The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Many of you probably remember the movie of the same name and as I reflected on my day that title just popped into my head — read more to find out why!

The Good:

Waiting for the sliding table to arrive for the SawStop has me in limbo.  All of the panels have been glued up for the sides of the Armoire and you may recall that I’m waiting for that table to properly cut those square; figure that will be a great first time use for it.  All of the panels have been roughly surfaced and are currently clamped to the assembly table to prevent cupping.  After all of that plane work it’s probably a good time to refresh their edges.  In a recent blog  I mentioned some of the things I’ve learned surfacing these rather large panels by hand.

Radiused Block and Jack Plane Blade

Radiused Block and Jack Plane Blade

Using a block plane on the joint was a good first step before tackling the entire surface with a block plane.  The blade on both of those planes has slight radius’s at the ends to prevent them from digging in.  This radius was formed on a 1″ belt sander and you do have to be quick and careful — doesn’t take much to accomplish it and I’d recommend doing it by hand instead.  Other than the corners, the remainder of the blade is kept square.

The smooth plane has the entire blade slightly radiused.  In the past this was accomplished by hand but I now use the Veritas camber roller for the Mk. II sharpening system.  To set a smooth plane up you watch and adjust until the shavings come out of the center of the throat.  I recently saw an article by Chris Schwarz where he used a feeler gauge (.008) to set the distance between the edge of the blade and chip breaker (he refers to as a back iron) so thought I’d give it a try.  Seems to work quite nicely as the shavings show.

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Sharpening is a process you need to learn if you’re going to work with wood.  Some like it and some see it as a “necessary evil”.  It’s part of what I teach my students and my advice is always the same: “investigate all of the methods available, experiment, and once you find one that you like and works for you stick with it”.  Here’s a little video that to me, makes the sharpening process all worth while;

A Sharp Tool is a Happy Tool!

The Bad:

Lee Valley Small Plow Plane

Lee Valley Small Plow Plane

There’s a long story about this that I’ll condense to keep it brief.  I’ve been wanting a plow plane for a long time and have been waiting for the rumored Lie-Nielsen version to come out.  I know that’s more than a rumor because I’m on the waiting list to be notified.  It may not be until late this year before that happens though.  In the mean time I’ve been trying to bid for one on Ebay but it is so frustrating!  More than once, I’ve been the top bidder at the end of an auction only to get the “You’ve been Outbid” message time and time again.  That has something to do with automatic bidding.  After losing out to a beautiful Stanley #50 with beading cutters and all I decided to give up and go for Veritas. Based on reviews by  Derek Cohen and Chris Schwarz  the purchase was made.  The only negative reviews I found about this plane is that the depth stop had a tendency to slip but since most of those reviews were several years old I reasoned that Veritas had long since solved that problem — Wrong!!  Here’s a video of the plane in action:

As you can see it handles and works wonderfully, only problem is it doesn’t stop when the  depth is set.  I can just imagine plowing all the way through a drawer side and ruining the complete job.  I contacted Lee Valley and they suggested cleaning the depth stop with turpentine and then sanding the post with 120 grit sandpaper.  That worked for two cuts. By this time I was so frustrated I called their customer service again and told them I planned to return the tool.  She checked with Veritas who said they would replace mine with one their own technicians would check the depth stop and expedite delivery to me via UPS.  Should be here early next week but I must admit to some apprehension.  I don’t mind messing around with a tool purchased on Ebay or at a garage sale, that’s to be expected in that instance.  Buying a brand new tool from a reputable company like Veritas should insure quality and a lifetime of service.  The minute this one gives me any problem at all it’ll be returned for a full refund.  I hate to be pessimistic about this but now I’m leery of it.  If anyone of you reading this have any experience with the small plow plane I’d like to hear about it — negative or positive alike.  Although I’m a huge fan of Lie-Nielsen tools I thought I should expand my horizons.  I’m guessing their version will be a bit pricier than Veritas and not sure I’ll have enough commissions to justify that!

The Ugly:

My mood after all of this occurred!  Unfortunately I have a history of having problems with purchased things.  If there are 1000 new tools in a warehouse and one of them has a flaw guess what; that’s the one that’ll be shipped to me.  Can’t wait to get the sliding table for the saw and the replacement plow plane so work can progress on the Armoire.



About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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6 Responses to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. forbeskm says:

    Hmm, even Paul Sellers had one of those. I myself picked up a Record 43 and 44 from UK ebay, I received the 44 in the original box within a week :). I found they are more plentiful over the pond.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chase says:

    Thanks for the semi review. I have been drooling over their skew rabbet plane and that plow plane for nearly a year. I will definitely have to hold off till you get the new one back.

    I noticed your one video still has shaking issues. Are you using a tripod? If so, you might want to hang a weight on a string from the tripod base to help balance it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the tripod trick, I’ll give it a try — being hi-tech is new to me!


      • Chase says:

        Image stability software has come a long way, but you don’t want to rely on it if you don’t have to. The old ways still hold true in digital photography and video. Take the best image/video you can, and only apply editing tricks sparingly. Try moving the tripod away, and keep it off the bench. You could probably build a counter balance arm out of wood so the camera can hang over the work bench while still being off the table.

        Liked by 1 person

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