Comparison between bedrock type 5 1/2 vs LV low angle jack

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Established Member
24 Nov 2009
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Hello guys I might be in the market for a new plane. I have a no6 and no4 plane. One I find too big and the other too small. I like the wider cutter of the No6 so I am thinking of buying a no5 1/2.

I find the handle on the bedrock, in my case woodriver(bought like 10 years ago) too small. The handle on the LV plane seems quite a bit taller.
My fingers are not big, but my hand is about 4.5 inches wide. I don't like the three finger grip. I like to hold the handle comfortable with all my fingers.

Can someone tell me about the rigidity of the planes I mention in the title? The bedrock seems to be quite a bit more rigid because the frog is more substantial.

One thing I find also very important is I like to tune my planes to a high tolerance. I feel the bedrock design has no secrets for me and I can tune practically every aspect. With the LV jack plane the mouth can be adjusted. I wonder how flat/coplanar that part is with the sole. I dont recall reading anybody mentioning this. With the bedrock design moving the frog does not affect the front of the mouth. With LV it does.

I guess the bedrock is much easier to adjust the depth of the cut whereas the LV is more precise and has much less backlash?

In general I would say the LV planes are not really visually attractive though the LV low angle jack is ok. A Clifton or LN 5 1/2 looks prettier I think.

I would like to read the opinion of people who have used both planes. I am not interested in old planes. Please dont tell me I cant go wrong with either brand, I already know that.

Derek's blogs will give you the best summary should you seek it, he's got all the toys.
You might not value the adjustibility of the mouth on a double iron panel plane,
nor fancy BU jack planes thereafter.

I have some difficulty grasping some of your comments about rigidity and flatness. They do not fly with my experience.

Firstly it needs to be noted that a bevel up Veritas LA Jack is a very different beast to a bevel down Bailey-style (Bedrock or other). I use both, probably the BD more, and sometimes need to point out to detractors of BU planes that they can work superbly. As can Bailey-type planes.

My question is "what do you want from the plane?". A "jack" is generally used as a roughing plane (I use a Stanley #605 and a woody). But some, such as David Charlesworth and Rob Cosman, have popularised the #5 1/2 as a "Super Smoother". Personally I do not go for this. A long smoother is only really useful if you are smoothing boards that come off a powered jointer/thicknesser (that is, they are already flat). Longer smoothers, like jointers, will remove more wood to get the board smooth as they also flatten. If you want a roughing plane, you really would be better off with a #5 (not the #5 1/2), since this is lighter. And, frankly, then I would get a Stanley and not a LN, and spend the saved Dollars elsewhere.

If pushed to this, I would rather have the Veritas LA Jack as a smoother than a LN #5 1/2. Why? Because it is lighter and more versatile (better on a shooting board, Rob Cosman's reluctance notwithstanding). The LAJ has good weight and add a low cutting angle, and this combination rules when shooting end grain, such as drawer sides. With a high cutting angle, it will tame a lot of interlocked grain. But, as I have said, there are better planes to be used for smoothing.

My go-to planes are BD planes, such as the Veritas Custom #4 and #7. Set the chipbreaker up close, and you can plane anything. But is needs to be noted that I am in Australia and work with hard and interlocked wood. Most others do not, and I use BU planes very happily for at least 15 or more years before the chipbreaker renaissance. High cutting angles (e.g. 62 degrees) can do just about anything.

If I need to take a very fine shaving - gossamer - my first choice is a Veritas BU Smoother. It is outstanding! I can do almost, but not as well, with a Veritas #4 and a LN #3. ALL this planes are rigid and flat - as rigid and flat as you would ever need. I would argue that all Veritas planes set the standard for flatness.

Back to my earlier question: what do you want the plane to do - rough or smooth?

Not visually attractive? Can you guess what this plane is? :)


Regards from Perth