LumberJocks

Low-Angle Blades--Which To Choose

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by jayseedub posted 07-07-2018 03:48 PM 1507 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jayseedub's profile

jayseedub

139 posts in 2384 days


07-07-2018 03:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: low angle lee valley planes blades cutting angles hand planes hand plane figured grain shooting

I’m about to spend my few dollars on a Lee Valley Low-Angle Jack Plane. Mind made up on that brand, that plane, after much consideration, research, and video-watching. Going to use it for shooting, primarily, though I know it’ll start to take the place of my other planes (one home-made wooden jointer, a home-made wooden jack, an old Bailey 4-1/2, and a crappy—but functional—Stanley block plane) soon for most of what I do. (I never use planes for smoothing, for what it’s worth…..)

The plane comes with a 12-degree bed angle, and a 25%-bevel blade (37-degree cutting angle).

I have allowed myself to buy ONE MORE BLADE, and they have 38- and 50-degree blades available.

I’m presuming that a 38-degree blade is going to be more versatile than the 50-degree one, but does anyone want to build a case for either one, either way?*

I don’t work with highly figured wood very much—but of course when I bump up against it, it’s a bear—and my guess is that the 50-degree bevel [62-degree cutting angle] would help toward that.

When would the 38-degree blade be best?


15 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1325 posts in 858 days


#1 posted 07-07-2018 03:58 PM

I bought a high-angle blade for my bevel up jack. I have never used it. I haven’t seen anything in my projects so far that I couldn’t take care of with the 25º. I wish now that I would have bought the toothing blade instead.
If I had a do-over, I would hold off on buying the high-angle blade until I used the plane for a while to see if I then thought it would be good to have or not. Might save you some $$$

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Andre's profile

Andre

2668 posts in 2225 days


#2 posted 07-07-2018 04:46 PM

Low angle jack is probably what I should of bought first, got the #4 L.A. smoother then the custom High angle and then a Scrapper plane, along with a #3 to #6 Stanley set with PMV-11 irons, plus many Wooden Krenov planes with Hock irons, guess what, they all have a purpose and many get used on the same project. No matter what everyone claims no one plane can do it all perfectly! IMHO.
9 out of 10 times it’s the brain controlling arm holding the plane that makes the biggest difference.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View dca's profile

dca

28 posts in 444 days


#3 posted 07-07-2018 08:32 PM

Always get the 25 degree bevel and then sharpen to whatever secondary bevel angle you’d like.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2313 days


#4 posted 07-08-2018 01:13 AM


I bought a high-angle blade for my bevel up jack. I have never used it. I haven t seen anything in my projects so far that I couldn t take care of with the 25º. I wish now that I would have bought the toothing blade instead.
If I had a do-over, I would hold off on buying the high-angle blade until I used the plane for a while to see if I then thought it would be good to have or not. Might save you some $$$

- BlasterStumps

This is good advice. Also wanted to say that I got a toothing blade with my LA Jack and that blade is terrific if you use hand tools exclusively (or almost exclusively) when you dimension wood. Even if I need to take 1/8” off a whole face, it doesn’t take a lot of time to do it with a toothed blade and you don’t have to worry about gouging up the board, which can be a serious problem with LA planes. Also, a toothed blade is great for flattening.

I use mesquite a lot and the grain in that stuff is nuts. A regular LA jack blade and toothed blade are all I need in the early stages. To clean things up after the LA, I bought a No. 4 1/2 smoother with a 55 degree frog. Card scraper also comes in handy. You don’t need a lot of blades to get jobs accomplished.

After using a LA Jack for a while I have come to believe the same as Paul Sellers, who said he suspected LV introduced a 50 degree blade to make up for the tear-out problems that the LA Jack can give you with their normal blade. It’s a solution to a problem that never had to be a problem to begin with. Rarely do I use my LA Jack on a face with a regular blade. Tooth blade, yes. Otherwise it’s usually for end grain, sometimes edge grain. Great plane to have, just know its strengths and weaknesses.

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

455 posts in 4387 days


#5 posted 07-08-2018 02:25 PM

After using a LA Jack for a while I have come to believe the same as Paul Sellers, who said he suspected LV introduced a 50 degree blade to make up for the tear-out problems that the LA Jack can give you with their normal blade.

That’s nonsense. Paul Sellers is preaching to his choir. Either than or he does not know much about planes. (Actually, since he does not appear to understand how the chipbreaker works on the Stanley #4 he favours, there is much support for the latter argument!).

BU planes, or low angle planes, as they used to be called, have tended to be made with a 12 degree bed. The original Stanley #62 – forerunner of the Veritas BU Jack – was not intended for smoothing or jointing. It was designed for planing end grain. It’s low bed together with a 25 degree bevel created a low 37 degree cutting angle. Compared this with a Stanley #4, which is 45 degrees.

