Hand Tools

Re: LV replacement cap irons...... *LINK*

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Hi Roger

I wrote up a comparison of the LV, LN, Clifton (two-piece), Hock, and Stanley chipbreakers in late 2013 (link below). I would like to update this piece now, since my use of chipbreakers has dominated in the past 5 years.

At that time I much preferred the solid style of the LV and LN over the thinner and flexier Stanley. I still dislike the Clifton, as the toe section can move. I have not changed my position in these areas. However, there are changes I would now make to the solid chipbreakers.

What I would like to see in the solid types is a slight bend to add a little spring. What I dislike about the Stanley is that it has too much spring. Too little spring in the solid types makes the leading edge vulnerable to opening up, which is especially bad news when the chipbreaker is placed very close to the edge of the blade. Too much spring makes it easier for the hump to compress and the chipbreaker move forward .. and over the front of the blade. Even lever cap pressure can do this. One adjusts to this factor over time, being careful with downforce. Experience reduces the problem but it does not remove the issue.

With the solid types from LN and LV, I add a touch of spring through a very slight bend in the forward section.

The new Custom Veritas has been introduced since that article was written. It is different in the way it attaches and, while this chipbreaker may only be used on their planes, there is a feature that is highlighted. This is ease of setting up.

With the Custom Veritas, the chipbreaker screw is on the same side as the chipbreaker, and adjustments take place in full sight ...

This makes the task easier. In a similar manner, the chipbreaker screw that Lee Valley supply with their "Stanley" chipbreaker makes it easier to set up. The screw is thicker and the knurling is wider. It is easier to grip and finger-tighten.

That's it on the right, compared with a LN screw. Note that the Stanley screw has the same dimensions as the LN, but has knurling where the LN has none ...

The LV and LN chipbreakers are not interchangeable if you plan to set the chipbreaker up close on a Stanley plane ... or is it the other way around? (> one cannot use a LV chipbreaker in a LN plane - I think this is correct). The reason is that its adjustment slots is a 1/4" higher.

The main issue with solid chipbreakers is that they come with a 30 degree bevel. This is too low for common angle planes. It should be a simple matter to add a higher secondary bevel (say 50 degrees), however one must be careful not to be too enthusiastic about its size with the LN, as it has a smaller flat section.

LN on the left, LV on the right ...

I have also experimented with rounding the front of these chipbreakers in imitation of the Stanley, keeping the leading edge at the same 45-50 degrees. I cannot say that I notice a big difference. I think that there is a slight improvement with the rounded edge, but it just does not stand out consistently enough to state it is a definite improvement.

I dislike the Clifton because the Stay Sets I have tried have been jiggly. I have seen the original Record stay set, and it was much better machined. Hock are very solidly made, but the small ones I have (for Krenov style planes) are short and they cannot be induced to create spring.

The bottom line is that all the different types have pros and cons. Stanley work well, with care. LN/LV work well, with slight modifications. All work adequately without any changes.

Regards from Perth


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