Terrific clamp with a major (fixable) flaw

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Review by ColonelTravis posted 08-03-2018 07:13 PM 4113 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Terrific clamp with a major (fixable) flaw Terrific clamp with a major (fixable) flaw No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This should be a slam dunk 5-star product for hand tool users, a ridiculous design flaw knocks it down to a 4 because it’s fixable. I give the engineer who made this a big fat zero. I do not understand why Veritas ever let this issue out the door, or why they’ve never redesigned the problem.

If you don’t have a tail/end vise (like me), this is a terrific substitute. I use holdfasts and notched battens but there are times when that doesn’t work so well. So I bought this thing, knowing about the flaw ahead of time.

Flaw: If you’re trying to plane a board by hand that is less than about 1” thick (I would guess this is the vast majority of all work done by hand plane users), then your plane sole will hit the locking mechanism and you can’t plane squat.

Universal reaction to this nonsense:

I am a faithful Veritas customer. But guys…geez. What’s even worse is that on their website they say this:

The low-profile head and clamp body are 5/8” and 11/16” thick respectively, so you can plane stock as thin as 3/4” without worrying about hitting the clamp.

This is 100% not true using most bench planes. My example photo is 3/4 board.

You can move the dog to a different hole and use maybe a #1, #2, #3 or a block. With my bench, if I do that I still can’t use anything from a #4 or longer. To fix this problem you need to grind down the top of the locking mechanism. Do not try to do this with a file, you will be standing there until Arbor Day 2026. With a 6” grinder it took me a little more than half an hour.

Now it works perfectly.

I painted the grinded steel with black engine paint that I’ve used for restoring old hand planes.

Veritas: you’re too good for this and need to do the work that I and others have done to make this product work properly. Once it’s fixed, I have nothing but praise. It’s an improvement over the older Wonder Dog. Clamp locks and unlocks easily, holds firmly. When it’s unlocked, you can rapidly slide the clamping mechanism up and down the threaded bar.

This is not a complete substitute for an tail/end vise. You still can’t plane anything thinner than the brass bar, for example. I suppose you could insert a long-enough, thinner board in between the thin board you want to plane and the brass bar. There are other ways to hand plane thin boards. I don’t do a lot of that anyway.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2664 days

9 comments so far

View duckmilk's profile


4178 posts in 2095 days

#1 posted 08-03-2018 11:41 PM

nice to know CT. Did you send a comment to Lee Valley? I did that once with another Veritas tool and they responded very quickly.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2664 days

#2 posted 08-03-2018 11:51 PM

I did not initially, but after you asking I just sent them an email. There is a thorough, good video review about this product and the problem (which is how I found the solution), and it also compares QR Wonder Dog to the Veritas Surface Vise and regular Wonder Dog. I should have included that in the upper part.

But the video guy sent his suggestion for a fix to Veritas a year ago. If I had to bet, I would bet they know about this issue. It simply cannot be used by most bench planes without modifying it. Why they haven’t corrected it? No clue.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2256 days

#3 posted 08-04-2018 01:50 AM

You just gave me the idea to use one as anti racking device for my end vise :) it would be perfect.

Yeah that’s kind of funky you had to do that. They do make so great work holding and marking gear. The quick release holdfast is a champ.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2664 days

#4 posted 08-04-2018 02:50 AM

The regular Wonder Dog could run into the same issue. I think a reason this has never been addressed (just a guess) is because these things are excellent at clamping a board from the side. You put a regular bench dog on one side of a board, and then use the Wonder Dog or QR version on the other side and there is no interference.

Like this, from a YT screen grab:

Fine. But who planes boards like this? I sure as hell don’t. I do what everyone else does and lay a board parallel to the side of the bench where I’m standing because it’s not awkward going down the entire length that way.

Even if I am flattening a board with a toothed blade and attack the board from different angles, I still have the board parallel to the edge of my bench.

View robscastle's profile


7194 posts in 2974 days

#5 posted 08-04-2018 09:25 PM

Its possibly a result of what happens or more specifically what doesn’t happen with Leonard no longer around.
The eye for detail and “common sense” may also not be being exercised as well.
I think you should be recognised for your identification and ability to rectify simply the design error.
But after checking your details I find your actually dead (died 6 March 1836) and have no home.
Some strange people haunt the LJs site!

-- Regards Rob

View Oldtool's profile


2955 posts in 2961 days

#6 posted 08-06-2018 01:21 AM

Did you try putting a half inch board between the clamp and the stock?, to lower the clamping action without concern about the metal jaw interferience.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Bill_Steele's profile


705 posts in 2502 days

#7 posted 08-06-2018 02:44 PM

I do exactly what Oldtool suggested

Did you try putting a half inch board between the clamp and the stock?, to lower the clamping action without concern about the metal jaw interferience.

- Oldtool

Just enough so that the back of plane does not hit the clamp head when starting the cut.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2664 days

#8 posted 08-07-2018 02:29 AM

Yes, inserting another board would work. But I don’t want to have to find another piece of wood every time I use this, plus I use an 8 a lot and I don’t need to be wasting bench space with a board long enough for that. Went with the grinder, solves all those issues.

I did hear back from LV and they said – thank you, we’ll pass it along.
Well, OK.

View fuigb's profile


583 posts in 3728 days

#9 posted 08-29-2018 10:43 PM

I do often plane stock less than an inch with a Wonder Dog, and I use 3/8 scraps as a stand-off. Not ideal but it keeps my plane blades well away from the Dog. Sharpening is tedious to me and the fear of being careless and damaging a blade by nicking the Dog’s means that I use it less than I might, opting instead for variants on a doe’s foot. I like my Dog in some situations but I’d never buy another or recommend one. The variant in this review? Seems better than the Dog but still the proverbial accident waiting to happen.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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