Buying my first real hand plane. Stanley vs. Lie-Nielsen vs. Veritas Low angle Jack Planes


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Lie Nielsen: No 62 Low Angle Jack Plane Set -- $245
Veritas: Low-Angle Jack Plane -- $245
Stanley: 12-137 No.62 Low Angle Jack Plane -- $125

Hey Guys!

This forum, along with a little soul searching has made me really want to learn how to work real hardwood with hand planes. When I first started woodworking, my goal was to use inexpensive plywood to build high-end-looking furniture and use really nice veneers to cover the plywood and make it appear nice. I still really like that idea, but I recently bought a $19 Stanley bench plane. It is terrible, and so am I with it. The blade is set in with two screws, one on each side, and you can turn the screws to adjust the depth of cut. It seems like you either get no cut at all, or it gouges straight into the wood and leaves it marred and rough feeling. But... it worked! Oh boy... it worked!

I have a 6 drawer dresser that I've built, and I have finally started making the drawers for it. None of the drawer slots are square. Most are off by as much as 1/4 in either by length or by height. You can't tell it by looking at the thing, but instead of a perfect rectangular cube, if you pull out a tape measure, you see that it is a parallelogram in the slight shape of penne pasta. So, fitting the drawer front has been something I've dreaded doing. But my crappy little $19 Stanley got the job done. I had to fool with it and fool with it the whole time. Micro-turning those screws to try to get a shave instead of jittery shaving flakes, and without gouging the wood. My first drawer front... fits! And it fits well. 

I have 5 more to go, and I'd like to take this opportunity to learn more about using a real hand plane. My question really is... I want to buy the Stanley because it is $120 cheaper than the LN and Veritas. Woodworking is not just a passing phase for me, so I always want to buy the best tool that will last and not need to be upgraded as my skill level improves. I am going to need to buy some stones and sharpening stones, so I am hoping to get some of you guys' perspective on the three above planes as far as... are the LN and Veritas really worth $120 more than the Stanley, or should I save my money and buy some new stones and maybe a higher end blade iron?

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 And so it begins. I have the Veritas low angle jack and I'm very glad I do. People have mentioned that as you fill out your plane collection this particular format become superfluous. I have not found this to be the case but, we all work differently. if this will be your first plane, and you're only use a plane a small amount of the time, I would say a low angle Jack is a good choice. As for the specific maker/model that will stimulate quite a bit of discussion.  LN make quality versions of proven designs, LV has some wonderful innovations that some find very nice to have.

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For someone starting out with handplanes I think the better plane is worth it. Veritas and Lie nielsen will come almost ready to use out of the box (a little honing and its ready). Im not sure thats the case with cheaper planes.

As for the Low angle jack, thats a great plane to start with. In this weeks shoptalk live podcast during the segment "favourite tool of all time", furniture maker Garret Hack chose the low angle jack and said its the plane he travels with. Its a fantastic plane. I have the veritas and love it

And fyi, the LN low angle jack set is 500$, the plane alone is 245$.

Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk

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Easy: Go for the more expensive plane.  Why?  If you decide to ever get out of the hobby (many people do) then it will be easier to recoup your investment.  Look at EBay - used Lie-Nielsen products typically sell for 90% or more of their original retail value.  (For the life of me, I cannot understand why someone would buy a used plane on EBay, when, for $10 more, they could buy a brand new plane directly from Lie-Nielsen.)

So that leaves you with a decision: Lie-Nielsen or Veritas.  Both are excellent planes and you're not going to go wrong with either.  Choose Veritas if you like their PM-V11 steel blades.  Choose Lie-Nielsen if you want brand recognition and easier resale.

 

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1 minute ago, SeventyFix said:

Choose Veritas if you like their PM-V11 steel blades. 

 

 

I read about the A2 vs. 01 steel blades, and I think I'd like the A2 since, even though it's more difficult to sharpen, it will stay sharp longer. But I could not find what PM-V11 steel is.

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I have Pm-v11 on all my planes and I think its great. From, what I have heard/read from those that have done direct comparisons to A2, it sharpens easier and has better edge retention. Pretty sure @RenaissanceWW said this somewhere at some point, might have been the podcast but i could be imagining it... Hopefully Shannon can chime in and give his thoughts on it. 

