Reply by Derek Cohen

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Posted on To Jack or to Smooth, that is the question

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Derek Cohen

462 posts in 4419 days

#1 posted 09-03-2016 05:18 PM

If you work with straight grained woods, then you can use a plain jane Stanley and not see the advantage in a premium smoother (other than the pleasure of using a special, better made plane).

Assuming that you want to work with more complex, figured grain …

If it is a smoother you are after, you essentially have two choices:

A bevel up with a high cutting angle (a high cutting angle for me is 60 degrees cutting angle). The absolute best BU smoother in the market is the Veritas Bevel Up Smoother (BUS). This is an easy plane to set up, and it produces the highest quality, with ultra reliable results.

The other choice is to use a bevel down plane and with the chipbreaker closed up. This has a moderate learning curve attached to it, but the advantage is that you can use a common angle plane, such as a Stanley, and work the most interlocked woods. I like a Stanley #3 and a LN #3 with this technique. I also have a Veritas Custom Plane #4 with a 40 degree frog, and this produces the best surface of all (since the cutting angle is lowest). Note that these all only work on interlocked grain because of the chipbreaker.

If you are interested in the latter, you may wish to read this article on my website:

Regards from Perth


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