The #62 is not intended for face grain. However, increase the bevel angle and you increase the cutting angle, and now we are getting somewhere. Paul Seller compared the LA Jack with a 25 degree bevel (37 degree cutting angle) with a Stanley. That is comparing apples with oranges. I emailed him on this, and he stated that he had used a high bevel on the LA Jack. This is rubbish! I have worked with BU planes for more years than most, and will state that this is impossible. A 50 degree bevel plus 12 degree bed = 62 degree cutting angle, and this will not tear out in the woods he, or you, use. I work with highly interlocked Australian woods, and have a great deal of experience in this area.

As dca stated, get a 25 degree bevel blade and add a higher secondary bevel to this. I pioneered this approach. This is essential if you plan to add a camber. I would say that for most USA woods, a 38 degree bevel will work. Go up to 45 degrees if you need. 50 degrees is you must.

I would not get a toothing blade at this stage. Using one is a slow and tedious practice. Get a #5 and use it as a jack with a 10” radius blade.

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2313 days


#6 posted 07-08-2018 05:17 PM

A 50 degree bevel plus 12 degree bed = 62 degree cutting angle, and this will not tear out in the woods he, or you, use.

Huh? No one is saying otherwise. In fact, Sellers has said: “certain hard woods as distinct from hardwoods work exceptionally well with a 50-degree bevel whether it’s the large face of the iron or the bevel that’s presented to the wood’s surface – that is, bevel up or bevel down.”
https://paulsellers.com/2014/03/questions-answered-50-degree-bevel-irons/

My LA jack using its regular blade will destroy face grain. It’s not always guaranteed but when it happens it’s ugly. I did not fully understand how bad it could be until I bought mine. The high angle blade was offered to stop this. I don’t know how this is even arguable. All you did was reword what I wrote and then say Sellers said something he never said about 50 degree irons.

My 55 degree frog smoother, even taking much lighter cuts than a 50 degree blade in a LA jack, can tear out mesquite. There are times when a scraper is the only thing that will work with that wood.

Just because I agree with Sellers in this one instance doesn’t mean I worship the guy. There are times when I am critical of what he does. Overall, I think he offers sound advice. Paul Sellers likes bevel up planes, by the way.


I would not get a toothing blade at this stage. Using one is a slow and tedious practice. Get a #5 and use it as a jack with a 10” radius blade.

Just because it’s tedious for you doesn’t make it tedious for everyone. I don’t have a power jointer or planer. I find a toothed blade to be a blessing. It is one of the best buys I’ve ever made. I’ve cambered a 5 and I’ve got a 40 1/2 scrub. Neither of them work better for me. If I need to take down more than 3/16” on a face, that’s why I have a bandsaw. I find it ludicrous to do that much work with a scrub and then fix that mess. Highly cambered blades scoop out the wood. Then you have to take out the scoops, then you smooth it. And, if you’re using the wood I use all the time (mesquite), good luck fixing the massive tearout from a scrub. A toothed blade doesn’t scoop out anything, tearout is pretty much eliminated and it’s marginally easier to push than a high angle one. For me it’s a miracle blade. I can get a board ready faster using it. I do this all the time because by hand is the only way I can do it.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2313 days


#7 posted 07-08-2018 05:17 PM

double post, sorry

View dca's profile

dca

28 posts in 444 days


#8 posted 07-08-2018 09:46 PM

You know I actually called up Lee Valley some time ago looking for strategies on how to deal with establishing the primary bevels on their thicker irons. The gentleman referred me to the very article Derek Cohen wrote that he referenced above – so that’s the recommendation directly from the manufacturer. I find that a pretty good endorsement. Pulling Sellers into a discussion on pretty much anything made in this generation is setting yourself up for frustration from my experience.

Anyway, don’t overthink it. Get your LA Jack, get another 25 degree blade (forget about the toothing iron for now), and get your grinder setup to quickly establish the primary bevel when needed. From there you put whatever secondary bevel you need quickly and efficiently and get to work.

View rjpat's profile

rjpat

48 posts in 2397 days


#9 posted 07-08-2018 10:10 PM

If you are going to be using the LAJ mainly for shooting, you would want the 25 degree blade. With a sharp blade and it tight mouth, it will face plane everything but wild grain nicely. I have a veritas shooter, so I don’t use my LAJ for shooting and have honed a 40 degree micro bevel on the 25 and it works great for unrully grain but I have gotten better at sharpening and setting the mouth and cap iron on my No. 4, so I am getting ready to go back to the 25, since I don’t need it for tearout. I can use it more affectively when doing end grain when not shooting.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2313 days


#10 posted 07-09-2018 07:47 PM

(forget about the toothing iron for now)

This has been said twice and no evidence is given why, other than “slow and tedious”, which subjective, not objective. If there are valid reasons why it is worthless, share them. If a toothed blade is worthless now, is it just as worthless later? I gave my opinion about why a toothed blade is valuable for me with multiple reasons to back them up. Am I saying a toothed blade is required for everyone? No, that’s just as ridiculous as saying they should never be used, especially since no one ever explains why they should never be used.

