LV Router Plane woes

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Forum topic by woodynoob posted 07-02-2015 03:22 PM 1664 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View woodynoob's profile


2 posts in 2740 days

07-02-2015 03:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tool router plane lee valley veritas

I’ve decided to get more control over my tenon trimming, so was looking for a vintage router plane to add to my toolbox. Nothing came up locally so I bit the bullet and bought Lee Valley’s router plane. It’s beautiful with those bubinga handles, but….

There’s a problem that I’m hoping is a manufacturing issue or even user error…
In the first picture below, you will see the blade holder on the right in all black. The adjustment screw is on the left and controlled by a nice sized knurled brass knob. Underneath the knob is a flange that will “trap” the blade holder , so that the blade is forced to move upwards and downwards as the knob is tightened or loosened. This is good. The bad part is there is a gap between the flange and the blade holder. A bit more than 1/64”.

Why is this a problem? There are two actually. #1: When trimming, I take too deep a cut, so need to back it off. I would like to move back 1/32”, so turn the knob counterclockwise once. Still too deep! Why? Because of the 1/64” gap between the flange and the tool, you will need to remember to add on a 1/2 turn to bring the adjustment knob/flange up in contact with the blade holder. If you are wanting to do even finer tuning up and down (1/4 turn), then you have to turn a lot more than necessary.

#2: (This is the worse problem) So, in the example above, I realize that my cut is too aggressive, so back it off 1/32” (1/2 turn to engage the blade holder with the adjustment flange and then one full turn to raise the blade 1/32”). After making my cut, I want to lower the blade by 1/64”, so that’s 1/2 turn to re-engage the blade/flange and then another 1/2 turn to move. I do this. As I move to make the cut, the blade attempts to take off 1/32” instead!! Why? Because of the 1/64” gap, the blade dropped an additional 1/64”!

Now, if you look on LV’s website, this image clearly shows there should be no gap between the flange and the blade holder.

For my latest project, I worked around the problem by remembering to add in another 1/2 turn plus whenever I changed direction with the blade (depth-wise), I would push (or pull) the blade to ensure it is engaged with the flange. Also, I would tighten the locking knob more than is likely good for the plane.

This is a complicated way of saying that this expensive and beautiful router plane has a lot of slop in it! I’d like some feedback. Have others experienced this? Do you have this issue with the vintage planes? If you spot user error, please speak up! BTW, Lee Valley is closed today for a holiday (Canada Day)...

9 replies so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


3131 posts in 3258 days

#1 posted 07-02-2015 03:34 PM

I always adjust the blade in its downward travel until it contacts the surface of the material, and then advance the adjustment. If you have to back off the adjustment, you should start the same way. Back it off until there is no contact, then start to advance from there. There is no way to make small adjustments backing off the adjuster. It is the same for regular hand planes. Incremental adjustments should only be made going deeper into the cut, not shallower.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View JayT's profile


6438 posts in 3494 days

#2 posted 07-02-2015 03:43 PM

I have a vintage Stanley 71 router plane and it has some backlash, as well, probably more than your Veritas. The reality is that there has be some space there between the parts. Otherwise the metal wouldn’t move at all because it’s machined too tight. I don’t know about you, but I want the ability to quickly and easily make depth adjustments as I work, not have to get out Vise-grips to make an adjustment because the tolerances are so tight.

Solution is as Paul described, always adjust the cut deeper, never shallower. If you need less depth, back off more than necessary and work back to the desired depth. One you have done this once and the blade is properly engaged, then each successive turn of the depth wheel will be consistent and accurate.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 2459 days

#3 posted 07-02-2015 03:48 PM

Just to as the obvious have you called lee valley? I expect there to be some backlash in the adjustment but I would expect it to be repeatable in both directions.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Mattyboy's profile


50 posts in 2361 days

#4 posted 07-02-2015 04:02 PM

I have the same LV router plane and really love it. The little bit of play in the depth adjustment is not a problem after you get used to it. Like others have said, start barely touching the tenon cheek and work down in small increments.

I would also say not to worry about 32nds or 64ths. Test your tenon fit after each successive depth adjustment to know how much or little to adjust the blade.

-- Matt, Northern CA

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

491 posts in 2964 days

#5 posted 07-02-2015 04:15 PM

I have the Lie-Nielsen version and it has some backlash as well so I think it’s just the nature of these planes. Like others I tend to adjust down and if I have to raise the iron I will go past where I want to and work back down. Another thing I find myself doing without really even thinking about it is leaving the locking nut tight enough to hold the bar but still allow the iron to be adjusted. Think about the tension needed to adjust you bench plane irons. Than I can feel when the adjuster takes hold by the increased force needed to turn it and adjust it in very small increments. The only thing here is after you lock down the locking nut turn the adjuster back up until it stops at the upper end so it can give additional support to the iron similar to when adjusting a plane iron you always want tension on the knob.

However overall if it’s a hidden joint as long as the tenon clears the bottom I don’t worry about it to much and for exposed joinery I tend to work to scribe lines not measurements which are easy to hit with a router plane as you can rest the tip of the iron in the scribe line and lock the plane down to that.

View JohnChung's profile


422 posts in 3357 days

#6 posted 07-02-2015 05:39 PM

I own the LV router.

Here is my take on things. Increasing or lowering the blade height the tool holder needs to rest on the flange all the time. Once the blade height is adjusted. Press down slightly on the tool holder with your index finger while tightening down the locking knob. The blade height should not move from the adjustment.

View Redoak49's profile


5417 posts in 3272 days

#7 posted 07-02-2015 05:55 PM

Almost all tools with adjustments have a back lash. My table saw, thickness planer, router lift, planes, etc all have it.

I think it something you get used to and work with it.

I think you should write the mfg before posting a complaint.

View woodynoob's profile


2 posts in 2740 days

#8 posted 07-02-2015 08:29 PM

I appreciate all the feedback. The project I finished a couple weeks back forced me to adopt the suggestions above, as there really was no choice if I wanted to use the tool. By the end of trimming, I found myself not thinking about it—just automatically did: 1) Loosen the locking knob. 2) push/pull the blade toward the other part of the flange 3) Perform the 1/2 turn 4) Test the engagement 5) Set the depth 6) Tighten the locking knob.

I still don’t like that half of these steps (2-4) are unnecessary if the gap was much smaller. The tool works so smoothly and precisely otherwise, it’s a bit of surprise.

Interestingly enough, I played with a vintage 71 a few weeks back and did not notice backlash to this extent. (I’ll need to go get my hands on it again and verify.) Would those with Stanley vintage and LN tools mind measuring this backlash? It’s easy to measure. For example, each turn of the LV plane is 1/32” and this backlash is 1/2 turn, so it’s 1/64” in my plane and I verified that with a feeler gauge and caliper.

Thanks also for giving me the correct term—backlash! Internet searches helped me understand it better and also gave me an idea for fixing it (thin brass washer).

By the way, I love Lee Valley. Their tools are beautiful and the catalog has kept me awake nights. I’m on their “advisory board” and look at everything new that comes in. Their customer service has always been very responsive wrt to returns. I’ve never needed tech support before and figured that the woodworking community would give a broader spectrum of answers. I did talk to them a little while ago and they confirmed that this is just the way the tool works with the only suggestion being to strip it down, clean with acetone and re-lubricate.

View Robert's profile


4783 posts in 2764 days

#9 posted 07-02-2015 08:43 PM

This is common in all tools with blades that can be advanced.

You always want the pressure going toward the cutting edge.

You’ll get used to it.

You still have a very nice tool there.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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