If you own - and actually use - one or more hand planes you've probably
damaged the lever cap screw while tightening or loosening it - with the
nearest, close enough, screw driver. I'll admit that I have done that -
more than once.
So when I see that Lee Valley has a special tool, specifically designed
for the lever cap screw tightening and loosening - think grear shift
knob shape, with brass collar - and inside the collar - a short slot
head screw driver blade - (Plane Screwdriver 50K39.01 $14.50)
- and it's right next to the Veritas Side Rabbet Plane I was ordering -
I added it to my order.
Having now used both - I really like the Side Rabbet Plane. The Plane
Screwdriver - not so much. The screwdriver blade barely sticks out
beyond the brass collar so you can't see that it's engaged the slot in
the cap lever screw. So there's a lot of fishing around and guessing
"Is it in the slot - or not?" And if you THINK it is - and it isn't -
you can damage the screw slot.
Now - if the blade were spring loaded - so it stuck out far enough so
you could see that it in fact was in the slot, then retracted a little
so the collar could fit around the screw head - then bottom out so you
could safely turn the cap lever screw . . .
OK - so it's "just" an under $15 tool - but it's from Lee Valley!
strangely, lv calls the chipbreaker screw the cap screw (whereas I
consider the cap screw to be that providing tension to the lever cap).
I've never had a problem using the leading edge of the lever cap as a screwdriver
for the chipbreaker screw.
Ah the ambiguity of woodworking terms.
The text describing the tool in question, the Plane Screwdriver, says
"We designed this screwdriver to make it both safe and easy to remove,
replace or adjust the cap irons."
There are two removable parts held with screws on my bench
planes - more specifically the metal ones (I've got s few Steve
Knight early woodies too). One holds the chip breaker ( called
that because that's what it's designed to do) and the other holds
the lever cap. Now, having looked a the photo next to this tool's
picture I see that it's intended for the screw for what I call
the chip breaker. Now, having used this tool on THAT screw,
I find it works really well. So now I suppose I should wait and look
for an upcoming special screwdriver for the "lever cap screw"?
Is what is known as the chip breaker here called a cap iron
acrossed the pond? Bad enough with rabbet/rebate, joiner/
jointer, board/timber, planer/thicknesser - and the pronunciation
of the word schedule (sked-yule vs shhhhed-you-el)
It's pretty much always called a cap-iron in the UK - Joyce, Salaman and
Hayward all refer to it as a cap-iron in their books and it's what I've
always called it. For once, the US description as the chip-breaker is
probably more accurate.
I have a nice short screwdriver with a wide blade which was sold as being
for undoing chip-breakers. I bought it at Woodcraft Supply in Boston in
1976, though it's labelled as made in Sheffield UK.
The top bit of the plane is the lever cap.
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