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Thread: Lee Valley new router plane box (how I store my router planes)

  1. #1
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    Lee Valley new router plane box (how I store my router planes)

    Remember when I asked how you store your router plane?

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....44#post2997444

    Rob Lee sent me a preview copy of their new Router Plane box to test and comment. I held my comments and review until they released it on their web site, Right now, it is on sale AND you get free shipping. So, first a few links to the box on their site, and then my review and photos:

    https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop...uter-plane-box
    https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/tools/routerplanebox
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8VR...ature=youtu.be

    So, on to my comments, made before they released this; so some things may have changed a bit:

    Note: This was done before I had done anything with the router planes, so they are new out of the box.

    I was trying to decide how to store my router planes, and I was going to build a fancy case to hold them. Rob Lee from Lee Valley noticed what I was doing and he sent me a box that they are working on. To my knowledge, this product has not been finalized and I do not know if it will be released to the public. In my opinion, if it matters, it most certainly should be.


    This is what I received in the mail today (March 25, 2020). Notice the instructions, which are a bit vague, but this is pretty self explanatory. (I have no idea if they have changed).

    router_box_lee_valley_01.jpg

    My work bench was fully occupied with a larger project (a blessing box that I built, it came out really well), so I laid the parts out on the closest flat surface. The wood looks to be Baltic Birch. My guess is that this was done using a CNC machine. There is a perfect indentation to hold the Lee Valley’s large router plane. You can see the box for my medium router plane and boxes full of blades; I purchased a set of imperial blades.
    router_box_lee_valley_02.jpg


    This is a close up of one of the sides.
    router_box_lee_valley_03.jpg


    You can see that there are two feet on the bottom so that it sits better even if the top is slightly uneven.


    The first thing that I did was to assemble it while standing on its end. You have a very good shot here of the bottom with an area routed for the large router plane.
    router_box_lee_valley_04.jpg




    For no particular reason, I flipped this over and took a picture from the other side.
    router_box_lee_valley_05.jpg




    What these pictures do not show well, is that there is a lip routed in that center piece. I have the routed portion facing down. This will happen automatically if line up the holes in the middle piece with the holes routed in the bottom.


    Notice that there are slots in the sides that come in. Screws thread into these from the sides. All but one of these the screws held tight. The one that did not hold tight was held “tight enough” so I am not concerned about this coming apart.




    Be certain to properly align all of the pieces before inserting screws into the sides. When you think that it is all correct, double check it. You might wish that you had an extra hand while doing this, but you really do not need it. Again, verify everything is aligned and then carefully screw this together. If you use a cordless screwdriver, do not use too much pressure, or the screw will simply spin. It will get tight, but you do not want to strip it.
    router_box_lee_valley_06.jpg




    This is a picture fully assembled without the lid in place. The instructions did NOT tell me what to put where, so I guessed. Notice that I have the sharp ends of the blades pointed towards the back so I am less likely to cut myself. From right to left, you see the (1) blade sharpening jig, (2) 1/16" blade, (3) 3/32" blade, (4) 1/8" [or 3mm] blade, (5) 3/16" blade, (6) 1/4" blade, (7) 1/2" two piece spear point blade, (8) 3/4" blade, and (9) the router fence. The 1/2" straight blade is in the router.


    router_box_lee_valley_07.jpg


    My first thought was that they should have cut more holes to hold blades and then I realized that there was a place to hold the fence; nice! With the fence, there is no place to hold more blades.


    My second thought was, what are those two tiny holes between the blades and the fence, and where should I store the hex key (Allen wrench)? I have three of them because I have three blades that are “two part” blades, which means that they can come apart and the blade can be attached to the sharpening jig.


    I drilled the two small holes with a 7/64" bit and then I drilled a third. I placed the Allen wrenches in those holes.


    I then noticed that there was sufficient space in the corners to place both the small and the medium router planes. I do not own the small plane; someday, but not yet. I chose the medium plane because it can use the same bits as the larger router plane and I think that it will handle most of what will cause a problem for the large plane.
    I did not want the medium plane to move around, and I did not want to try to route a shallow hole in the shape of the plane, so I took some fancy 1/2" wood and cut it down a bit. I used brass screws and the medium router plane is solidly in place; yes, I did clock the screws. I considered using a clear acrylic, because I have it. I also considered some curly maple, but I preferred the look of the contrasting wood.


    router_box_lee_valley_08.jpg




    This is a completed picture with the sliding lid in place. The lid is very clear, so at first glance it is not obvious that the lid is in place. It is difficult to see, but, the lid says “Veritas”. The You can see that the “s” overlays one of the brass screws.