I’m not trying to hammer anyone here personally, all I’m saying is that if you’re gonna make a statement like this, back it up. Everyone does not do every task the same way, nor even wants to.

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

455 posts in 4387 days


#11 posted 07-10-2018 12:00 AM

Buy a toothing blade by all means. I have one. It rarely gets used. The toothing blade cuts very slowly. It is like watching paint dry. There are much better methods.

If you have to remove a lot of waste when thicknessing, use a cambered blade in a jack plane, and plane straight across the grain. That will prevent tearout. Follow this with the jointer. This is the traditional method used for centuries.

If you want to plane with the grain, use a bevel down plane with a closed down chipbreaker, or a bevel up plane with a 62 degree cutting angle. The latter is slow, however, as you will take thin shavings.

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

View Pogo930's profile

Pogo930

18 posts in 1062 days


#12 posted 07-10-2018 02:13 AM

Just be sure to get PMV-11 blades.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2313 days


#13 posted 07-10-2018 03:16 AM


Buy a toothing blade by all means. I have one. It rarely gets used. The toothing blade cuts very slowly. It is like watching paint dry. There are much better methods.

I took down two 4”x24” boards today with my toothed blade today, removed 1/8” on two faces (one face each board, the other face was already a reference face), then planed them smooth, all in less than five minutes total. There’s a big clock right beside my bench. Let’s say I used a drum sander or a power planer. I’d flatten those boards pretty fast but I’d still have to sand/plane the marks from the machines. How much time would I save? 2-3 minutes? If I were cranking out a dining set every week, using power tools would be a necessity to save tremendously with labor and time. I’m a hobbyist. Shaving off 2-3 minutes? Woopty freaking doo.

If you have to remove a lot of waste when thicknessing, use a cambered blade in a jack plane, and plane straight across the grain. That will prevent tearout.

I don’t know what “a lot of waste” means. I’ve said earlier than anything more than 3/16” I use a bandsaw. As for tearout, what you said is 100% true for many species but this method will not prevent tearout with mesquite, which is the majority of the wood I use. A standard blade will not prevent tearout, a lightly cambered blade will not, a scrub-cambered blade will not, a low-angle blade will not, a 55 degree smoother will not. The only blade I have ever used that will not tearout mesquite even with extremely aggressive cuts is a toothed blade. Otherwise, it’s a card scraper or sanding. Sometimes the wood grain is so ridiculous on larger boards or panels, it requires the use of a plane, a scraper and a sander.

Mesquite is an extremely challenging wood for hand tools. It’s the wood I started using first and I never used anything else for a long time. The first time I ever used cherry I thought I was cheating. I could not believe how easy it was to work.

Again, these are my circumstances, my experiences. Everyone is different, which is why I think saying “Do not use X” is silly because there could be times when X is the thing that works best for someone.

View dca's profile

dca

28 posts in 444 days


#14 posted 07-10-2018 06:04 AM

The original poster said he’s only allowing himself one additional blade and it’s apparent he’s looking for versatility. The toothing iron is a niche tool. That’s why I said forget the toothing blade “for now” – not “it’s worthless”.

Also, if I were the original poster he’s mentioned he has a homemade wooden jack. I’d recommend turning that into a scrub plane. I built one for that purpose and it’s a great compliment to the Low Angle Jack. I also have an old Stanley No. 5 that I used for the same purpose and I much prefer wood for a scrub plane – slides effortlessly over rough boards and since it’s so light I can use it one handed for breaking edges, etc. like you would with a block plane.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2313 days


#15 posted 07-10-2018 06:41 PM



The original poster said he s only allowing himself one additional blade and it s apparent he s looking for versatility. The toothing iron is a niche tool. That s why I said forget the toothing blade “for now” – not “it s worthless”.
- dca

OK, gotcha, thanks. Agree it is niche. But that word by itself doesn’t help someone like jayseedub understand why it’s niche.

The only reason I even mentioned a toothed blade was because BlasterStumps brought it up and I wanted to say how good it was for me – not that anyone needed to buy it. In fact, I think the best advice given so far is from BlasterStumps: Get the plane and use it. Then see what you need, if anything, down the road.

I bought my LA Jack and used it for three months before I bought a toothed blade. Until then, I was trying different methods and they were never satisfactory. Also, I bought it only after trying it out first.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com