Submitted 8 years ago by Peter Sefton
Value for Money:
I called it the “No 62 Bench Plane Battle” where other 62 owners were invited to bring their 62’s to the Day for a comparative test. Rob Stoakley (Blokeblog) kindly bought along his Veritas Low angle 62½ for the comparison and very nice it was too. As you would expect, this was very well made with some fine design details such as an adjustable mouth stop to minimize the risk of blade damage when fine tuning the moving mouth and two dowel pins either side of the blade bevel to assist the Norris style dual purpose blade advancement and lateral adjuster. These locating pins aid the lateral adjustment which feels rather hap hazard compared to our traditional bevel down bench planes and takes a little getting used to (all good fun when in front of an expectant crowd of Woodies, having never used it before!).
Rob brought the Veritas sharpened and prepared with the standard 25 degree bevel A2 blade; a very sturdy 4mm thick (38 and 50 degree blades are optional extras). Matthew from Workshop Heaven honed the three standard Quangsheng blades which are 3mm thick T10 – the Chinese equivalent to W1 (25, 38, and 50 degrees) as part of his scary sharpening demonstration and then passed them to me for the only real test of sharpness; planing very demanding interlocked timber.
I am very pleased to say that neither Rob nor Matthew’s sharpening let them or me down. (I felt rather like a Korean “Skill Build” competitor famed for having a sharpening assistant to hone tools for them!). The blades were prepared with a larger than usual camber which is required as the blades are set at 12 degrees to the sole rather than the conventional 45 degrees of our general bench planes. When inserting the blade in both planes, trying to get the blade in position without damaging the sharpened edge can be a bit tricky. David Charlesworth uses a piece of paper under the blade and I like to use a piece of clear acetate, so you can see what’s going on and I use the same sheet to protect the blade when setting the mouth.
The Quangsheng No 62 is 355mm long and 62mm wide weighing in at 3.3 kilos, and very handsome too with a brushed stainless steel lever cap and Chinese Rosewood handles which look very much like Bubinga to me. I am reliably informed by Matthew that the bodies are cast from 40Cr high-chromium steel, annealed and surface ground under a constant flow of coolant to prevent stresses from building up in the casting. From my own experience of the range of Quangshengs in my teaching workshop I have found them to be very well engineered and well within the tolerances to conform to British Standards for surface grinding.
The first test was using the 25 degree blades on some end grain European Oak which gives a very low 37 degree effective cutting angle and produced very clean end grain shavings – thin enough to see through but still in one piece. The low cutting angle makes this a very easy slicing action, severing the end grain fibres with ease. Both planes worked the end grain very well with little energy being expelled by me.
The second test was on some very difficult interlocked Corrugatta or Rib Fruited Mallee (RFM). I used my Clifton No 5 Jack, Rob’s Veritas and Matthew’s Quangsheng and all three gave very good results as I was virtually planing end grain.
The third and real test came when Rob produced some WFH (Wood From Hell!) which was Indian Rosewood – a very interlocked and wild grain hard wood where the Quangsheng really stole the Show. My Clifton was honed with a standard 25 degree blade, Rob’s with the 25 degree Veritas blade and Matthew’s 50 degree blade giving a high angle 62 degrees scraping cut. Both Rob’s and my plane dragged and tore the grain out, but the Quangsheng left the timber with a very clean flat surface and left the other two planes floundering. This goes to show that high angled planer blades really do work on interlocked and difficult grain. That said, I’m sure if the Veritas had had a 50 degree blade, I feel sure that it would have made a very clean job of the Indian Rosewood.
The Quangsheng proved its metal and showed itself very well. It does not quite have the finesse of the Veritas but with the Veritas at £275.95 plus up to 2 extra blades at £37.40 each, the price comes to £350.75. The Quangsheng is £129.50 including all three blades, and to my mind there aren’t enough differentiating factors, to warrant that extra spend of more than £200 – although of course it is always a matter of personal choice.
Quangsheng now have a very good and full range of bench planes and although the 62 will not be replacing my Clifton Jack it has earned a place as part of my arsenal, in my plane drawer. This new plane has added another element to the said drawer, showing how we can all deal with very difficult grain at an affordable price. I say bring on the No 7! and keep improving the range of affordable bench planes for us all to enjoy.
Peter Sefton (No longer a 62 sceptic!)