Category Archives: Tool Review

>Veritas Router Plane Review

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My wife recently surprised me with a Veritas Router Plane and Router Plane Fence.  She knows that I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to new tools.  I have always wanted a router plane but only had one occasion to even use one, it was a class that Marc Spagnuolo (The Wood Whisperer) was giving at the Highland Hardware Store here in Atlanta.  I loved the tool and immediately thought of a thousand used for it but only added it to my wish list.  My wife always keeps a few tool magazines for herself and when I mention something that I like she circles it for a surprise at a later time….I know she is great.
Like all Veritas the router plane was sharp right out of the box.  A little honing is all that is needed but I like to try the tool out before honing just to see how it does with the factory edge, and this one did great.  The plane comes with a ½” pointed blade, ½” straight blade, and ¼” straight blade. 
I started by trying the router out on a dado.  I used my table saw to make a rough dado in the middle of an oak board and rough cleaning it out with a chisel.  I started out with the 1/2” straight blade the blade occasionally chattered but I soon learned how much I could drop the blade at one time to prevent chattering.  After switching to the ½” pointed blade I was able to cut deeper with each new adjustment but the blade does leave the bottom of the dado at a slight V instead of flat.  It seems as if for a dado the best is a combination, the pointed blade for the rough work and then the flat blade for the final flattening out of the bottom.  The end result was a very clean dado with a very precise depth with I checked with my micrometer. 
As I said starting out my wife also bought me a fence to go with the router plane.  I decided to see how well the fence worked by making a rabbet on the same board’s edge.  Straight out of the box it took me a few minutes to find the screw that holds the fence onto the router, I looked all in the box but then realized that the screw is stored in the end of the fence shaft, I guess I should have read the directions first.  After installing the fence I decided that this time I would not rough cut the rabbet with the table saw but instead use the router plane to complete the entire cut.  I quickly learned that like any other plane you have to be cautious of grain direction.  The first attempt I cut to deep and against the grain and ended up with some pretty bad tear out.  I started with the pointed blade flush and only dropped a quarter of a turn at a time, after not getting the results I wanted I switched to the straight blade.  I was able to control the cut much better on the rabbet cut with the straight blade and after about a 1/8” down on the cut I was able to make a full turn (1/32”) with each adjustment. 
The only issue I had was that I was trying to make the rabbet cut on the board’s edge rather than on the face.  Part of the reason I did this was because the board was so small and I wanted to clamp it in my bench vice.  It would be better to cut the rabbet using the face of the board as you have more area in which you can hold the plane flat.  I had a tendency to tilt the plane but was able to make adjustments to give me a clean right angle before I was complete.
I am really happy with the plane and can’t wait to put it to use on my next project.  It looks like I owe my wife a nice date night…

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>Lie Nielsen Shoulder Plane

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Some tools are just hard to write a review about because there is just not much you can say negatively about them, that is the way it is with the Lie Nielsen Shoulder Plane.  Many might think that a shoulder plane in not a necessity in the shop but I have to say I use mine all the time.

The most common use for myself is trimming tenons.  With the blade set flush with the outside edge I can clean out right to the shoulder.  The plane also excels at cleaning out dados and rabbits.  I have even used my small shoulder plane which is 5/8″ to make a dado on a small board when I don’t want to get the dado blade out.  For a 3/4″ dado just use your table saw to cut the outside shoulders and clean out the middle with the shoulder plane.

Like any Lie Nielsen the plane is ready to use right out of the box.  I tried mine out as soon as I could hit the shop and with only minor adjustments had some great shavings.  After spending a few moments honing  I just couldn’t ask for better.

I highly recommend the Lie Nielsen Shoulder Plane.

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>Stanley Sweetheart 9 1/2

>http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=highrockwood-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B002RLCEEU&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI must say that when I first read about the Stanley’s Sweetheart line I was a bit apprehensive.  When thinking of a Stanley I normally think of what your everyday box store carries or an old plane I might find at a garage sale and not a high end woodworking tool. 

I needed a new block plane and thought why not try the Stanley Sweetheart 9 1/2.  Out of the box the plane has a nice weight to it, feels good in your hand, and looks great.  The thick A-2 iron cut better than I thought out of the box and cut really well after a little honing.

After reading a few other reviews most of the complaints I read about were of the inside housing being skewed.  After taking mine apart I did notice a little but not enough to cause the iron to not sit properly.  The biggest complaints that I have is in the lateral adjustment.  If I have the blade advanced to far forward I have to turn the lateral adjustment knob back two and a half times back to get the blade to withdraw and then another two and a half turns to get the blade to start advancing again, that is just way to much play.  The other complain I have is that although you can adjust the mouth very easily it does not adjust enough.  Trying the plane on a piece of slightly figured oak I kept getting tear out that I think would have been resolved if I could have closed the mouth up tighter to the blade.

All in all I am pretty happy with the plane and although I will not be replacing my other planes with the Sweetheart line anytime soon, I do see the plane getting used in my shop.

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>Encyclopedia of Furniture Making

>http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=highrockwood-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0806971428&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

I bought this book recently and love it. It is a great general reference book on tools, types of wood, jointery, and furniture styles. The writing is not the best but there is a lot of knowledge and I have come to count on this book as a catch-all reference book.

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