    (I will add the picture in the next post).


    Significant thought went into this box. The divot in the front that lines up with the hole cut in the top is just one example. There is ample space for a full set of blades, Imperial or Metric, but you are out of luck if you have a full set of both.


    I doubt if it was intentional, but if it was, kudos to the person who chose to make space for both the small and the medium router plane in the same box. If it was intentional, I think that it was the right decision to not route a place for the two planes because I think that the top layer of the plywood would not stay structurally sound and it would have simply broken (because there would be narrow sections with little strength). The routed section for the large plane, however, is a great idea since it keeps the plane in place very well.


    It was pretty obvious to me that the blades should be placed in the holes near the back, but it was not as obvious to me that there was a place for the fence. Part of me would have appreciated a drawing or picture showing this, but obviously I figured it out with the drawing. Similarly, if it was purposely designed so that there is room for the small and medium planes, A picture showing this might also be a good idea.


    I am especially pleased with this box since it holds all of my router related things. If (when) I build a wooden fence that attaches to the metal fence, it will likely not fit in this box assembled. Disassembled, however, I think that the wooden portion of the fence that I would create, is likely to fit behind the large router. Because I do not have a small router, it should fit to the left as well.


    Given what I expect this box to cost, I would have spent about the same amount of money just to buy the materials as what I expect this box to sell for. It took me under an hour to assemble everything, and that includes the time to find the fancy board that I cut up to make the stops to hold the medium router plane, and to move parts that were waiting for the finish to cure. I think that this box will be a big hit, especially if you are able to showcase the flexibility to hold the small and medium router planes.


    My only regret is that now I need to figure out what to do with my router blade tool roll. I am pretty sure, however, that I can find a home for it as a gift.


    To preserve symmetry, I will probably be compelled to eventually purchase the small router plane. I will cut and save some pieces from the same board to hold the small router plane in place when I get around to it.

  2. #2
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    I wanted to add one more photo, so, here is what it looked like when I finished the box:

    router_box_lee_valley_09.jpg

    I now know that the tool roll will fit in the box. I still have not put it there, but I probably will do that later today.

    I did NOT use glue when I assembled the box, but, if I were to do it again, I would. If it gets wobbly, I will glue it. It feels pretty solid without the glue.

    My original intent was to build a fancy box out of fancy wood, but I have a long list of projects that I want to finish and this box works very well so I have no intention of replacing it. I like that I can see inside the box and I like the size. This is a nice size for me, very compact and it holds all of my stuff easily accessible. If I purchase the metric blades, I can toss them into the tools roll, which will fit in the box.

    For me, this box works great, hightly recommended.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the review. That's a very reasonable price. I'll have to see if I have place to store a box like that.

    I looked at the YouTube video - that's really a super clean shop. Wish mine was that clean and organized

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
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    Very nice and at a reasonable price.

    Will the Veritas router blades fit a Millers Falls no. 77 or 67?

    Raf

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Thanks for the review. That's a very reasonable price. I'll have to see if I have place to store a box like that.

    I looked at the YouTube video - that's really a super clean shop. Wish mine was that clean and organized

    Mike
    For the record, the video was done by Lee Valley and is not my shop

    All I did was take pictures when I assembled it. If I had done it, you have seen a very large blue "blessing box" sitting on my work bench.

  6. Does anyone else feel weird about buying a plywood box for their woodworking hand tools?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    Very nice and at a reasonable price.

    Will the Veritas router blades fit a Millers Falls no. 77 or 67?

    Raf
    No idea, but...... It looks like the Millers Falls has square shanks. The Lee Valley router planes have a 9.525mm (3/8") square shank with shammfered corners. The top has the same shape and size. There is a channel the goes all the around near the top, looks like the Millers Falls has just the back cut out. The channel is 3.85mm (0.151") tall and it has a circular diameter of 4.65mm (0.182"). I did not measure the depth, but the depth should be:

    (9.525 - 4.65) / 2 = 2.4375mm = 0.1"

    The height from the bottom of the blade to the channel is about 3"

    So, I would start by measuring one (if you have one).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Martin Winnipeg View Post
    Does anyone else feel weird about buying a plywood box for their woodworking hand tools?
    Of course they do. Consider the following cabinets where I have tools and other supplies:

    cases_IMG_20200507_151806.jpg

    The cabinet on the top left is entirely made of Oak with hand cut dovetails. It is expensive and took a lot of time to cut the dovetails by hand and form the sides. The cabinets in the middle I used left-over furniture grade plywood that I joined using pocket hole screws. I did hand cut all of the drawers. I caught flack for using plywood rather than buying "real wood", but I did glue on facing strips to improve the appearance. Well, now we get to the real travesty, which is just off to the right and not entirely visible. This was a cabinet that came with the Original Kitchen that the original owners removed and left in the basement. Someday I might replace that with something that I built (similar to the two that I built to the right of that cabinet).

