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Veritas Plane Review - Scrub Plane

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Alf

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Another month, another new plane from Lee Valley - at least it sometimes feels like that. :wink: This is their entry into the wonderful world of hogging off wood in a hurry, and totally knocks my Planes For Normites theory of Veritas plane development on the head. Or does it…? :-k For the record, this is a “pre-production” model, with the subsequent lack of finalised packing and instructions that you’d expect. As far as I’m aware the only difference apart from that is a small additional pad area cast in front of the rear tote’s toe, and that’s purely cosmetic. But enough of that; to the nitty gritty:



Right up front, I must confess I’m not a great user of scrub planes. I do own a Stanley #40 ½, which I've used as my frame of reference for this review, but any Neanderthal credibility I might have is right out of the window if you think I prepare all my stock by hand. 8-[ However, I anticipated this need for being a little more Scrub Savvy, so I’ve been making an effort to use one more often. Until recently, scrub planes were largely unknown to the modern British woodworker, so it might help to give an idea of what they’re actually used for. The obvious use for them is to take down a lot of wood in a hurry as the first step to dimensioning rough stock by hand. But they can also prove useful in taking out excessive cup, twist or warp in a board before you run it across a jointer; saves wear and tear on your jointer knives and can make a board that’d otherwise be prone to rock into a much safer proposition to push over wildly spinning blades. Also handy to remove the weathered outer layer of your stock to check for species, colour or figure; leaving a “rustic” gouged effect; and of course, to thickness down a board where resawing is impractical. Any time you want to take off a lot of wood quickly, but surprisingly controllably, the scrub will shine.


Veritas on the left, Stanley #40 ½ on the right

At 280mm/11” long, 54mm/2 1/8” at its widest point and weighing in at 3lbs 2oz, this must be the largest and heaviest scrub plane available that I know of. As a comparison, my Stanley weighs in at 2lbs 4oz, 10 ½” long by 1 7/8” wide.


Veritas on the left, Stanley #40 ½ on the right

The body’s ductile iron, as you’d expect; finely machined on the sole and side areas where the set screws are located, and painted black over the au naturale casting everywhere else. The side “wings” add a negligible amount of width to the front of the plane, being neatly chamfered on the bottom edges almost level with the rest of the sole width. The set screws are apparently there to prevent the iron being shifted sideways by encounters with knots and so forth, which is interesting. On that basis, I’m surprised there’s not an adjuster too, to prevent the iron being forced back when it hits a knot face on…



The two bedding areas that support the blade are also both machined, unlike on the Stanley, but the rear one doesn‘t have the additional leg at right angles on the back like the Stanley. It doesn’t seem to effect the support for the blade though.


Veritas on the left, Stanley #40 ½ on the right

Also unlike the Stanley, the lever cap has pronounced “stops” to register against the cross pin or “clamp bar” and is quite a bit shorter. I had to take a file to my Stanley lever cap to get it to register against the cross pin adequately enough to get a grip, and they're well-known for suffering from a broken lever cap where the pressure between the lever cap knob, cross pin and front edge of the cap is too great.


Left: Veritas above, Stanley #40 ½ below. Right: Stanley front, Veritas back.

I would expect the shorter cap to be less susceptible to that problem, but even so the draft instructions carry dire warnings - well A Cautionary Note anyway - about not over-doing it. [-X The lever cap itself isn’t too hideous to behold and it does work, but I’m slightly disappointed Veritas didn’t come up with a means of clamping the iron that didn‘t have to be worried about at all. Nothing wrong with it; I just want more, dammit! :wink:

There are two options for this plane; one provided with a High-Carbon Steel iron, and one with the slightly more expensive A2 steel blade - both a chunky 3/16“ thick and 1½" wide.


Veritas top, Stanley #40 ½ below

Personally I like HCS blades - so I got sent an A2 one… So it goes. :roll: :lol: It’s beautifully finished across both face and back, and puts some of my smoother plane irons to shame; the fine diamond stone I used to hone it left only marginally finer scratches. The curve on the edge has a 3” radius and a 35° bevel. I honed a small secondary bevel with the diamond stone on the edge of both the Veritas and the Stanley, in order to make a comparison between them in use as fair as possible. For rough work you can really get away with the edge as-is I think, but that might have given an advantage to the Stanley which I‘d honed to a finer grit. Setting the blade is a simple case of placing it in the plane, bevel down, lightly tightening up the lever cap, sighting along the sole while you manually adjust the blade to the required depth of cut and then a final tweak of the lever cap screw to tighten it up.

