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.