Hand Tools Archive

Re: Dangerous Question
Response To:
Dangerous Question ()

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Tony, the two smoothers I use the most are a bronze LN #3 and a Veritas Custom #4 (I would have purchased a #3 if this had been available). Both work very well, and both have strengths and weaknesses. Nothing is perfect. Think of the ideosyncracies of each as just being their respective personality.

I prefer the lateral adjuster if the Bailey/LN design over the Norris adjuster of the Custom as it can be more easily adjusted on the fly. However, both only get you into the ballpark and neither are good enough to be as exact as I would prefer.

All final adjustments are made with a small and light jewellers hammer, by tapping the side of the blade.

Fore- and aft blade projection is easier on the Custom. The adjustable mouth of this plane also facilitates quick clearing of shavings. Plus, adjusting the chipbreaker becomes less complicated on the Custom once you get used to the different system (I shall not get into this here). The more familiar chipbreaker of the LN will initially cause one to be frustrated with the small screws on the Custom (as noted earlier, a different method reverses the situation).

The ergonomics of the planes I have are similar. In part, this is because the handles are similar - the Custom comes with a choice and I went with one that is similar to the Bailey design. The #3 size handle on the LN is small, and I swapped mine out for a #4 size (needed a little tweaking to fit).

Great planes, both.

Regards from Perth


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