One of the recent developments Veritas have been working on is the Mark II rear tote, and this is its first official outing I believe. Bubinga trees will quake in additional fear because it’s a little taller, there’s now a toe piece, and the front has a slight bulge. The extra height and toe I do prefer, but otherwise I’m afraid it’s rasp time again. :(



For the larger-handed, I would think it’ll be pretty comfortable, and there seems to be plenty of room between it and the blade. The front knob is tall and, well, okay. I didn’t really notice it to be honest, so it must be alright. :oops:


Stanley front, Veritas back

Overall it’s quite a handsome plane, in the Veritas mould. It certainly goes in with their “look”. Just for the sake of the laugh, I checked the sole and it was pretty darn flat, but I didn’t check the sides; shooting is not possible with the wings you see… #-o



So it was time to ruin that lovely shiny sole and take it for a spin. I dug out a big chunk of chestnut that I’ve had hanging about-, er, I mean maturing in the workshop for some years, dogged it up on the bench and set to, swapping between the Veritas and the Stanley to compare and contrast.



Chips flew in pleasing abundance, but the Veritas felt a little laboured compared to the Stanley.



I fiddled with the depth of cut a bit, in case that was the trouble, but rather than zip-zip-zipping along the board with chips whizzing past my ear, I felt I was lacking some manoeuvrability and it was slowing me up. It wasn’t the weight so much, as the width, and probably the length. There’s about a ¼” in it, but it felt like the difference between a Jet Ski and a canal boat. Hmm, teeny weeny little exaggeration there perhaps, but it did feel noticeably different. Naturally, as time went on, the weight did become more of an issue too... Don’t misunderstand me; it did the job very well, the blade didn‘t slip, the handles remained secure and so forth. It just wasn’t as quick or, frankly, as much fun as the smaller Stanley. I also somehow managed to adjust the set screws away from the blade accidentally on purpose. :whistle: All I can say is I hit plenty of knotty material and nothing seemed to happen to the blade. ‘Fraid I’m not convinced of the need for them. [-(



So, the verdict on a scrub plane by a non-scrub plane user, for what that‘s worth. It’s beautifully finished, it really is. The care and maintenance instructions in the manual take up a third of the content; they read more like ones for an infill with waxing, wiping, plane sacks and so forth all mentioned. :shock: I can understand why, with all the care taken with its manufacture, but I had to keep reminding myself “It’s a scrub plane!”. It’s not going to be treated with dignity and respect; it’s going to suffer. Heck, you should see its sole - it already has! :twisted: On that basis the ductile iron and, yes, maybe even the A2 steel blade are both desirable. Although there's a lot to be said for having to stop and sharpen in order to get a rest... :roll: But it’s unnecessarily big and heavy, in my opinion. Extra weight has its place in planes, but I don’t believe a scrub is one of them. And that’s where I wonder if maybe this isn’t a scrub plane for a Normite, even if that does appear to be a contradiction in terms; someone who isn’t going to be spending hours at a time pushing planes around. In that case the weight isn’t quite such an issue perhaps, although scrubbing is tiring enough without adding to it. But I still can’t see any sense in the extra width and length. I’m also unconvinced about the set screws, but you may have already gathered that... Scrubs are pretty basic tools, and itty bitty set screws don’t feel right somehow. Maybe I’m missing something - remember, I’m not an everyday scrub plane user. I don’t know, but that‘s how I feel about it. In short (at last!); it does the job, and at a reasonable price*, but I find myself somewhat underwhelmed. :?

Scrub Plane £81.94 from BriMarc.

*At least the introductory price of $79 for HCS or $99 for the A2 seems reasonable. :)

NB: In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that in this case Lee Valley have very kindly said I can keep this review plane, for which many thanks. I have made every effort to not let this affect my review, and I hope this is self-evident, but you, the reader, will always be the final judge.
 

Philly

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Alf
Thanks for the review-honest and informative!
Scrubs are an interesting one-does anyone need one in these days of power planers? It does at least fill out the Veritas range (and probably gives TLN another sleepless night! :lol: ). I look forward to seeing one in the flesh (probably September Yandles, unless Waka drags me to a show that is closer! :roll: )
Come on Rob-a skew smoother, thats what we want! (maybe :lol: )
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,

Thanks for another interesting review. I don't need a scrub plane often enough to justify owning one and I have an old smoothing plane that gets turned into one as necessary with the substitution of a suitably curved blade which does all I need. However, If I did get one I think I should like it to be of the Stanley type as I have tried one and I found the light weight and narrow plane very manoeuverable and as you say, fun to use.
 

Waka

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Alf

Thanks for the review, like Chris and Philly at the moment, I don't have a need for a scrub but tomorrow could be different.

I'm sure I'll get a good look and practice with this plane the next time I visit Ye Old Dorset Workshop in Philsville.

Philly I'm affraid I'm not home for anymore shows this year, but that doesn't stopo us haveing a day out to Yandles and Axminster. Now marking is on the slope we could introduce him to some more goodies.
 

MikeW

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Thank you for the review Alf.