Here are Chris Gochnours thought on it;

http://www.finewoodworking.com/tool-guide/product-finder/veritas-pm-v11-tool-steel.aspx

And the Schwarz

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/tools/tool-reviews/veritas%E2%80%99s-new-top-secret-steel

@derekcohen review;

http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolReviews/FourChiselSteelsCompared.html

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, drzaius said:

http://www.pm-v11.com/Story.aspx

It's a steel that Veritas developed.

 

2 hours ago, Dolmetscher007 said:

I read about the A2 vs. 01 steel blades, and I think I'd like the A2 since, even though it's more difficult to sharpen, it will stay sharp longer. But I could not find what PM-V11 steel is.

And I will add that I use it whenever offered.  Sharpens easily and holds a usable edge like nothing else I have used.  It is one of those things where you do not have to be an expert to notice the difference. For the small difference in price I would not skip it.

If you are leaning toward Veritas I will also mention that I have a jointer and smoother that take the same size iron as the LAJ.  I bought each with a different bevel iron. This gives me bevel angle variety for any of the planes.  Your value on this will depend on your future acquisitions and use.

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The first plane I bought was a Veritas and the second one was a LN. I feel the Veritas is a good plane, and I don't have anything really negative to say about them. For me, I just think the LN is a better plane. It came out of the box needing little to no prep, while my Veritas needed some initial work. I feel I get better results with my LN plane, but that could be the user! Also, the level of customer service from LN has been outstanding. I accidentally dropped my block plane and bent the spin wheel. When I called LN to purchase a new one, they sent me a new one free of charge and it arrived quickly. That's one of the reasons I will continue to buy from them. I'm sure it's a comfort thing, but I love all my LN tools.

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For what its worth I have had good luck with Wood River (4 1/2 & 5) both were purchased during one of Woodcraft's 20% off sale and were combined less then the cost of one Lie Nielsen. Having said that I own all three vendors LN, Veritas, and WR and am happy with them all.

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I have the Stanley low angle jack plane.  When sharpened and adjusted it works very smoothly.  My only gripe with it, and it partially my fault is the I have somehow sharpened the blade slightly out of square.  There is very, very little adjustment on this particular plane because the blade is almost as wide and the body of the plane. I would be interested in knowing if the Lee Vally and Veritas planes have such tight fitting blades.  I ground that sides of the Stanely blade to make it slightly narrow near the heal to allow for more lateral adjustment. Correcting the sharpening job on the blade is on my list.

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The first plane I bought was a Veritas and the second one was a LN. I feel the Veritas is a good plane, and I don't have anything really negative to say about them. For me, I just think the LN is a better plane. It came out of the box needing little to no prep, while my Veritas needed some initial work. I feel I get better results with my LN plane, but that could be the user! Also, the level of customer service from LN has been outstanding. I accidentally dropped my block plane and bent the spin wheel. When I called LN to purchase a new one, they sent me a new one free of charge and it arrived quickly. That's one of the reasons I will continue to buy from them. I'm sure it's a comfort thing, but I love all my LN tools.

Just curious, what work did your Veritas plane need out of the box?

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I had the Stanley plane and the sole was not square to the bed, so I always got an angled cut and could not adjust the blade enough to compensate.  There are multiple stories of this problem to be found online.  I sent it back for warranty replacement and they sent me one with a 1/4" gouge right on the edge, making that one unusable.  I sold the 2nd replacement on ebay before I even took it out of the box.  Didn't lose much money but ended up with an extra iron I didn't recoup.  Whole process took many weeks to get worked out.

I now have the LN version and could not be happier.  

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I have planes of many different manufacturers and vintages. I like the LN bronze #4 the most as it feels just right. However as you do have a budget and that one plane alone will take most of it I can recommend an up coming brand that has already been mentioned. The Woodriver brand AKA Quangsheng is a very good one. The #5 Jack may be a good choice for you - I don't own one but have tried one. It will rough, joint, smooth and needs very little work out of the box. The regular bevel down will suffice. 

Also get a block plane. I have several brands and like the LN 103 the best. Again Woodriver make a very good one as a reasonable cost. 

If buying second hand the world is your oyster but pre-war (WWII) Stanley's are said to be better quality. Woodworking with handtools is becoming very popular you may be lucky getting a relatively cheap one but I've noticed recent considerable price hikes on the old tools market (demand and supply). A Hock replacement blade will improve any plane, assuming there is one for a plane you choose, but they come at a premium cost.

Beware that woodworking can become an expensive hobby as you get into it and you will always want (need) the next tool.

