Nice scraper but difficult sweet spot

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Review by Chelios posted 01-02-2011 06:17 PM 8417 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Nice scraper but difficult sweet spot No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I got this scraper plane to see if I could get better results during surface prep for finishing. It cost $235 from the Lie Nielsen web page.

The finish on the plane is flawless. It is a beauty and coming out of the box it created a lot of anticipation on what it was going to do for me. It has a very nice heft to it and a great blade. I honed the blade sharp like I do for all my planes and I started working with it. Right away I realized that this scraper was not going to be easy to master. The first and most difficult thing to do is to match the angle or like I called it find the scraper sweet spot. If you ever used a card scraper you know what I mean. A card scraper performs just right at a certain angle and one uses your hands to adjust quickly to the sweet spot. This is why it is very easy for me to find the angle with my hands because you get instant feedback as you move your hands slightly forward or back.

With the scraper plane you have to do the same back and forth adustment with the knobs until you find the sweet spot. I tried several techniques like putting a burr on the edge, finding the angle by hand and then matching it on the scraper, etc. The best results I got were with a slight burr and matching the angle by hand. The plane did its job but then I found that you quickly go from obtaining shavings to dust and you have to continue adjusting the angle. All this messing with the angle back and forth takes all the fun out of using a tool until the job is done.

So out of frustration with it I just sharpened the blade, found a setting that works and use it to scrape off glue lines from lamination work. It does a decent job with this.

So I gave it 3 stars because the plane is beautifully crafted but it is not a utilitarian plan. It is more of planets aligning before it works kind of tool. Ok so I am exaggerating but it really takes so much set up time before it works that it is just not a time saver. I ‘d rather sand or hand scrape.

Anyway I hope this review is helpful and I wish everyone the best in 2011.

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3872 days

16 comments so far

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4271 days

#1 posted 01-02-2011 07:37 PM

im curious about scraper planes, but have always heard good things about them. are you sure that you’re setting up the blade correctly? i was under the impression that they’re supposed to be sharpened differently from card scrapers… if you’re used to card scrapers maybe you’re defaulting into the wrong setup?

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568 posts in 3872 days

#2 posted 01-02-2011 08:25 PM

I have tried both ways (secondary bevel on the 45 deg, just like a plane and with a burnished burr) and been using it now for about 8 months so I am not saying it isn’t me but it is not an easy one to set up. To clarify, I have been successful using it but it takes so much fiddling with it that it is not a fun time for me.

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4271 days

#3 posted 01-02-2011 08:32 PM

interesting. you might like to check out rob porcaro’s blog. He has a big writeup about his scraper plane and made it seem pretty effortless.

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3872 days

#4 posted 01-02-2011 08:48 PM

Thanks for the link. It is really interesting with good insight. He points out something that is key that I missed is the ability to bow the blade on the veritas, which is a tool I will look into.

He also makes the point regarding the LN. Here I quote some of his text

“The folks at Veritas have, fortunately for us, a healthy obsession with scraping, and one product of this is their superb Scraping Plane which has a variable blade angle and the ability to bow the .055″ blade. I once owned a Kunz version but it lacked the ability to bow the blade. Lie-Nielsen makes a similarly large scraper plane, an excellent tool, but its much thicker blade is a different working approach which I found too fastidious to deal with.”

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3921 days

#5 posted 01-02-2011 08:49 PM

thank´s for a realy good rewiew
even thow its not a tool for you
I think its very nice of you to share the negative thought´s on the plane
instead of only positive reactions
on Veitas and Lie – Nielsen all the time after all they both are factery made and not
made one at a time so of course they will have some minor things too or a big flop from
time to time

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4271 days

#6 posted 01-02-2011 08:59 PM

wow didn’t realize there could be such a variety in scraping planes. interesting. thanks for the review :_)

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3872 days

#7 posted 01-02-2011 09:23 PM

Thanks guys, I always learn something new on here.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3881 days

#8 posted 01-02-2011 11:28 PM

Thank you for the excellent review. I appreciate your candor.

I recently acquired a used Stanley 112 scraper plane. It seems like a good deal and I was curious about scraper planes. I have not sharpened up the blade or tested it out yet.

I’m pretty comfortable with card scrapers and I thought (what do I know) that the scraper plane would be easier to use than a card scraper and better suited to bigger jobs. In the next few weeks I will find out.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 4148 days

#9 posted 01-02-2011 11:31 PM

Thanks for the post as I had wondered how good these planes are to work with. I will stick with my #80 and card scraper.

-- Marc

View jsheaney's profile


141 posts in 4795 days

#10 posted 01-02-2011 11:48 PM

I bought the Lee Valley scraper plane because it is more adjustable (the bowing adjustment is very useful). Having said that, it too is pretty finicky. I think it is the nature of the beast. I generally don’t take the time to fuss with it because it’s easier to just set up a card scraper. The blade on the scraper plane does seem to last longer than a card scraper, but you it faster to set up a card scraper and you can use more of it. I’ve actually found myself pulling the blade out of the plane and just using the blade like a card scraper. :)

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

View Ken90712's profile


17888 posts in 3995 days

#11 posted 01-03-2011 01:56 AM

Great review! They can be pricey but nice when they work

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3587 days

#12 posted 01-03-2011 02:37 AM

I’ll second the dificulty in setting up-keeping the plane in adjustment. I also have the big Veritas model and while it does it’s job and the bowing is a help it realy looks good on my shelf. Better for me is their small scraper plane, out of the box it has been a joy. I also have their card scraper holder and that REALY shines, weither (who deleted my spell check ?) with their card scraper in it or an old Stanley or one of my home mades from a discarded saw blade.

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Steve Rathke's profile

Steve Rathke

27 posts in 4519 days

#13 posted 01-08-2011 05:29 AM

I got the LN version after trying each at a wookorking show. I havent used it yet, i read an article in popular woodworking by David Charlesworth who advocates the burr. Deneb Puchalski at LN says no burr works better. Thaks for the input you all give here. I weigh it and may sell mine if it dosent work out.
- Steve

View pate's profile


3 posts in 3331 days

#14 posted 06-27-2011 11:48 PM

I was up at LN last week with my scraper. They took my plane, sharpened the blade, 45 degree etc, then put it in the body at about 15 degrees. They simply set it on a flat surface, pushed the blade to meet the flat surface and tighted the screw to hold the blade. Then used a small hammer to lightly tap the blade to the adjust the blade to take a thin cut.
I played around with it for an hour at the LN showroom and had good success.

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4271 days

#15 posted 06-28-2011 03:52 AM

that’s kind of how I set up my recently handmade wooden plane :-)

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