As being an over the hill (uh, mature. ok, ok. an older...) woodworker I too already have a scrub.

But, if I were in the market for one--and they do come in handy even if one does not prep their stock by hand all the time--I would either purchase this one for the weight or make my oldest give back the junior jack (JJ) I converted once upon a time.

I do use the LN one that replaced the JJ. Even though it is about the same weight as the Stanley scrub, there was more resistance when it was new compared to the larger and heavier JJ. Now it zips along after four or so years of use. I chalk it up to the polishing that only comes from using a tool and the countless waxing it has received in use.

I would reckon the LV scrub over time in use would also become more "zippy."

Again, thank you.
 

Frank D.

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Thanks from me too for the review ALf!
The veritas scrub looks nice.
I think I'll keep my wooden scrub, I like it because it's light. I use it mostly for carpentry though...
 
A

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Alf, what is the blade width, please?
I am a heavy (in more ways than one :lol: ) scrub plane user and I have been looking forward to the introduction of this plane as a possible replacement for my trusty Stanley #40. With the dimensions you have given for the Veritas, I'm afraid they may have missed the mark here. Wider and heavier are not good qualities for a scrub.
I have a lot of respect for the engineering and innovation of Lee Valley so I'm trying to keep an open mind but I won't be ordering one tomorrow as I was planning.
 

Alf

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Roger Nixon":1ben7aw8 said:
Alf, what is the blade width, please?
Ach! Knew there was something I'd forgotten. #-o 1 ½". Sorry 'bout that, Roger; I'll go and edit it in.

MikeW":1ben7aw8 said:
I would reckon the LV scrub over time in use would also become more "zippy."
You may be right, Mike, but I didn't feel it was slickness that was the problem so much. But yep, every tool has a certain "breaking in" period, I agree.

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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Scrubs are an interesting one-does anyone need one in these days of power planers?
So what am I... chopped haggis....???????????????

Philistines....sheesh.....

:p

Not a bad review Alf... for a part-timer...

:twisted:
 
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Thanks Alf, yet another excellent review. Keep 'em coming :wink:
 

Jim_Bell

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Thank you ma'am.

Great review and I know I want the LV 40. I sent Rob Lee an email, but he's O.O.O. now, any idea when they will be released to the general public?
 

ydb1md

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Jim_Bell":2dred8nu said:
Thank you ma'am.

Great review and I know I want the LV 40. I sent Rob Lee an email, but he's O.O.O. now, any idea when they will be released to the general public?
Are they going to be making a LV #40 or is that just a wish?
 

Rob Lee

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ydb1md":25fccapc said:
Jim_Bell":25fccapc said:
Thank you ma'am.

Great review and I know I want the LV 40. I sent Rob Lee an email, but he's O.O.O. now, any idea when they will be released to the general public?
Are they going to be making a LV #40 or is that just a wish?
Hi -

That's it - no "40", we're moving on to other planes....

This is one of the times where we went with a different preference - one of slightly more weight and size, than less.

Making room for larger hands means more clearance back of the blade (and more length). Coupled with a much thicker blade, it's bound to be heavier.

Certainly understand and respect Alf's preferences too... it's her usual honest and thorough evaluation!

Cheers -

Rob
 

ydb1md

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Rob Lee":2i88lbd2 said:
Making room for larger hands means more clearance back of the blade (and more length). Coupled with a much thicker blade, it's bound to be heavier.
I like the extra room of the larger planes -- the mass is nice also. When I'm taking a heavy cut with the jack, all that mass makes my job easier when I'm plowing through knots etc.
 

Alf

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Rob Lee":va6s6znu said:
Making room for larger hands means more clearance back of the blade (and more length).
I'm starting to get a hand size complex here... and I was so good about not making an issue of the rear tote this time too. :( Evidently what I need are hand enlargements, but I haven't received quite the right spam email yet. :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

Martin Brown

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Please....there has to be something wrong doesn't there? Who cares?

Stocks not yet in but we are taking orders through the usual outlets (see brimarc.com), however some web retailers are not yet on line for ordering. In that case just call them.

Please call BriMarc if you have any questions.

Martin
 

anto_pappa

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hi to everybody, i'm an italian woodworker (a very very beginners). Some time ago i contacted Tony, Noel, Philly and Alf, for the possibility to translate in italian the very good reviews that appear in this forum.

So today i can say that the first translation (the scrub plane) is ready.

http://www.il-truciolo.it/showthread.php?t=819 this is the link to the italian forum "il-truciolo", you have to log in to see it, but the registration is free. I hope that this will be not a problem for you, because in italy we are poor in term of woodworking; so i hope that we can create a sort of twinning between our forum. Now i am continuing the translations.

Sorry for the invasion, and i hope to see you often.

thank you very much

bye bye

Antonino
 
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