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Veritas Small Plow vs. New Combination Plane

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Forum topic by Grasshopper000 posted 08-24-2017 09:56 PM 1278 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Grasshopper000

97 posts in 1253 days


08-24-2017 09:56 PM

I saw several other threads, but wanted to see if anyone had any updated info or thoughts on whether the combination is worth getting if I already have the small plow? I emailed LV to ask about blade compatibility and here’s the reply:

“Almost all of our blades from our Small Plow Plane will work with the new Combination Plane. The following types of blade from the Small Plow Plane will work:

Standard Blades
Wide Blades
Rabbet Blade
Tongue-Cutting Blades
Beading Blades
Reeding Blades
Fluting Blades”

Isn’t that all the available blades? Seems like these all work with both, but I might be misreading. Thoughts on this? Outside of my just wanting both, not sure if the small essentially does what the combination plane does already. Also on the site, the buttons for ordering the combination aren’t available. I guess this means they aren’t taking orders yet?


18 replies so far

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Grasshopper000

97 posts in 1253 days


#1 posted 08-24-2017 10:36 PM

I did call LV, and they told me, contrary to the email that the reeding blades will not work on the small plow…

View galooticus's profile

galooticus

48 posts in 685 days


#2 posted 08-26-2017 01:41 PM

I’ve yet to own either, but I’ve got the combo plane on the way. For blades, try the updated Lee valley site, it shows which blades are compatible with which plane.

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=75622&cat=1,230,41182

There’s more features on the combo plane, too. Big ones for me were left or right handed use and spurs for working cross grain.

The combo plane is quite a bit more expensive, though. You ll have to look through all the features and blades and weigh that against your budget and use cases.

Reviews for the combo plane should start popping up in the next week ortwo, and I’m sure there will be comparisons to the small plow and older Stanleys.

-- Andy in CA

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Derek Cohen

348 posts in 3752 days


#3 posted 08-28-2017 06:09 AM

The Combo is essentially a scaled up version of the Small Plow. It has a second skate to provide support for wider blades, as well as nickers to enable planing across the grain (such as with dados). It has a superior depth stop (actually two – one for each skate). There is a fine adjuster in the fence. In short, it has a fuller range of adjustments than the Small Plow. The Combo Plane also has a larger handle (to match the larger body), and it feels powerful in the hand. By contrast, the Small Plow is a lighter, more nimble plane that may be kept simple for the basic task of grooving or rebating. It has the facility to offer some of the tasks of its larger sibling, but when you begin to do this from scratch, it becomes a better deal to go for the Combo. Keeping it simple, or adding a few features, go for the Small Plow.

To illustrate the relative sizes of the two planes … both planes are in grooving mode (the Combo has the second skate removed) ...

If I was starting from scratch, funds permitting, I would get the Combo over the Small Plow because it has nickers. One can get away without nickers (use a knife to score lines), but it is easier to plane a dado with nickers. If planning ahead, why start out with a limitation.

The size of the Combo is why I reach for it before the Small. It fits my hand better and has more “authority” when planing hard woods. I must qualify this statement and reassure those who own the Small that they are not using a lesser plane. I would be happy as Larry (Australian slang for very happy) with the Small – and have been for many years. I’ve said before, the Small is a nimble rapier, while the Combo (set up similarly) is only a little less so. Ideally, one must try the ergonomics of both first. And just so that no one misses what I am saying, I am referring to using the planes only in basic mode, not as a combination plane.

The Combo has features that the Small does not have. The depth stops on the Combo have fine adjustment screws. The Combo has a fine adjuster on the fence. The Combo has nickers for cross grain planing. Of course, the Combo has a second skate for wide blades, and it comes with the nicker and a second depth stop. The Small needs to swap out parts when converting to Tongue-and-Groove mode. The Combo does not need to do this. All-in-all, the Combo is a better combination plane than the Small – which is why it came into being.

If all you plan to do is plough a groove or add the occasional bead, then get the Small. That’s the way I prefer my planes – dedicated to a specific task. Less fuss to set up and go. The Combo, however, is still a simple plane – just remove the second skate. This means that it sets up quickly for basic tasks, such as ploughing a groove, but also sets up quickly for the tasks that the Small needs more time to do, such as T&G.

I have a full range of blades, some I purchased, such as the beading blades when I had my Small converted, but I have all the others courtesy of Lee Valley (for testing the plane at a preproduction stage). There are many I do not see myself using in the future at this point in time, such as the multi beaders. And this reminds me to write that one should only purchase what one needs. Rather add blades as you go along. That makes more sense to me and keeps costs down. If cost is an issue, then either wait awhile to know you want to make the expenditure, or purchase a Stanley #45. The #45 is a perfectly good plane. It will likely require some tuning, as mine did, but will do the same tasks that the Combo will do, allbeit with less pizazz.

I had not planned at this stage a review (of sorts), I will stop. Feel free to ask questions.

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

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Grasshopper000

97 posts in 1253 days


#4 posted 08-28-2017 09:04 AM

Andy and Derek, thanks a lot for your replies. At this time I already own the small plow and was thinking of trying to sell and put the funds toward the Combo, but I think I may hang onto it for a while. I do like the idea of leaving the small set up for certain tasks and having the Combo for other uses. At this point the Combo isn’t available on the web site in the US, so I’ll keep my eyes open, I hear it will be soon. Thanks folks, very helpful.

