

6) The only thing I don’t like is the piece that attaches the chip breaker to the blade. It is attached with two tiny hex screws. It takes longer to get the blade and chip breaker apart for sharpening because of this. The screws are tiny, making them easy to lose in a workshop filled with dust and shavings. It’s also easy to lose the hex key tool as well. This piece is the only negative I see with this plane. It’s not horrible, but triples the amount of time it takes to take the blade apart (and put it back together) when you need to sharpen it.

Overall, it is an excellent plane. My hope is that LV will redesign the chip breaker attachment on the next version of the plane.

EDIT 10/23/2014: CL810 found this great video by Chris Schwarz that explains how to use the chip breaker adjuster: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/best-adjust-cap-iron-veritas-plane

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."




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walden

1552 posts in 2139 days



38 comments so far

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

8538 posts in 2099 days


#1 posted 09-28-2014 11:22 PM

Thanks for the review Walden. These plane are intriguing to me.

I can see in your pic that the chipbreaker screw is not traditional like this:

-
So your saying that the simple flathead screw was replaced by a couple tiny hex screws? What were they thinking with that?

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

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walden

1552 posts in 2139 days


#2 posted 09-28-2014 11:29 PM

Thanks Red. If you look close at the third pic, you’ll see there is an indention in what is their version of the chip breaker screw. That indention fits into the Norris adjuster (You can see the male end on the Norris adjuster in the same pic). My guess is that because of that indention, they couldn’t use the traditional screw method. With that said, they need to go back to the drawing board to figure out a better solution. The good thing about Lee Valley is that they listen to customer feedback. So I’m hopeful they will do something about it.

If I were LV, I would fill in the two hex screw holes, “resaw” the main piece in half with one half having female treads and the other having male threads. Then the top could have a groove cut into it to accept a flat head screw driver. This would eliminate the hex screw problem, making it much faster to remove (while letting the woodworker use a screw driver he/she already owns) with less parts to lose. It also wouldn’t interfere with the indention.

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

View jap's profile

jap

1251 posts in 2171 days


#3 posted 09-28-2014 11:35 PM

Good review, thanks.
I still don’t understand how the chipbreaker works, do you have a picture of the blade and breaker diassembled?

-- Joel

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walden

1552 posts in 2139 days


#4 posted 09-28-2014 11:45 PM

Hi Jap: Sorry about that. The site would only let me add three photos to the review.

Here is what it looks like from the front side. You can see the two hex crews.

Here I took out one hex screw to get the chip breaker free. You could stop here, but it would be hard to lap the blade with the other hex screw in the way. Or to use a sharpening jig for that matter.

In order to lap the blade, both screws must come out leaving all of these parts to lose. (I already lost the hex key and spent 10 minutes searching the shop before I found it for this shot.)

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

View CL810's profile

CL810

3831 posts in 3105 days


#5 posted 09-28-2014 11:47 PM

Good review Walden, thanks.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

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lysdexic

5256 posts in 2739 days


#6 posted 09-29-2014 12:56 AM

Well that is kinda different. I hope it doesn’t spoil your experience.

Is that really a a”traditional” tote? It doesn’t look much different than the usual Veritas tote.

Good review – thanks.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

3530 posts in 3301 days


#7 posted 09-29-2014 01:09 AM

Thanks for the great review, I’ve been waiting to hear about one of these from a non-commercial source. The chipbreaker setup is really unusual, I wish they had just gone for the traditional single-screw setup with a hole in the center for the adjuster.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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walden

1552 posts in 2139 days


#8 posted 09-29-2014 01:32 AM

lysdexic – The tote has much more of a lean to it than the normal Veritas tote. The normal tote they sell hurts my hand, but this one feels good and is similar in feel to an old Stanley. It doesn’t have the exact same angles as an old Stanley tote though.

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

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walden

1552 posts in 2139 days


#9 posted 09-29-2014 01:46 AM

bobasaurus – My guess is that Veritas will have to change it in order to get mass appeal for the new line of planes. It is the only way I see the planes becoming successful.

From what I understand, the #5 (and the #5 1/2) are the only jack planes on the market that allow you to open the mouth this far and change the mouth settings so easily. For an all hand tool shop like mine, that is a must as I can use this plane as a true fore plane just like woodworkers would have done before power tools. This plane replaces my old Stanley #5 and my Lie-Nielsen scrub plane.

If you have a power jointer and planer, the Lie-Nielsen line would work just as well without the weird chip breaker screw.

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

View descolada's profile

descolada

54 posts in 1914 days


#10 posted 09-29-2014 01:47 AM

My high-angle #7 showed up on Thurs and I have to second pretty much the entire review.

I’ve got a lot of Veritas planes (which I like very much) and the instant I opened the box and picked this one up it somehow felt like a big leap in quality. I had the same concern about the chip-breaker, but for me the ease of the adjustable nose is a fair trade (be nice to have both though).

I’ve just started flattening some big curly walnut slabs and have been very glad these custom planes came out when they did.

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walden

1552 posts in 2139 days


#11 posted 09-29-2014 01:49 AM

descolada – Great to hear. I agree, it’s not a deal breaker for me either, but it would be nice to have both. Enjoy.

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

8538 posts in 2099 days


#12 posted 09-29-2014 02:25 AM

My general impression with Lee Valley tools is that they are very high quality, but the tend to over engineer some aspects. The chip breaker is a good example.

If I can pester you once more Walden, many people are curious of the new veritas totes and knobs work on old stanley planes. Let us know if you ever try.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

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walden

1552 posts in 2139 days


#13 posted 09-29-2014 03:05 AM

Red – No worries. To answer your question, no. The screw on the Veritas tote stands up straighter than a Stanley. It’s not that the handles are that different in forward slant. It’s that the nut sits at and angle in the Veritas tote, where as the nut is at the same angle as the top of the tote in the Stanley.

Also, the Veritas has a second shorter rod that keeps the handle from twisting. The Stanley has a longer base with a screw to solve this problem. (I like the Veritas solution better.) The two handles look different side-by-side, but they feel the same in the hand to me. I grabbed a Lie-Nielsen bench plane and used it (which has a very similar handle to the Stanley), then immediately used the Veritas plane and didn’t notice a difference. There might be one, but it’s close in how it feels.

The front knob on the Veritas plane has a long screw, longer than the Stanley. Also, I couldn’t get it to thread into the Stanley plane. It looks to be slightly larger in diameter.

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2631 posts in 3000 days


#14 posted 09-29-2014 03:52 AM

Great review. I’ve been drooling over the shiny new Veritas planes; they certainly look a lot nicer than the old design…however the chipbreaker system seems ridiculous. Hope Veritas gets enough flack that it does a redesign…

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Brad's profile

Brad

1139 posts in 2857 days


#15 posted 09-29-2014 04:24 AM

It will be interesting to hear what the engineers at Lee Valley have to say about the cap screws. There has to be a reason behind it. One that they thought was sufficient to break with something craftsmen have been using for over a century. An innovation I like is the set screws on my original Veritas LA jack. It helps to keep my setup when I use it for shooting. Such innovations make me open to hearing about the cap screws. Though I don’t like the idea of the tiny screws, hex wrenches and such.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

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