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Thread: Veritas LA Jack Plane Review, Pt 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Spring, Texas
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    578

    Veritas LA Jack Plane Review, Pt 1

    Jim Becker asked for it now! This is my first tool review on SMC, so I hope I do a good job for the readers. About 95% of what I know about hand planes has come in the last 7 months, and much of that from SMC. While I believe Iíve gotten some great information, Iím no expert. My entire collection of planes consists of a 3 Stanleys, a 9 1/2, a Handyman and a well abused #5, and now my Veritas.

    Fitting miters on hardwood molding takes care, and curved molding even more so. It has always driven me nuts to try to not trim too much, but shave just the right amount. When I first learned of shooting boards for hand planes, it really got my attention. I whipped one up and tried my grandpa's old Stanley Handyman on some end grain. Not a disaster, but not pleasant. It got worse when I checked the sides of the plane for square. My #5 was just as bad, and the block plane just wouldnít cut it for me. At that point, I started researching good planes for shooting boards. I pretty much decided on a low angle plane, but the old Stanley 62's were more expensive than a Lie Nielsen or Veritas, so I turned my focus to those. I had heard many good things about both, and the decision actually came down to LV offering 3 different angles on blades that would work in their Veritas plane. With a 25 degree blade and the 12 degree bed, it gives 37 degrees for end grain. The 38 degree blade gives a combined angle of 50 degrees (york pitch) for good smoothing, and the 50 degree blade gives a steep 62 degrees for tackling figured wood. Combine that with the adjustable mouth, and I figured this would be a very versatile tool, so I ordered the plane with all three blades in the A2 steel.

    There have been some nightmare stories about packaging and shipping from Creekers lately, so I thought that would be a good place to start. The plane was well packed, with a box inside a box with paper wadding surrounding the inner box. The plane came with a fake plastic blade installed, and the real blades all neatly packed in their own boxes. Inside these boxes the blades were in a plastic bag, with a tag suggesting the user save the bags for storage to help prevent rust (there is a claim that it is a corrosion resistant bag). Everything arrived in great shape.

    I also wanted to compare it to my #5, so I placed them side by side. As you can see, the Veritas is slightly longer and wider, but the part I difference I like best is the front is slightly longer. Just as LeeValley claims, it does make the plane register to the wood in a very pleasant way.
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    Last edited by Greg Crawford; 09-03-2007 at 10:22 PM. Reason: added pics

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Spring, Texas
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    Veritas LA Jack Plane Review, Pt 2

    I was about like a kid at Christmas opening the box, and had to inspect every inch of my new tool (think toy all you want, but Iím an adult, so itís a tool). When I took the toe off of the sole and looked inside, and looked at the blade bed, I thought I was in for a journey into LeeValley customer service, as the machining looked very rough. Regardless of appearances, though, it is all very smooth to the touch. The enclosed literature also speaks of how well they have machined the blades, with a tolerance of .0002Ē of flat and an average surface finish of 5 microinches (.000005Ē). In the pictures of the blade backs, you can see the top of the blade is not very shiny, so I polished the business end to 600 grit. On one of the blades, it had random scratches the entire length, which hopefully can be still seen in the picture toward the top of the blade. It took quite a bit of polishing to get most of those out, which was disappointing, but this was only on one blade. As to the flatness, yes, they were flat. At 3/16Ē thick, they were also very easy to lap just using my fingers instead of a magnetic micrometer base. The one item about the whole plane that still disturbs me is the large disc on the adjuster that is rusted. I may contact LV and ask about that.
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  3. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    Spring, Texas
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    Veritas LA Jack Plane Review, Pt 3

    The mouth adjustment has a stop screw, the brass screw right at the front of the mouth. This lets you open the mouth for cleaning and return to the previous setting, as well as helping to prevent the toe from contacting the blade when changing blades. It can also be used for fine adjustments to the mouth while keeping the blade protected. The front knob has a brass washer between the wood and the cast iron, which seems like a good idea to me. Tightening or loosening the knob is how the mouth is adjusted

    There are also two screws on the side of the plane body to keep the blade in place laterally. In theory, this sounds great. It does work, but they canít be tightened or the blade canít be adjusted laterally. The problem I see is that the screws have well machined threads as does the cast iron, so the screws move too freely, making them want to change by themselves. It seems that some locktite might be in order, but some form of nylon locking insert would improve this feature. One of my first thoughts was to make sure these screws were filed smooth, but as you can see, they already are! I was impressed with that detail.

    The adjuster does both depth and lateral adjustments, and is very sensitive. The lever cap has a lot to do with the ease of adjustments and how well they stay put, but the instructions are rather vague about tightening the lever cap knob. It says to go ďonly 1/4 turn after full engagement with the bladeĒ, and cautions that over tightening can damage the plane. Yet if itís too loose, the lateral adjustment seems to change on itís own. As for backlash itís very impressive. Itís only about 1/16 of a turn, which helps make those fine adjustments easier. I also like the dimples on the sides for using the plane on itís side for shooting.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Thanks, Greg! I hope you'll add your "use" comments after a period of time, too. I'm very seriously considering adding this tool to my shop in the recent future, too. And sorry I missed this thread when you originally posted it...slipped by me for some reason!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    SoCal
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    Great review. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. I look forward to hearing your thoughts after using the plane for awhile.
    I am familiar with modern idioms but they are outside the vocabulary of what I want to say.

    - George Dyson (composer)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Central Vermont
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    I don't have the veritas, but I don have the LN. I can say that this type of plane is incredibly versatile. I am sure you will enjoy it. I would contact LV about the rusted part and it sounds like something they wouldn't have a problem replacing.

    I own the LV medium shoulder and it is a very fine plane in all regards.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
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    I cut into one of my curly maple boards for a project. There were short splits on the two ends, so I cut the splits off. This is a 2 1/4" thick by 13" wide board and it is fully figured.

    I cut a 1" x 2" coupon from one of the split ends and smoothed it with my 604 Bedrock (Hock Iron and Clifton Breaker). The piece was smooth, but there was a bit of tear out on the face.
    I took my LV bu Jack plane with the 38 degree iron (honed to 40 degrees) to the wood. Taking very thin shavings, the tear out was eliminated. I'm blown away with it. This is the iron that I sharpened a bit of crown in it and radiused the corners. It leaves no tracks and does a great job of smoothing the curly maple board that I have. I'll tell you more later in the project.

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