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Gilley23

317 posts in 166 days


#5 posted 08-28-2017 10:17 AM

I had no idea that some new planes cost that much money. They are impressively beautiful, though!

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JohnChung

395 posts in 1858 days


#6 posted 08-29-2017 03:40 AM

@Derek

I have upgraded the small plow plane with the body modification. I have been thinking long and hard on this new plane. Do consider placing a review on this new plane. I am very interested on this.

As to the heft and adjustability of the plane I have no doubt at all. As you mentioned, more authority on hard woods.

@Grasshopper000

I would keep both planes. You would want both planes when using T&G.

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Derek Cohen

348 posts in 3752 days


#7 posted 08-29-2017 04:55 AM

Hi John

I will place a review on my website at some time. Here is a bit more at this time …

I have been using the new Combo for nearly a year now. As many here are aware, I have test driven a number of Lee Valley/Veritas tools pre-production for over a decade.

My personal philosophy in regard to planes is that I prefer planes dedicated to a specific task, however there is much to be said for a plough that can do grooves for drawers, cross grain housings (dados), and also beads. These are simple cuts, however they demand specific and different requirements.

The groove is the simplest to make. Grab a Record #044, Record/Rapier #043, Stanley #50, or Veritas Small Plow. All but the last one are available on the second hand market, and all will do the job. The Small Plow is the nicest to use in my opinion (I have owned all those mentioned), but new planes are expensive, and so it is likely to be a luxury item for many.

None of these planes are suited to plane cross grain as they do not have a nicker to prevent spelching. So enter combo planes such as the Stanley #45, and now the Veritas Combo (when it was first on the drawing board, three years ago, it was going to be called the Large Plow).

Ignoring all the combination stuff on the Combo plane for the moment, it has the ability to plane with- and across the grain. It has nickers on the twin skates (as per the #45), and it has wonderful depth stops with fine adjusters on each as well. I like its ergonomics – the handle is a good size and the whole plane is well balanced.

The #45 and the Combo both do beads. Now I am fan of scratch stocks – beading planes tend to tear out horribly in the West Australian interlocked timbers. I posted a while back my experience in using back bevels on the beading cutters (when these blades were introduced for the Small Plow), and this method does make these planes viable users. Still, a simple scratch stock is hard to beat in terms of cost and ease of use.

The argument is that a #45 can do everything that the Combo can do, and there are many available far more cheaply than a new Combo. Absolutely true. Still there is a market for both – some will prefer the lower cost or the vintage aura of the #45, while some want new and ready-to-use, and are willing to pay for this.

Bottom line: the Veritas Combo is a very nice plane – taut and balanced in the hand, and everything works just as one would expect for the price of admission.

Some pics:

Combo vs Small Plow …

Ploughing flutes into the grain …

Grooving …

Cross grain …

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

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JohnChung

395 posts in 1858 days


#8 posted 08-29-2017 05:55 AM

Thanks for the detailed picture. The last 2 pictures open a new venue for the plow plane. Just need to use the skate combination for it. I have the small plow plane with the add-on skate. Should be able to use the same way as the combination plane.

John

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

348 posts in 3752 days


#9 posted 08-29-2017 06:02 AM

Hi John

Planing a dado requires a nicker on each skate. The Small Plow does not have the facility for a nicker. Only the Combo does. You would need to knife in lines beforehand.

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

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Grasshopper000

97 posts in 1253 days


#10 posted 08-29-2017 09:18 AM

Appreciate the extra information, Derek. In the US, still waiting for Lee Valley to allow orders to be placed on the combo plane.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

895 posts in 366 days


#11 posted 08-29-2017 09:30 AM

I just received mine yesterday that I pre-ordered at Handworks back in May. With the backorders cleared, I suspect they’ll be opening up the regular orders any day now.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

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ColonelTravis

1596 posts in 1678 days


#12 posted 09-10-2017 06:43 PM

Missed this initially, great info.

Double nickers for a wide dado – man, I wish I knew this before getting the small plow, but that was a while ago.

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Grasshopper000

97 posts in 1253 days


#13 posted 09-10-2017 06:45 PM

Yeah me too, but no worries, I can have one set up one way and the other another way, or at least that’s how I rationalize keeping the small plow. FWIW, I called LV and asked if they had plans to make a skew combo ala the Stanley 46, and they said not at this time…

View Mosquito's profile (online now)

Mosquito

8969 posts in 2076 days


#14 posted 09-14-2017 07:19 PM

A Skew plow/combo plane I would definitely be on board with… The fact that they (Stanley) never made a #46 with depth adjustment annoys me.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

14730 posts in 2402 days


#15 posted 09-14-2017 07:54 PM



A Skew plow/combo plane I would definitely be on board with… The fact that they (Stanley) never made a #46 with depth adjustment annoys me.

- Mosquito

Depth adjustment vs. depth stop? There is a depth stop on the #46, and it can be placed on either side of the main skate. You saying the threaded (fine) adjuster found on the #45 is what you’re looking for on the #46?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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