Popular Woodworking 2001-08 № 123, страница 11

Popular Woodworking 2001-08 № 123, страница 11
Tool Test

Lee Valley Adds to Veritas Plane Line with #4/2 Smoothing Plane

Veritas of Canada has entered the bench plane market with a #412 smoothing plane that the company says is the first new hand plane design in ages.

Well, maybe. The Veritas #41/2 smoothing plane will look radical to woodworkers on this side of the Atlantic, especially the fact that the rear handle isn't attached to the base of the plane. Instead, it's attached to the frog, which supports the blade. British woodworkers will recognize this feature from the Narex 3 and the Marples X04 planes.

But what seems truly different about the Veritas #41/2 is the fact that the frog extends to the sole of the plane and rides the wood you are smoothing. This, according to Ver-itas, reduces blade chatter. Other differences include two adjustable setscrews on either side of the blade that help prevent it from shifting during use. And you can easily close up the mouth of this plane when you want to take fine shavings or work in difficult woods.

That is an improvement over what most woodworkers are used to. When you want to close up the mouth of a Stanley plane, it's a complex dance of releasing screws, adjusting screws and changing the depth of your cut. On the Veritas #41/2, you usually have to loosen one knob and turn another.

And while adjusting the mouth is simple, setting up this plane is not for the novice. I've set up two of these planes, and here's what I found. The soles of both were reasonably flat out of the box. The blades came ground and honed, though both needed to be flattened, reground and honed.

Plus I rounded the corners of the iron to keep them from digging into the wood.

Once the iron is sharpened, tuning the plane to cut a nice shaving was a balancing act. First make certain your chipbreaker is tight against the blade. Sharpen the chipbreaker to make sure, or you'll regret it later. When I closed up the throat nice and tight (like I do on my old Type 11 Stanley #4^2) the Veritas' throat became clogged with shavings after a couple passes. After backing out the frog a bit, I got good results. I also was flummoxed by the setscrews on the side of the plane. Maybe I'm just a lummox with a screwdriver, but when I eased the screws up to the side of the blade I knocked it out of square several times before getting it right. The final delicate dance occurred while setting the frog. In addition to the one knob you must loosen to move the frog, there's also a "frog locking screw" located beneath the blade. If this is too tight, you can't move the frog. If it's too loose, the handle and frog will shift as you plane. So you have to find the sweet spot.

So how does she cut? Once fettled, it's a good plane. Though the design has yet to be proven, the price is less than you'd pay for a Lie-Nielsen #41/2 or a vintage Stanley Bed Rock #41/2. So it's worth a look.

— Christopher Schwarz

At the mouth of the plane you can see how the frog extends all the way to the sole.The design is supposed to reduce blade chatter.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Veritas #4 smoothing plane

Street price: $159 Body size: 27/s" x almost 10" Body material: ductile iron Blade size: !/s" thick;23/8" wide Blade adjustment: Bailey-style,controls both cut and lateral adjustment Blade angle: 30° bevel; 35° microbevel Weight: 5 lbs.

Performance: •••©O Value: ••••©

Lee Valley Tools 800-871 -8158, or www.leevalley.com

For more information, circle #144 on the Resource Directory Coupon.

HOW WE RATE TOOLS

At PopularWoodworking we test new tools and products with an honest, real-world workout.We check for ease of assembly and determine how clear and complete the manuals are. Then we use the tool in our shop to build projects that appear in the magazine. Each issue, the magazine's editorial staff shares its results and experiences with the tools, rating each for performance and value.

We use a one-to-five scale,with "five" in performance indicating that we consider it to be the leader in its category. For value,"five" means the tool is a great deal for the money,

while "one" means we consider it pricey. However,a tool with a low value rating may be worth the high price.

If our tool reviews don't answer all your questions,e-mail me at DavidT@FWPubs.com or call me at 5l3-53l-2690,ext. 255. If we haven't reviewed the tool you're considering, there's a good chance I've used the tool, but simply haven't had a chance to write a review. Give me a call and see if I can help.You can also visit our website www.popwood.com to check out our past published tool reviews and sign up for our free e-mail newsletter (focusing on tools) that's sent out every other week.—DavidThiel, senior editor

16 Popular Woodworking August 2001

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