    I have multiple containers with chisels some I made with nice wood like cherry, and some I threw together and keep thinking that I will replace now that my skills are better. One set of chisels is still in the plywood box containing the chisels when I purchased them. The box is plywood, and it functions well, so, I just keep using it.

    I own numerous sharpening stones that are in very cheaply thrown together boxes, one of which I had to fix because it fell apart. I was thinking about creating nice boxes for each out of Walnut, but the existing cheap boxes work and they are laser engraved with manufacturer and exactly what they are so I just left them be.

    I was able to assemble the "plywood box" very quickly and all the fiddly bits were already pre-cut and ready to go.Functionally speaking, I think it would be difficult for me to significantly improve it functionally. If you do not already have someplace to store your tools then this box might really work well for you, and the price point seems pretty good. I have a long list of projects that I want to do (such as building some nice fountain pen blotters, and to finish the trim and base boards for my Kitchen that I foolishly decided to make myself rather than just buying and installing.... some might argue that choosing to redo my kitchen rather than paying someone to do it was foolish).

    So, yes, some people think it is silly to purchase a plywood box to hold your tools, but, this particular plywood box was purposely designed to efficiently hold three router planes in an easily accessible way, so it is at least a bit more than just a plywood box. I have a mixture of quality for such things, but, I am more likely to use the expensive materials and lots of time on pieces used in more visible locations than my shop..... not that I do not sometimes go crazy and use a $100 board for the top of a cabinet in the basement that stores my wife's laundry stuff. It was an expensive cabinet and it looks really nice and my wife was convinced that I had lost my mind.

    You should post the box that you use, always love to see the pretty boxes that others have made to store their tools.

  9. #9
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    I have a Veritas post and cutter in my Millers Falls No. 77 router plane.The fit seems fine to me.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the review Andrew. Any idea how heavy the box is without the plane or accessories?
    "If you have all your fingers, you can convert to Metric"

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    You should post the box that you use, always love to see the pretty boxes that others have made to store their tools.
    I keep my router plane on a little shelf in my workshop. I did make the shelf myself, though .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Martin Winnipeg View Post
    I keep my router plane on a little shelf in my workshop. I did make the shelf myself, though .
    Most of my planes are in a drawer in a cabinet that I made. My router planes are on a metal shelf that was here when I moved in. Derek Cohen has, if I remember correctly, something similar to an open box shelf carrier that he stores in a nice cabinet. I wanted a box to help keep the dust away.

  13. #13
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    Has anyone else received the promotional flyer for the new LV router plane box? Mine came in the mail today.

    I really love that LV has not only made this great offer but they're doing a great job making sure those that own their router plane know about it!

    And just for the record: they now offer a 3/4" blade, at a special price; as well as the medium router also at a special price.

    Thank you Rob and your fantastic marketing department. You can expect to hear from me shortly!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Bartley View Post
    Has anyone else received the promotional flyer for the new LV router plane box? Mine came in the mail today.
    I received one in the mail as well. I did not realize that you could hang the blade roll. I already own the 3/4" blade. I own the large and the medium. I toyed with the idea of getting the small router plane, but given that I have the large and the medium, I thought that the miniature might be a better choice for me.

    What I am noticing is that the inlay cutter head is on sale. So I have this conversation in my head:

    Bad Andy: you have to have that

    Good Andy: you have never done inlay

    Bad Andy: Yeah, but then you can try inlay

    Good Andy: And I would ONLY order the inlay blade head.

    Good Andy: Yeah, even I don't believe that.

    <sigh>

  15. #15
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    I got the flyer today too. The similar tool roll for files for sharpening saw blades I have from LV will probably last longer than I do.

    I am sorely tempted to get both the box and the blade holder roll, but the figured beech I have to make drawer fronts is one eighth scant of the box height 5.00 v 5.125 inches.

    It sure does look like I could take an eight off the top of the box to make it fit my false front, and I am confident the regular price after the introductory sale will be quite a bit higher. Dang it.

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