Veritas - Kudos to Tool Innovator

Because woodworking and the tools with which to do it has been around for quite a while, the common belief is that when it comes to hand tools, the tried and true designs are the best. You can improve the materials and the fit and finish of the design, but the design stays the same. Hock plane irons and chippers, along with Lie- Nielsen planes are prime examples of refinements to classic designs. Steve Knight's woodies are a synthesis of japanese and euro wooden plane designs - the adjust- able throat being an innovation.
Veritas on the other hand seems to start with an almost blank piece of paper and a good deal of knowledge about what a specific tool is intended to do, how it does it and how it's used to do it - theory and practice. Their new shoulder plane (medium shoulder plane to be exact) is a great example.
Ever tried to find a comfortable way to grip a Stanley, Clifton or Lie-Nielsen shoulder plane? Veritas has solved that problem - 3 ways:
- The heel is large and has nice rounded edges so it fits the palm of your hand nicely.
- They added a swiveling "knob" that you can adjust to fit comportably in the webbing between thumb and the hand- accomodating lefties in thr process. The knob is smooth where it should be smooth and knurled where you need to grip it to lock its position.
- And then they added a finger hole through the sides of the plane, between the "cap iron?" and the iron itself. The hole is even beveled so there's no sharp edges - a nice extra touch. You pick up the tool to use it and the grip is intuitive,comfortable and it works - without thought or effort.
They also addressed another shortcoming of the "classic" design - iron alignment. With four, not just two, set screws, the iron stays aligned during throat opening adjustment. If it feels a little dull you won't hesitate to remove it and touch up the edge because there's no fiddling and fussing when you replace it.
Corners that need to be sharp and square are sharp and square. Edges that are going to come in contact with your hand while using the tool are all nicely beveled.
They've gone after bench planes, spoke shaves, scaper holders and sharpening guides, getting very good to great results using innovative approaches on how to do it. (ok the sharpening guide could use a little refinement to square irons and bench chisels)
Veritas - "Innovation in Tools" - right on the box. Kudos to Veritas.
charlie b
Now if I could just learn exactly how to pronounce it - vur-EYE-tass, VUR-i-tahs - sounds latin - truth?
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So Charlie....are ya trying to tell us you got a new Veritas shoulder plane.......;-)
Bob S.
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Bob S. wrote:

My post wasn't intended as a "neener" but rather to provide an example of Veritas's innovative approach to tool making. Why no one else made these changes is a mystery.
In addition to being innovative, Veritas seems to be making a reasonable profit while still providing a quality tool at relatively low prices when it comes to hand planes. Their medium shoulder plane is $139.00 US (note that there's no .95 or .99 at the end of the price) Now granted, this plane has a 0.70 inch wide iron - great for those 3/4 inch dados and rabbets/rebates - and not the 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 of other shoulder planes that go for $240-$260 (LN & Clifton 3110). Pretty sure doubling the width doesn't account for doubling the price.
They they include a no postage necessary feed back post card that asks you a) If you're satisfied with the performance of the tool, b) if the quality of the tool met your expectations, c) what changes would you like to see made to the tool and d) if there are any tools you think they should develop or if you have a problem that a new tool might solve That tells me they want to know what I think - about their tools and ways to improve them.
So kudos to Veritas - innovation, good price points and a concern for their customers.
Now if they'd just come up with a clear plastic dovetail layout/marking tool with scribed lines left, right and center and metal edges that won't get chewed up by a marking knife .... I've posted an illustrative image to a.b.p.w. with a header "Dovetail Marking Gauge Idea" (are you listening Mr. Lee?)
charlie b
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charlie b notes:

Check the new scraper plane. It has some extra added space over the original Stanley and semi-replica Lie-Nielsen versions that make it far more comfortable to use. There's actually room for your hand.
Lee Valley has an impressive operation up in Ottawa. I'd say especially in small tool R&D, but it's pretty darned good throughout the range, with lots of very thoughtful innovations in almost all departments. Efficiency is high, morale appears to be high (I say appears only because I did a whirlwind tour with Rob Lee, and as we all know, everyone smiles at the boss), the store in Ottawa (no longer the largest) is incredible, each store is backed up by its own warehouse stocking all the items LV carries, there are 2 machine shops for R&D and...ah, it just goes on. Even the photography set-up is unusual, effective and looked like a lot of fun to use, with separate studios for digital and film.
Charlie Self
"Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." H. L. Mencken
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On 29-Nov-2003, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

No doubt because it's run by its owners and the owners are interested in the products it produces. If LV was purchased and run by bean-counters and spreadsheet jockeys, these "perks" like two machine shops and studios would disappear and they'd start churning out non-descript crap.
The Lees probably won't make as much money in the short run as the bean counters could, but they will be there longer than bean counters would... Fortunately for us.
Mike
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I'm always listening.... ;)
Thanks for the kind comments - I'm copying this thread to our desing group...
Cheers -
Rob Lee
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...of course, I meant "design" group....
Cheers,
Rob (who should proof before, and not after, posting)
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Robin Lee wrote:

