Smoothing figured wood - LA smoother vs Scraping plane


Hi folks,
I do a lot of smaller projects using highly figured maple and other woods ... especially birdseye, fiddleback, and quilted maples.
Final smoothing is always a bear on these woods. I had been using a Stanley 80 scraper, then figured out how to tune my Stanley #3 with Hock blade to do nearly as well.
Figuring I'd do well with a scraper plane, I got one of the Veritas scraping planes. It does do pretty well, better than the others, but it's got a blade on the wide side and takes a fair amount of effort.
So now I see LV has this new bevel-up smoother. Sure does look nice. I'm thinking it might be my next step in the quest for the perfect figured wood smoother.
So my question for the group is: has anyone here compared a scraping plane versus the new LV bevel-up smoother for figured woods? Especially with the 50 degree blade? What did you think?
Thanks in advance, Nate
p.s. ^&^%$ Lee Valley always coming out with all these nice tools. Sure is hard on the budget ;-P
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Both the LV LA Smoother (older style) with the HA blade, and the Knight Coffin smoother, 50 degree, do a better job on material such as you describe than the LN 85 scraper plane.
The 85 looks seriously cool sitting in the tool shrine, however.
But so does the little cocobolo Knight smoother with the brass adjuster Steve showed earlier this week. So he's building me one.
Is there a 12 step program for this stuff?
Patriarch
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I don't have a problem. I don't need to quit.
Regards,
JT (who's waiting on a new fix from LV. -- cabinet scraper stuff's somewhere in the mail ...)
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Right, I'm using the Veritas scraping plane. It is a nice piece of work, typical of Lee Valley. But it is so far giving me an inferior finish on figured or even straight grained wood. I think there's something subtle with my hook angle. The shavings come off paper thin, but the wood seems slightly burred as if it's slightly pulling the fibers ... even on a clear piece of flatsawn poplar. By comparison, my #3 with razor sharp Hock edge leaves a glassy smooth surface. It takes a lot of force to work, and if the blade isn't set really light it chatters a bit. The plane is obviously of immaculate quality and I think these problems stem more from the user than the equipment. Need more experimentation with the sharpening.
So this is why I've got my eye on the low angle smoother.
Question for you, Patriarch ... aside from the difference in the bevel angle on the blade, what's the difference between the Lee Valley low angle smoother and the Lee Valley bevel up smoother?

The few wooden planes I've used that require hammer setting for the blade depth have been tricky. I looked on Steve's website and didn't see a model with the brass adjuster ...

If there is I don't want it :-)
p.s. Thanks for the advice to all who replied.
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<snip>

I sometimes use the terms interchangeably. That may be an error. LV is bringing out another low angle, bevel up plane, which will use the same blade as the Low Angle Jack. Supposed to be heavier, too. There is a lot of archived detail and some beta tester comment at the Handtool forum at Woodcentral.com. (THOSE guys are the hand tool gurus. I am but a rank beginner in their specialties.) I think the new one is called a 'heavy smooth'. Roughly based on the Stanley 164?
Should be shipping soon, I think.

There was a recent thread "FS new tools". Steve had links to his new offerings. He showed the prototype the first week of April. Sweet little handplane, and easier for some folks to use.
Patriarch, spreader of rumours and partly remembered tales...
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Yep, it's up on the Lee Valley website. They have pics of both their low angle smoother and the bevel up smoother, and they appear to be pretty much the same except for the difference in the bevel angle (i.e., both are bevel up and both have the same bed angle).
I have not seen the Woodcentral.com forums. Thanks for the tips. I will read over there.

Thanks, Patriarch. I'll find it via a Google search of the archive.
Cheers, Nate
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<snip>

The new one has a wider blade, I believe. LV intends to keep both in production, IIRC. I have not yet risen to that bait, but it may only be a matter of time.
Patriarch
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Patriarch wrote:

Hi Patriarch,
The Woodcentral archives were very helpful. Thanks for the pointer!
I'll summarize here for anyone else who might be interested ..
As you mention, the big difference seems to be in the blade width. The other thing is that the new bevel up smoother is more specialized for smoothing (lower center of gravity and shorter sides, I believe).
Apparently the low angle smoother is available with a blade that gives a max cutting angle of 50 degrees (unless you bevel your own), vs a max cutting angle of 62 deg on the blades for the bevel up smoother. The sides of the low angle smoother are also apparently better if you want to try to adapt the plane for any shooting (I know, not the best choice for a shooting plane).
Regards, Nate
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a 45 or 47 or 50 degree smoother of mine will handle them fine even if you go against the grain. maple seems to be pretty easy to plane with a woody other domestic like curly walnut and cherry are a bit harder.
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