Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane

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Review by Gofor posted 11-22-2010 05:25 AM 10753 views 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane Click the pictures to enlarge them

Purchasing: Done online, no problems, and delivered well packaged on the date promised.

Quality: Very impressed. All parts are closely machined and close tolerance. Sole flat, sides square, and irons sharp, but I did hone them with 2000 grit wet/dry paper (scary sharp method) and green buffing compound.

Comparability: Comes in a little larger than a Bailey #5 (more like 5 1/2), in width, length and weight. Iron width is 2 1/4” vs #5 Bailey at 2” and #6 at 2 3/8”. Handle is more up-right and a bit deeper. Mouth is about the same from the back of sole, but further back from the toe. Casting is heavier. Other than that, it is two different technologies as far as iron advancement, mouth adjustment, lateral control. Iron angle of attack is controlled by the bevel, so is easily modified to the woods characteristics.

Versatility: With the three different irons, [Bevels of 25 (comes standard with plane), 38 and 50 degrees) it attacks the wood at 37, 50, and 62 degrees respectively. The angle of attack can be modified by changing the bevel. I tried all three on face grain (gnarly knotted white oak and black walnut), edge grain (white oak, walnut, purple heart, and cocobola) and end grain with shooting board (white oak, pine, walnut and cocobola).

The bevels definitely make a difference.

The 25 bevel is easy to use, but readily results in tear out on face smoothing when running into opposing grain. Bad tear-out on the knotty white oak face, but not as bad as the Baileys on the edge grain. Slid through the black walnut and purple heart edges like butter. Did superbly on all end grain except the cocobola (ended up having to re-sharpen the blade as it put minor nicks in the iron. In all fairness, Lee-Valley’s instructions suggested that a 30 degree micro-bevel is better suited for some woods). Some shooting board end grain cuts of white oak, walnut and pine are pictured.

The 38 bevel (basically York pitch as used) did well in all except the white oak face, where again I had tear-out. Seemed to be easier to push than the 45 pitch Bailey, but that may have been due to the added mass. This will probably be my most used all-around iron.

The 50 bevel was a complete surprise, and a pleasant one at that. More umph needed on the knotty white oak face smoothing, but it had minimal tear-out that I cannot say was the plane’s fault. I need to get more experienced at the proper mouth setting as well as depth for the difficult woods. On the edge and the end grain, it performed flawlessly, and was the best to use on the cocobola (left no tear-out on the intermittent grain). Pushed as easily as the Baileys and actually cuts curls on smooth grain (I expected chips).

Ease of adjustment: This is the easiest plane to adjust that I own. The mouth adjustment is made by loosening the front knob, but also has an adjustable stop so that you can prevent hitting the iron edge and micro-adjust the gap. SWEET!. Lateral adjustment is made by swinging the depth adjustment knob, but can be controlled by set screws in the sides to keep an iron square to the sole if not ground perfectly.

Summary: Very well crafted tool that worked great right out-of-the-box. It is different than the Stanley/Bailey in the tote, but I did not find that a problem. In fact, I think it made me more conscious of pushing straight rather than downward, which I found benefited me when I used the Stanley’s. It is more versatile with pitch modification and easier in mouth adjustment.

Caveats: I am not a Galoot. I do have and use hand planes, but this plane now gives me a target of performance to shoot for when re-tuning my others. I tried not to let the fact that this is my newest and most expensive (by far for this ol’ miser) hand tool affect my judgment, but cannot say that those factors may not have influenced my evaluation. It does out-perform the other 8 hand planes I own. IMHO it is well worth the price to me.


-- Go

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 4555 days

11 comments so far

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4080 days

#1 posted 11-22-2010 02:18 PM

Nice review Go.

I have been on the Lee Valley site and looked at this plane, but as I am still a newbie to using the few planes that I have, I did not know exactly how this plane would normally be used.

I was thinking that it was like a giant cousing to my little low angle block plane used for trimming end grain.

However with the different irons that you got with it, will you use it as you would a #5 and then switch irons if you are planing end grain??

