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Veritas Skew Block Plane Review

1/30/2013

 

veritas skew block plane review rabbeting fence veritas skew block plane review lie nielsen standard angle block plane
1. The Veritas Skew Block Plane is a well made and versatile tool.  It’s primary function is creating rabbets, which it does well, however it also excels as a general purpose block plane. 2. This is a Low Angle Plane which means the blade rests in the body of the plane at 12 degrees.  The tool comes with a blade beveled at 25 degrees which gives the veritas skew block plane an out of the box cutting angle of 37 degrees.  My Lie-Nielsen standard angle block plane had an out of the box cutting angle of 45 degrees.
veritas skew block plane review veritas skew block plane review norris adjuster
3. A Refined Design.  This tool is very well engineered.  There is plenty of bedding for the blade directly behind the cutting edge which reduces chatter.  There are three set-screws that help maintain the blade’s lateral adjustment which is a very handy feature for fine woodworking.  This plane is very hefty. 4. The Blade Adjusting Mechanism is styled after a design that has been used for quite some time on infill plans.  The “Noris-style adjuster” operates smoothly and is well made.  Although the design has its merits it is not faster or more accurate than using a mallet on a plane without a lateral adjusting mechanism.
veritas skew block plane review toe adjuster set screw veritas skew block plane review nicker
5. An Adjustable Throat.  The mechanism on the veritas skew block plane is similar to the old stanley design where the front knob is loosened in order to adjust the toe.  The veritas also sports a set screw to create easily repeatable set ups.  Too bad they didn’t include a stanley style eccentric lever. 6. The Nicker is a little circular blade used for scoring a board during rabbeting; it easily adjusts out of the way when not in use.  You can clearly see the 15 degree skew of the blade and blade bedding.
veritas skew block plane review rabbeting veritas skew block plane review grind blade for steeper angle
7. Rabbeting is very easy and clean with this tool.  The removable and adjustable fence makes it easy to quickly create a rabbet either with or across the grain.  Cross-grain work is especially easy with this plane because of the skewed blade. 8. A Tale of Two Blades I’m not a furniture maker so I don’t do much rabbeting and I don’t have much cause for planing at a low angle.  For most guitar repair work I prefer a steep cutting angle of 50 or 55 degrees.  For this reason, I bought a second skewed blade that I ground to a 38 degree angle, which combines with the bed’s 12 degree angle to give me an effective cutting angle of 50 degrees.
veritas skew block plane review open side for rabbeting veritas skew block plane review make neck reset shim
9. Adjusting the Plane for general purpose work is easy.  I keep the 38 degree blade inset from the rabbeting side of the casting.  This allows me to make feather thin cuts on tapered work without nicking the work bench.  A slightly inset blade is also necessary if you want to use the plane on its side for shooting.  With a cutting angle of 50 degrees, this plane works better than its non-skewed competition. 10. Neck Reset Shims are a breeze to fabricate with this plane.  The reason I bought this plane was to speed up the process of shimming dovetail neck joints during neck resets.  Because the blade is skewed  and the blade is very close to the outer right side of the body, I can easily and quickly make thin shims that are tapered by planing across the grain without the help of a clumsy riser block.
veritas skew block plane review plane thin shim accross the grain veritas skew block plane review plane accross the grain
11. A Perfect Shim needs to have the final fitting done with a chisel once the shims are glued into the neck block.  The skewed block plane allows me to plane my tapered shims to less than .010″ thick which greatly speeds up the process of final fitting with a chisel. 12. Planing Across the Grain with the low angle blade is really easy and fairly clean.  A low angle reduces the amount of force necessary to push the plane through a cut and the skewed blade makes the low angle blade cut cleaner than it otherwise would.  Still, I’ve found that a higher angle cuts tonewoods cleaner both with and across the grain.
veritas skew block plane review shooting board veritas skew block plane review ergonomics
13. Shooting Board work is very clean and easy with this plane.  The body is ground square and the skewed blade and low profile of the lever cap makes for clean and easy work. 14. The Ergonomics of this tool are outstanding, even while shooting.  Because of the low angle and low-sloped profile of the lever cap, the tool requires less energy to use than the somewhat awkward, high-profile Stanley knuckl-joint and Lie-Nielsen lever caps you find on some of their standard angle planes.
veritas skew block plane review a great tool
15. An Excellent Tool The combination of it’s heft, skewed blade, right side rabbet cutout and excellent ergonomics makes veritas’s skew block plane an excellent tool for guitar repair.