De plane has arrived!


The time of day that a Fedex truck will arrive at your home is directly related (in a bad way) to how eager you are for the item on their truck. After looking out the front window some 7,280 times today (fruitlessly), at 4:30 my wife says, "Doorbell...". I didn't even hear it. I rush past her, and the dog, trying not to bowl them over completely, fling open the door, and there on the porch is the longest, narrowest box I've seen a LV shipment arrive in.
My dinner is on the table so what do I do? Why, of course I look for a knife to slit the package open (spaghetti can wait!) to see my latest toy. Back to the package, carefully slit the tape, pop the box open and grab the plane box. Another round of tape slitting, and finally, the moment of truth: long and shiny, there's the 22" low angle jointer. From behind me a voice says, "there's more stuff in the box". Doh! The free fence is still ensconced in wads of paper, safely sitting in it's own LV box. Trying not to look like a total dork, I decide that I can relax enough to eat my meal.
.002 seconds after finishing the spaghetti, and forgetting to drink my iced tea, I'm off to the shop to begin the maiden voyage with "de plane". I do the scary sharp thing to the supplied blade until it shines like chrome. The I turn my attention to the sole of the plane...hmmm...what's THIS? A LV plane that isn't PERFECT?? Can it be?? The movable mouth is a bit proud of the sole by about 2 thous. I start by removing it to see if there's grit or a burr on the top side of the mouth that might prevent it from seating properly. I wipe down the innards and the top of the mouth and reinstall. Same, same. Decisions, decisions, should I run the sole over sandpaper, or call and complain tomorrow to LV? I mull it over for a bit and then I make an executive decision--I'll make a few passes over 600 grit and see if the high area of the mouth yields. I go for it and then turn it over and feel for the high spot. Still there. I sand some more (ever, ever so carefully--keeping the plane FLAT on the paper. Check it again. better, but not perfect. OK, you know what they say about the third time. Yup, one more attempt and I'm happy with the results.
So the plane seems serviceable but I want to first try it out with the fence. I attach the fence and check it with my trusty Perfect Square. The fence is not perpendicular, but that's ok--there's an adjustment screw. Endless fiddling (if you BREATH on the screw, the fence moves quite a bit) finally gets it right. Eventually I take a peek at the instructions for the fence. It states that once you set the screw, you should be able to remove and reinstall the fence w/o having to adjust it. Guess what folks! If you believe that, I've got a bridge I'll gladly sell ya. Every frickin' time I install the fence, it's always a bit off of perpendicular. Turning the screw about 2 degrees makes a big difference, which is why I said earlier if you BREATH on that sucker, there goes the alignment. There's GOT to be a better way. I even looked at the end of the screw to see if it's flat. It is. sigh...
Time to put this thing to the acid test: flatten an edge of a board. Grab a piece of maple about 4'long and cinch it up in the vise. Start to plane...oops...the 2" fence hits the top of the vise jaws. Raise the board up 1/4 inch and try again. Aah. Shavings. A few passes to even it out. grab another piece of maple and repeat the process. Place the two boards together and see a bit of daylight in the middle. Not bad, but not perfect. think about the "spring" theory of jointing edges so the ends meet and there's a tiny gap in the middle. that's what I get with the plane, so maybe it's ok.
Being the picky bastard that I am, I joint the same boards on the 54a and look for daylight in between them. Pretty much identical results to what I get with the "de plane".
You guys get props if you are still with me... Now for my "rating". I'm giving the plane a B+ ( I deducted for the proud mouth and not so flat sole). Fit and finish is otherwise impeccable, as always with the Veritas line of planes. The fence I'll give a "C-" for being a total PITA to set up exactly perpendicular AND it could have been narrower so that narrow boards clamped in a vise could be edge planed with the fence in place. Robin, do you hear what I'm saying here? I don't feel that I need a full two inches of fence in order to register a plane perpendicular to a board. Others may argue, but I think it's too wide. Fortunately, the fence was included for free. If the sides of the plane are perpendicular to the sole, why not make a simple flat fence? It would automatically be perpendicular to the sole with no finicky adjustment screw.
I also got a high angle blade (38 degrees). Scary sharped that puppy and made some beautiful shavings with no tear out. The heft of the plane made for very smooth cuts--no slowing down over a tough spot.
After playing around with the new toy, I grabbed my 10" low angle smoother to see how it would feel after using a much heavier and longer plane. It was comical! It seemed like a toy. With the high angle blade on maple, it skipped a bit because of the short sole and less weight. What a vast difference between those two planes.
In conclusion, I'm glad I got the plane. The fence is another story. At least I didn't pay for it; it was included in a promotion good through the 14th of this month.
Dave
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I am disappointed to hear your description of the fence. I purchased the magnetic fence and returned it becuase it did not fit right. I thought their bolt-on fence ought to be a sure thing. I guess I was wrong.
Bob
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Bob wrote:

yeah, if I'd paid for this one, I'd have asked for a refund and given them some suggestions on how to make it properly. Reminds me of the early honing guide--near worthless.
Dave
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David wrote: Another round of tape slitting, and finally, the

seems I applied the wrong description to this plane. It is a "bevel up jointer"; not a "low angle", even though it comes set up for low angle.
dave
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David wrote:

Arguably both are correct.
On the website the jointer/jack/smoother are grouped under "bevel-up planes", but the jack is called a "low-angle" jack, even though it has exactly the same bed and cutting angles as the jointer plane.
The smoother is described as a "low-angle bevel-up" plane, even though it comes with a higher-angle blade than either the jointer or the jack.
Chris
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Hi Dave,
Good review on the plane. I was probably just as anxious as you! It's a little disheartening that the adjustable mouth wasn't flush with the sole. Good to know that the free fence doesn't work as advertised, I guess. Maybe that's why it's free? :-\
I'm probably going to get the LA jack as I think that would suit me better...hope the mouth is level with the sole.
Layne

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Layne wrote:

You are welcome, Layne.
Not to worry about the fence though; LV is working on a solution as of last Friday. I think we all know how dedicated they are to providing top notch tools. It IS kinda funny how that problem slipped through, but when it's all said and done, even THEY are human! :)
I rechecked the mouth of my other 2 Veritas planes that have adjustable mouths--they are absolutely, perfectly level with the soles. And I've got the new one level "enough"; not perfection, but level enough for practical purposes.
Dave
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It's good that they are working on it. Truth is though that I probably won't be needing a jointer fence except for really long boards. A shooting board is sooo much easier...
Okay, so maybe next month I'll be ordering the LA jack and I'll let you know how it is. :-)
Layne

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