New Veritas BU LAJ..........+ BU Vs BD

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Review by OSU55 posted 12-16-2012 06:36 PM 9049 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
New Veritas BU LAJ..........+ BU Vs BD No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had the Veritas BU LAJ for about a month now and have had the opportunity to give it a pretty good work out with a couple of projects. I pretty much agree with all the other praises of this very excellent tool, and since mine looks like all the others out there I found no need for pictures, but the forum forces you to post at least one.

  • Swift shipping, well pkg’d, arrived unharmed
  • Finish – agree with everyone else – very high. I will say this area means the least to me – for tools I won’t pay $1 because something looks better
  • Fit – very high. Surfaces well machined and smooth, adjustments all worked smoothly. I did spend some time cleaning the RP off and stoning /sanding sharp edged & small burrs. I like smooth surfaces and edges. It “breaks in” the tool and I don’t cut my knuckles as badly when I screw up some way. Blade adj has about 1/4 turn backlash.
  • Flat & Square – surfaces were probably within spec, but when I checked the sole and sides with sandpaper on a granite surface plate there was not complete surface contact, with no contact right at the mouth of the plane. It took me ~30 minutes to flatten the sole and sides completely.
  • Mouth Adj – I had read about all the hhopla, now I’m a convert. I have a couple of Stanley block planes with the lever adj. The Veritas is a big improvement – much better resolution for adjustment and the ability to loosen the front knob, slide the toe out, clear chips, and go right back to the same point is an excellent design feature.
  • Rear Tote – It’s a bit too upright for me. I think I would prefer 1/2 way between the Stanley and Veritas angles. Length and diameter fit my #10 hands pretty well.

Edit – Here are details & drawings for a custom tote.

  • Blade – Thick, flat, sharp – what else can you say? I have the 25° A2 blade and a 38° PM-V11 blade. I’m looking forward to evaluating the PM-V11 over time. I felt it was worth an extra $15 to try out this new material. I like the blade adj screws near the mouth. I used them to center blade and backed them off slightly. I haven’t needed to move them again, even for blade changes.
  • Performance – EXCELLENT. 1st rate at finishing surfaces with the 38° blade I also purchased. Far easier to keep flat while jointing an edge compared to my #5 or #7 Stanleys due to the lower center of gravity (I don’t notice any CG benefit planning a wide surface). I have modified my Veritas jointer fence to work with the BU LAJ by adding threaded holes above the existing holes and taking a brass screw and cutting it down to leave a ~1/8” rod which engages the plane casting in the same way as a BD bench plane. The low angle is great for the shooting board and other end grain cuts. The blade adjustments of this plane have far more resolution than the Stanley style bevel down planes. I have not used a Veritas BD bench plane so there may be some comparative improvement there. Which leads me too…...

The bevel up vs bevel down part. After using the BU LAJ for a while and switching back and forth between it and my #7 Stanley leveling and finishing some cabinet panels and tops, 3 big advantages for the BU became apparent: 1) blade removal/installation, 2) blade adjustment resolution, 3) Mouth adj.

Blade removal/installation: Just easier and quicker to do versus the BD. No cap iron and screw to mess with & the cutting edge returns to the previous position. All of my BD planes require me to readjust for blade projection if I remove the blade. Just a lot of slop in all of the contact areas. This is not enough of a difference for me to go to BD planes, however…………..

Blade Adjustment Resolution: After working with the BU LAJ and the BD planes and experiencing how much easier the BU was to adjust for skew and depth, my engineering mind had to put it into quantifiable terms. Skew adj is pretty easy to quantify. Sine of the plane bedding angle gets there. A 1° blade skew at 45° bed angle results in a 0.707° blade skew to the working surface. The same 1° skew at 12° bed angle results in a 0.208° blade skew to the working surface. This amounts to a 3.4:1 resolution difference between a low angle bed Vs a standard 45° pitch, which becomes more exaggerated as the BD bedding angle increases. Think about your experience, or the comments you’ve read, about how a LA plane requires much more blade camber to result in the same effect on the surface. Essentially, the LA blade needs 3.4 times the camber to get the same result.

My #7 Stanley, with a 2-3/8” blade, can be a real pain to get dialed in parallel to the working surface. Many will comment that is why they camber the blade. I just don’t like cambering blades – my purely personal preference (I radius the corners to prevent lines). I use a wide plane for a wide, efficient cut, and I don’t want to cut the width down. The BU LAJ is a dream come true. Between the previously mentioned skew resolution and the blade positioning screws, the BU LAJ is easily adjusted in and the screws help maintain it.