Good luck with your choice.

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As predicted, lots of good discussion on this.  LN fans and LV fans can be quite prejudiced just as we all like our favorite car maker or football team.  Hand tools are very personal as they have to feel good in your hands. 

I was lucky enough to be at a show where LN and LV were right across from each other and so got to try a variety of tools back and forth.  I ended up in the LV camp since they felt better in my hands. There are deffinitly folks who like one model from one maker and a different model from the other; the shoulder plane is an example of the two maker's very different approach to a tool.

Fortunately people are passionate about their hand tools so you get a lot of good conversation.  Read and re-read through it, sift out the blind prejudice and you will still end up with two quality makers that approach the industry differently.

As to which version works best for you; I wish there were somewhere I could recommend to you that would have both on hand for you to test drive.  The real "best" hand tool is the one that works best for you.

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Stanley 62 Sweetheart Review

I have had the Stanley Sweetheart products under consideration for a while now and after clearing out some unused tools I chose to buy......more tools. I was keen to make up my own mind on the range which has come under fire by many reviewers. I purchased the 62 Low Angle Jack, The No4, A set of four Socket Chisels and a Low Angle Block Plane. I'll add my thoughts on those in due course. This first post should be treated as an initial feel for the tool only. A few months of use next to a Record No5 & 5 1/2 should develop a clearer picture. I think "out of the box" reviews can be a little dangerous as we can all get rather excited with a new toy. Also these are purchased with my own money, no deals, and I have yet to have my palm crossed with silver by any supplier (never gonna happen) so I'm pretty independent.

Asthetics are very personal and subjective but from where I'm stood the 62 is a pleasing tool to look at, not too brash, clean lines with a nice blend of wood, metal & paint, a good start Stanley.I purchased the 62 from FFX http://www.ffx.co.uk/tools/product/Stan ... tAodVSAAsw for £85.00 delivered. I would normally go vintage or stop by Workshop Heaven but I felt I wanted to roll the dice..... As a quick comparison the other Low Angle Jacks in the market stack up as follows

Stanley 62 Sweetheart 62 via FFX - £85.00 with one A2 Blade Veritas via Peter Sefton - £239 on offer, normal price of £289.00 with one A2 Blade Quangsheng via Workshop Heaven - £149 with 3 A2 Blades ground for typical low, medium and high pitch work. Lie-Nielsen via Axminster - £219 with one A2 Blade

Although the Stanley is cheapest the QS from WSH is perhaps the best value based on the fact you get three blades. All the logistics and packaging were as you would expect in the modern world, all fine. Only a cardboard box for it to live in along with the various wrappers. All found there way into the bin, the 62 for the time being at least lives on the bench.

After a quick wipe down I got familiar with the plane. It features a Norris type adjuster which includes lateral adjustment, only the Veritas has this feature (I think please feel free to correct me here). To the best of my knowledge the QS and LN us the shaped end of the blade as a grip and or light taps with a hammer for lateral adjustment. I had to fiddle around with the position of the Norris Adjuster as from the factory it would not allow the blade to project, easy enough to do though. However, straight away I had a problem. Within the series of photos below you can see the area the blade is bedded down on.

Stanley Low Angle Jack Plane

Stanley Jack Plane

Stanley Low Angle Plane

The area that has been milled is sweet, however the bed has not been made wider at the top near the adjuster. There is a shelf that should not be there or at least it should be smaller. The issue is the blade is bedded so tight, lateral adjustment is only about 1mm, barely registering and change on the blade at the mouth. I'm not the only one with the issue. After some searching I found this http://www.ghostmill.net/?p=30. I gave Stanley UK a call to talk it through but although the person from Stanley was polite they knew nothing about the tool or any issues. I dropped Stanley USA a call too but they referred me back to the UK! I must admit the customer service here was poor. I was interested to know if the plane I have was an early version and the more recent ones are OK? Sadly nobody at Stanley wanted to engage in a conversation. Unlike the guy in the link I'm going to try and very carefully file away the shelf to allow lateral adjustment. Yes, I know, I should send it back but I don't want to save it from oblivion.

