Even Better With A Few Modifications

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Review by OSU55 posted 10-21-2014 09:38 PM 6748 views 11 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Even Better With A Few Modifications No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had one of these for about 2-1/2 years. Typical of Lee Valley / Veritas tools, everything’s great. You can read all about adjustments, available blades, and the rest in the manual from their website. The tool provides excellent results, but does have a learning curve, and there are a couple of things that make it an even better tool.

Initially I ended up with an overly aggressive cut. It would dig in and stop, spin around, sometimes feeling like a slot car on a wiggly piece of track or something. I tried it with and without a hook, set the blade with the frog at different angles, got confused on which way the adjustment nuts turned for a deeper cut………….more than a bit frustrating. I’d put the thing away for a while before I threw it across the room. After many sessions of working with it I finally started to get things sorted.

Imagine this………I get the best results following Lee Valley’s instructions! What a concept, huh? I sharpen and hook the blade as instructed (I highly recommend an actual burnisher of very hard steel or carbide and not an old drill bit or screwdriver. I tried a piece of precision rod at 60 Rc and it did not work as well as the small $10 carbide burnisher LV sells). I back off the frog angle to 5° or so. Put the plane on something FLAT (a piece of glass or granite works best, “flat” wood or mdf isn’t that flat, and yes the blade can set into soft material) to get the blade perfectly even with the sole across the sole. Remember to back out the blade bow screw. Tighten the blade, then back off the frog angle ~ ¼ turn. Put just the slightest bow in the blade with the screw – ¼- ½ turn after blade contact. Then start making passes and increasing blade angle slowly until contact is heard and it delivers small, whisper shavings. I can keep it there or increase blade angle SLIGHTLY to increase the cut. Remember, it’s a scraper, not a plane. That wide blade is a handful to push with just a little too much depth. Too much depth and a blade not perfect with the sole creates spinouts. A small hammer (brass is best) can be used to tap the blade to get a more centered cut. Remember to back the blade off since the tapping probably advanced it.

Another common issue with this tool is sniping the exit edge because of the wide mouth. Keeping down pressure on the tote at the end of the stroke will prevent this (proper plane stroke method :<)

With the 0.055” blade that comes with the plane, I found sometimes I just could not get a mixed grain surface just right. The blade had enough flex that it would leave slight unevenness as it transitioned from straight to tougher grain sections and back again. I tried a 1/8” thick 2” wide HSS plane blade from a wooden plane, and it smoothed those areas right out. So, I purchased the thicker A2 blade from LV, which has worked out very well. Then I discovered my tool room guys at work had some 3/32” O1 tool steel, so I had them cut a couple of blade blanks and heat treat to ~52 Rc. This intermediate thickness provides the best of both worlds – a thicker blade that doesn’t flex, but can still be slightly bowed. Ron Hock sells 3/32” O1 scraper plane blades that will fit this plane.

A modification to the plane is stolen directly from Paul Hamler’s plane scraper insert. The plane comes with two nuts on the screw shaft that adjusts the frog angle. All the front nut does is keep the frog and the shaft from flopping around when the blade is unloaded. The rear nut takes the load when the blade is cutting. Hamler’s insert used a spring instead of a 2nd nut, and this works very well for the LV plane. The exact specs of the spring really don’t matter. I cut the spring so when fully compressed the frog was upright, and then applied load through most of the forward arc of the frog. The benefit of this arrangement is the blade angle adjustment can be made with one finger while stroking the plane, making blade adjustments much faster. The pictures below show the O1 blade and the spring installed.

Edit: To add the spring, remove the frog adjustment screw. Ref the middle picture. The brass pivot mounted in the back of the frog that the adjuster screw mounts into has an allen head set screw just visible in the picture. Remove the set screw (RH thread) and the adjuster screw will back out. I had to use small vice grips with wood taped on the jaws to grip the threads of the adjuster screw to back it out. The threads are typical RH.

One other modification is a different tote handle with a more forward angle. It splits the difference between the LV and Stanley tote designs. You can find modified LV tote drawings in my blog.

As delivered the Veritas Scraper Plane is an excellent tool. These simple modifications make it even better. If you haven’t been able to get one of these to work just right, I urge you to keep working with it. There were a few time I was about ready to give up. I put it up for another day. Eventually I realized how sensitive the adjustments are and a little can go a long way with these. Once you do get the hang off, I think you will like the results.

View OSU55's profile


2647 posts in 2762 days

7 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile


8908 posts in 3349 days

#1 posted 10-21-2014 11:19 PM

Thanks for shortening the learning curve, much appreciated.

View 489tad's profile


3839 posts in 3784 days

#2 posted 10-21-2014 11:24 PM

Great review.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View jdh122's profile


1163 posts in 3590 days

#3 posted 10-22-2014 09:54 AM

Thanks for the review. I have one of these and am still at the early stage, having found it extremely frustrating. You’ve motivated me to take another try with it. Do you have any experience with the thicker blade?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View OSU55's profile


2647 posts in 2762 days

#4 posted 10-22-2014 02:29 PM

Yes, reference paragraph 5. the 0.055” blade will work for most situations. I wouldn’t recommend getting a thicker blade until you can get the 0.055” blade to work. I can’t over emphasize how sensitive the blade adjustment is. Once the blade can be heard barely scraping the surface but only producing dust, an 1/8 of a turn may be all it takes. The spring modification makes adjustments less frustrating. Also, the surface to be scraped should have already been planed pretty flat with a smoother.

Initial blade set is important. The hard surface to set the plane on and the plane sole should be clear of all dust – the blade needs to be parallel across the sole by less than a 0.001”. The total cut depth you are after is 0.0005 to .001”, so a slightly tilted blade causes off center cuts, making the plane want to spin out. Amount of down force will make a difference as well.

View runswithscissors's profile


3099 posts in 2798 days

#5 posted 10-22-2014 09:27 PM

If the adjusting screw is removable, I would suggest cutting a slot in the end of it so you can use a screwdriver instead of padded vice grips. You’d probably have to clean up the threads after cutting the slot. I’d use an angle grinder with a 1/16” grinding disk.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View jdh122's profile


1163 posts in 3590 days

#6 posted 10-22-2014 09:31 PM

Oops. Sorry I missed the entire paragraph about the thicker blade…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Oldtool's profile


2955 posts in 2963 days

#7 posted 10-24-2014 02:33 AM

Glad you posted this review, I purchased this scraper plane about 5 years ago, had experiences like yours, and its been in box ever since. Guess I’ll give it another try, following your & Veritas’ instructions this time.

-- "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

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