Sounds like you could from the review, but again I am still pretty ignorant on this subject.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3963 days

#2 posted 11-22-2010 09:14 PM

Great review, I ordered this plane earlier today with the 2 extra blades. Glad to see you like it. It is my first plane besides my veritas low angle block plane I was hoping to get a bit of a 3 for 1 deal with this plane and the 3 different blades. You detailed trials above is going to save me some time fine tuning it.


-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View OttawaP's profile


89 posts in 4494 days

#3 posted 11-23-2010 01:26 AM

This is a great plane. It was my first full size plane after an LV block plane and it has performed wonderfully. Since then I have spent way to much money on a few others but in my opinion it is the best plane to start a very bad habit with. Just beware, LV planes are habit forming.

-- Paul

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 4555 days

#4 posted 11-23-2010 09:20 PM


I use the “Jack” size more than any other planes. This one will see use for dimensioning, edge jointing, and smoothing. Because of the square sides, I will also be using it on a shooting board to square up ends.

I will most likely use it with the 38 bevel (50 degree pitch) for most work, switching to the 50 degree bevel if I start running into tear-out. (Beings I like to use quarter-sawed oak, that is certain to happen quite often). I will use the low angle blade for end trimming, and maybe for dimensioning, depending on the wood.

At this point, I have a lot of options and will have to learn which works best in which situation. Being used to the Stanley 45 degree pitch, I feel I have a lot of surprises waiting for me. Almost like starting over again, but that’s part of the fun!! Maybe a year from now I will be able to tell you which bevels I end up using most, and they may not be the factory supplied ones.

Paul: Why are “bad” habits so much fun?!!


-- Go

View OttawaP's profile


89 posts in 4494 days

#5 posted 11-24-2010 03:02 PM

I’d suggest if you buy more blades, just get them all at 25 deg. and adjust the honing to whatever angle you wish. That way the blade is not “stuck” only at 50 deg or whatever and can be used for anything with little effort.

-- Paul

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4038 days

#6 posted 11-25-2010 01:57 AM

Great review…I have this plane and got it specifically to use on my shooting board. I have nothing but praise for this product….and the workmanship is very good. This plane is not a Lie Nielsen but it is as close as you can get for the money.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 4555 days

#7 posted 11-25-2010 03:29 AM

Paul, I agree. Good point. As for what I bought, more use today confirmed the 38 and 50 degree will get enough use that I did not cause myself a lot of problems, but you are dead on correct about the 25 being the easiest to change, especially with the A2 alloy.


-- Go

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 4110 days

#8 posted 11-25-2010 06:01 AM

Thanks for the review. Have you tried the toothed blade? I am very curious about the bevel up plane and toothed blade combo.

-- Marc

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 4555 days

#9 posted 11-26-2010 02:18 AM

I have never tried a toothed blade.


-- Go

View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3589 days

#10 posted 11-29-2010 09:54 PM

My Veritas Bevel up and Veritas spokeshave are 2 of the most used things I own.

Both are perfect tools. I will pay those prices when the tool is perfect.

Both these came with very finely honed blades when I bought them. However replacement blades came looking like they were honed with 120 sandpaper.

I have heard rumblings that Veritas is having some trouble with supplier consistancy. That would be a shame because thats what drives companies overseas.

View Rxmpo's profile


270 posts in 4513 days

#11 posted 03-18-2011 01:13 AM

I purchased this tool at the Woodshow in NJ a few weeks ago and I cannot believe it took me this long to get into the hand tool pool. Being pretty much self/LJ”s/Wood Whisperer taught, I was not sure I was ready to take the plunge. This was my year.

The salesman from Lee Valley suggested the low angle Jack plane for my first hand plane because just a changing the blade will change the function of the tool. A three in one tool. Well, I got it in the mail and right out of the box it created some of the most beautiful shavings I have ever seen. (MY first hand plane.) Forget sand paper, the light hits the maple I’m working with now and it reflects all the little detail in the wood.

Five stars.

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