So you have a desing group eh? That's why nobody goes carolling anymore, isn't it?
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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I'm getting one for Christmas. I got to hold and fondle it briefly, but am not allowed to use it until Christmas.
charlie b wrote:

--

Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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<snip>

Latin for truth indeed, and pronounced we-ri-tas, with the accent on the first syllable [the "e" of "we" is pronounced like the e of etymology, and the "i" of "ri" is pronounced like the i of "it"]
Vale, H
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My number one item on my Christmas list was the LN shoulder plane, but the Veritas seems more economical and from what I read here and see on the LV website (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=2&pageH430) it has some great features. I have never used any Veritas plane, so would appreciate some feedback frome someone who has tried both as to which performs better overall.
TIA Glen

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Glen writes:

I have the Lee Valley, but have not tried the Lie-Nielsen (does differentiating those names verbally give anyone else a headache). In fact, I've tried the LV for just a few strokes. It's smooth and easy to handle. I've used the daylights out of a Lee Valley 4-1/2, though, and find it an absolute delight. First tried it right out of the box, and was startled by how well it cut.
I don't think you can lose with either brand. The LV is said to be more comfortable to use. Almost got that bassackwards. The LN version of Record's 073 has a 1-1/4" wide blade, while the LN is 3/4" or so. I'd say a lot depends on how wide the cuts you need to make are, while keeping in mind the LN is $225 and the LV is $179.
My specific note is that I'm far more likely to be cleaning up a 3/4" dado, which the slightly undersized (on purpose) LN lets me do than I am a 1-1/4" dado, but both are equally useful for tenon clean-up and rabbet clean-up.
Dunno if that's a help, but...good luck, and enjoy, which you will, with either plane.
Charlie Self
"Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." H. L. Mencken
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Charlie, do you find you need that wide of a blade often? I started thinking about where I would use a shoulder plane and can't think of a place yet that I would have needed more than 3/4" blade. Not that I wouldn't but that I havent yet.
BRuce
Charlie Self wrote:

--
---

BRuce


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BRuce asks:

As I said, I think the 3/4" would be more useful for things I do most..cleaning dados. The wider blade would speed up tenon clean-up on some jobs, though.
And I mixed up LN and LV there. I knew that was going to happen. Probably would have happened if I'd spelled them both out.
Charlie Self
"Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." H. L. Mencken
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To correct Mr. Self, the Veritas Medium Shoulder Plane has a 0.70 inch iron and not 3/4s. The body of the plane being slightly narrower to have a few thousandths so it gets into corners. The slightly narrower than 3/4s lets it get into routed "3/4" plywood dadoes (the ply router bits are a tad smaller than 3/4s to fit "3/4" ply which is actually less than 3/4s.
If the shoulder plane was designed to finish up the shoulders of tenons, specifically the bottoms of the shoulders, 0.70 inches of iron is more than enough - unless you're doing timeber framing. (or workbench legs which is what prompted acquisition of a shoulder plane) I use a block plane or the LN rabbet block plane on the faces of the tenons.
Am doing more solid wood furniture and finding that more and more good hand tools are necessary (or I could just be using that as an excuse to get more toys). I'm finding that power tools, while saving a lot of work, feel like machines. Chisels, planes, marking knives, hand saws - these feel like tools. Machines remove wood - but with very little "feel". With hand tools you can actually feel what the tool is doing to the wood. The wood talks to the tool and the tool passes what it said on to me both with sound and feel.
(ramble mode off)
charlie b
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<snip>

differentiating
LV
daylights
tried
Record's
depends
$225
<snip>
Hi Charlie -
Small correction - the LV plane is $139 (not $179 - that's the CDN $ price)....
Apples to apples....and all that....
Cheers -
Rob
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Robin Lee responds:

Sorry about that. Unfolded the wrong flag, I guess.
Charlie Self
"Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." H. L. Mencken
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Thank you, Mr. Lee, you just made my decision for me. Veritas it is!
Glen
"Robin Lee" wrote >

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Thanks to all for your input.
Glen

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charlie b wrote:
I agree with your sentiments. I really like Lee Valley, and I only have one tiny little thing of theirs so far. Never have I seen so many things in a catalog that make me say "wow, that's a good idea" and then "patented" at the bottom. I'm an inventorly sort of guy myself, and that wins a lot of points with me.

It's Latin for "truth." Oh, you said that. Right. Well, just how to pronounce it could be debated depending on whether you prefer classical or more modern pronunciation, but unless them Kanukistanis are significantly different from their southeren neighbors, they're going to butcher it the way all English speakes are wont to do with borrowed words. It's probably prounounced VERitas. ver from "very" without the Y on it, it like your garden variety "it", tas, sounding sort of like "toss" with more of a short A sound.
--
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Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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