Blade projection adjustment has about 1.6 more resolution for the BU LAJ vs a BD. The Norris adj. has RH and LH threads which multiply the motion, resulting in an effective 14.9 TPI, 1 turn = 0.067”. At 12° bed angle, this equals 0.0139” blade projection per turn.

I measured my #5 Bailey plane @ ~ 0.022” per turn blade projection. With a 24 TPI adjuster nut which results in 0.042” per turn, blade projection changes by sin 45° x 0.042” = 0.0295” per turn. I still need to measure the yoke for lever ratio, but 0.022” to 0.025” is the probable result. EDIT 12/19/12 – I was able to get a better measurement on my Stanley #5 blade projection ~0.010” per turn. The yoke measured right at a 3:1 ratio, so the TPI, bed angle, yoke ratio, and measurement all add up. I suspect the greatly improved backlash provides an impression of improved resolution.

Mouth Adj – My Stanley bench planes require removing the blade and adjusting the frog – a real pia compared to loosening the front tote and adjusting the screw. With the Stanleys I end up with frog/blade skew. I’m sure a bedrock version is much better, but still not as easy. Veritas and some other BD bench planes have much improved adjustments that may equalize this area (but can’t change cutting angle).

Another item in the BU vs BD debate is blade backside wear. The 12° relief for BU planes does not provide as much room for fiber spring back resulting in more wear than for a BD plane. I’m sure the wear is there, but it has not been an issue for me. Forratio me it seems the edge needs touched up before any real wear occurs. This remains an area for evaluation over time.

For now, I’m completely sold on BU planes. If I did not have a bench plane, I would buy 3 – BU jointer, jack, and smoother, with multiple blades for each. The ability to easily switch blades out for the job at hand (to change pitch – Low, std, York, whatever) and the much finer mouth adjustment resolution are the deciding factors for me. The lower CG while jointing is icing on the cake. This would help save storage space in my overcrowded shop, but I realize it puts a damper on the “Honey I need a new tool for xyz……….”.

View OSU55's profile


2646 posts in 2761 days

8 comments so far

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3348 days

#1 posted 12-16-2012 08:51 PM

You did good. She’s a caddy. :-)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View seriousturtle's profile


101 posts in 4102 days

#2 posted 12-16-2012 09:30 PM

I just bought the smoother BU and love it as well. I don’t know if I’m up for trying to camber to get rid of plane tracks. I usually just end up taking light passes, then move on to scrapers.

-- ~the turtle

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4349 days

#3 posted 12-16-2012 10:29 PM

Thanks for the review,interesting.


View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3269 days

#4 posted 12-17-2012 12:40 AM

A most thorough review, thank you. I appreciate the lessons in geometry very much.
You did touch upon the real problem with these planes – blade backside wear. I have the BU jointer, smoother and jack from Veritas with half a dozen different irons. The back wear can be considerable and is enormously difficult to get out. I’m coaching myself to lift these heavy guys after every stroke or run back on a rounded side edge to help minimize the problem. Still, I love them.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View CL810's profile


4039 posts in 3760 days

#5 posted 12-17-2012 01:39 AM

This is probably the best review I’ve read on LJ’S – thanks!

I have the BU smoother and It is my favorite plane.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View rkober's profile


137 posts in 3064 days

#6 posted 12-17-2012 09:18 PM

Thanks for the review and congratulations. Seriousturtle FWIW I cambered my smoother iron and really like the performance. If you haven’t looked at them already, Bill at R&B makes great totes to solve the geometry problem (my $.02:

-- Ray - Spokane, WA - “Most people don’t recognize opportunity because it’s usually disguised as hard work.” - Unknown

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3956 days

#7 posted 12-17-2012 11:50 PM

I have a question about using this plane, since I recently picked one up too. The only problem I have is with fine shavings getting sucked back through the mouth and stuck as I retract the plane for the next cut/pass over the wood. It happens almost every time I slide the plane back for another cut (unless I physically lift it off the board before placing back at the front… a pain in the ass to do each time). This is especially frustrating on shooting board usage. Is there a way around this? My BD planes don’t have this problem (at least not frequently).

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View OSU55's profile


2646 posts in 2761 days

#8 posted 12-19-2012 10:23 PM

Shavings pulled back through the mouth – I don’t have the issue because I pick the plane up after every stroke…...On s shooting board I do run into it. I also see the issue with low angle block planes. Bench planes tend to break the end grain chips more due to the steeper cutting angle. I get more “ribbons” with the low cutting angle, and they tend to get dragged back through the mouth. Wetting the end grain with mineral spirits tends to help with this – the chips and ribbons stick to the upper side, and it makes the plane easier to push through.

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