On a more pleasing note the blade is nice, my first time with A2. That stuff is hard! It comes from the factory sharp and ground at 25deg. This combined with the 12 deg bed gives a low angle of attack ideal for end grain. When alternative pitches are required a small secondary bevel is added or in the case of the QS you drop in another blade (ever get the feeling you backed the wrong horse)! I further honed the edge so it's on the same playing field as my other planes. Looking further into the future I'm not sure I'd want to maintain this blade without a powered grinder of some kind. The blade is so thick and hard trying to grind it by hand would be very boring. The adjustable mouth works very well indeed, it was easy to close the mouth up very very tight indeed or even closed. The only reason I mention that is some folks have had issues with closing the mouth. Much easier than adjusting a frog.

The lever cap has come in for some stick because it's made from Aluminium. I don't personally have an issue with this. The only potential problem could be with many, many ham fisted tightenings of the lever cap perhaps a thread could fail but personally I don't think that'll be a problem. If you own a 62 and have had a fail on the lever cap please drop a comment and let me know.

The Norris adjuster works well but has too much backlash. Once it engages it's very accurate and what lateral adjustment was on hand was easily set. So onto the fun stuff. I had some old sample blanks of worktop in Wenge, Zebrano, Bamboo and also some easy working European oak offcuts. I tried on end and long grain.

Stanley Sweetheart Premium Plane

Stanley Sweetheart

Stanley Low Angle Jack Plane

Stanley LAJ

This was my first time with a Low Angle Jack and I rather like it! The tool feels well weighted and balanced when contrasted against my wooden, bailey and bedrock planes. The tote and knob seem fine and comfortable and feel well finished. Shavings were made easily on the long and end grain. The mouth was set really tight and light shaving only so surface quality was great. The easiest to plane was no surprise the Bamboo composite thingy and the European Oak, the hardest was the Wenge. The things that stand out more broady with this and other low angle planes is you can adjust the mouth without having to remove a blade and move a frog and in the Stanley's case and I'm sure the others too I found the norris adjuster more precise than the Bailey style.

Like I said these are first thoughts only but there is the basis for a good tool here. If Stanley had machined the bed width properly I would strongly recommend the tool to those on a tight budget. However all things considered if all these planes have a bed issue they would only be suitable for those on a tight budget and who are able to fettle their own tool. However with the poor customer service I would encourage those on a more modest budget to take a look at the QS 62 from Workshop Heaven . You will be sure of good service and an informed retailer. If Stanley want a part of the quality market staff training at the factory and at the customer point of contact will need to improve a lot.

Stanley 62 Sweetheart Problem

As for LN & LV they will be excellent apart from I like 01 type steel and LN is A2. 

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Stanley%2062%20Sweetheart%20Review.jpg

I have had the Stanley Sweetheart products under consideration for a while now and after clearing out some unused tools I chose to buy......more tools. I was keen to make up my own mind on the range which has come under fire by many reviewers. I purchased the 62 Low Angle Jack, The No4, A set of four Socket Chisels and a Low Angle Block Plane. I'll add my thoughts on those in due course. This first post should be treated as an initial feel for the tool only. A few months of use next to a Record No5 & 5 1/2 should develop a clearer picture. I think "out of the box" reviews can be a little dangerous as we can all get rather excited with a new toy. Also these are purchased with my own money, no deals, and I have yet to have my palm crossed with silver by any supplier (never gonna happen) so I'm pretty independent.

Asthetics are very personal and subjective but from where I'm stood the 62 is a pleasing tool to look at, not too brash, clean lines with a nice blend of wood, metal & paint, a good start Stanley.I purchased the 62 from FFX http://www.ffx.co.uk/tools/product/Stan ... tAodVSAAsw for £85.00 delivered. I would normally go vintage or stop by Workshop Heaven but I felt I wanted to roll the dice..... As a quick comparison the other Low Angle Jacks in the market stack up as follows

Stanley 62 Sweetheart 62 via FFX - £85.00 with one A2 Blade Veritas via Peter Sefton - £239 on offer, normal price of £289.00 with one A2 Blade Quangsheng via Workshop Heaven - £149 with 3 A2 Blades ground for typical low, medium and high pitch work. Lie-Nielsen via Axminster - £219 with one A2 Blade

Although the Stanley is cheapest the QS from WSH is perhaps the best value based on the fact you get three blades. All the logistics and packaging were as you would expect in the modern world, all fine. Only a cardboard box for it to live in along with the various wrappers. All found there way into the bin, the 62 for the time being at least lives on the bench.

After a quick wipe down I got familiar with the plane. It features a Norris type adjuster which includes lateral adjustment, only the Veritas has this feature (I think please feel free to correct me here). To the best of my knowledge the QS and LN us the shaped end of the blade as a grip and or light taps with a hammer for lateral adjustment. I had to fiddle around with the position of the Norris Adjuster as from the factory it would not allow the blade to project, easy enough to do though. However, straight away I had a problem. Within the series of photos below you can see the area the blade is bedded down on.

Stanley%20Sweetheart%20Review%203.jpg

Stanley%20Sweetheart%20Review%204.jpg

Stanley%20Sweetheart%20Review%205.jpg

The area that has been milled is sweet, however the bed has not been made wider at the top near the adjuster. There is a shelf that should not be there or at least it should be smaller. The issue is the blade is bedded so tight, lateral adjustment is only about 1mm, barely registering and change on the blade at the mouth. I'm not the only one with the issue. After some searching I found this http://www.ghostmill.net/?p=30. I gave Stanley UK a call to talk it through but although the person from Stanley was polite they knew nothing about the tool or any issues. I dropped Stanley USA a call too but they referred me back to the UK! I must admit the customer service here was poor. I was interested to know if the plane I have was an early version and the more recent ones are OK? Sadly nobody at Stanley wanted to engage in a conversation. Unlike the guy in the link I'm going to try and very carefully file away the shelf to allow lateral adjustment. Yes, I know, I should send it back but I don't want to save it from oblivion.

On a more pleasing note the blade is nice, my first time with A2. That stuff is hard! It comes from the factory sharp and ground at 25deg. This combined with the 12 deg bed gives a low angle of attack ideal for end grain. When alternative pitches are required a small secondary bevel is added or in the case of the QS you drop in another blade (ever get the feeling you backed the wrong horse)! I further honed the edge so it's on the same playing field as my other planes. Looking further into the future I'm not sure I'd want to maintain this blade without a powered grinder of some kind. The blade is so thick and hard trying to grind it by hand would be very boring. The adjustable mouth works very well indeed, it was easy to close the mouth up very very tight indeed or even closed. The only reason I mention that is some folks have had issues with closing the mouth. Much easier than adjusting a frog.

The lever cap has come in for some stick because it's made from Aluminium. I don't personally have an issue with this. The only potential problem could be with many, many ham fisted tightenings of the lever cap perhaps a thread could fail but personally I don't think that'll be a problem. If you own a 62 and have had a fail on the lever cap please drop a comment and let me know.

The Norris adjuster works well but has too much backlash. Once it engages it's very accurate and what lateral adjustment was on hand was easily set. So onto the fun stuff. I had some old sample blanks of worktop in Wenge, Zebrano, Bamboo and also some easy working European oak offcuts. I tried on end and long grain.

Stanley%2062%20Sweetheart%20Wenge.jpg

Stanley%2062%20Sweetheart%20Review%207.jpg

Stanley%2062%20Sweetheart%20Review%207a%20.jpg

Stanley%2062%20Sweetheart%20Review%208.jpg

This was my first time with a Low Angle Jack and I rather like it! The tool feels well weighted and balanced when contrasted against my wooden, bailey and bedrock planes. The tote and knob seem fine and comfortable and feel well finished. Shavings were made easily on the long and end grain. The mouth was set really tight and light shaving only so surface quality was great. The easiest to plane was no surprise the Bamboo composite thingy and the European Oak, the hardest was the Wenge. The things that stand out more broady with this and other low angle planes is you can adjust the mouth without having to remove a blade and move a frog and in the Stanley's case and I'm sure the others too I found the norris adjuster more precise than the Bailey style.

Like I said these are first thoughts only but there is the basis for a good tool here. If Stanley had machined the bed width properly I would strongly recommend the tool to those on a tight budget. However all things considered if all these planes have a bed issue they would only be suitable for those on a tight budget and who are able to fettle their own tool. However with the poor customer service I would encourage those on a more modest budget to take a look at the QS 62 from Workshop Heaven . You will be sure of good service and an informed retailer. If Stanley want a part of the quality market staff training at the factory and at the customer point of contact will need to improve a lot.

Stanley%2062%20Sweetheart%20Review%206.jpg

As for LN & LV they will be excellent apart from I like 01 type steel and LN is A2. 

Wow heck of a write up Graham, thanks for that. Im curious if you've tried out the pm-v11 steel and if so, what were your thoughts?

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It was a bit of an epic Shaneymack :). I have tried the PM-V11, it was good, very good. I think if you were using very abrasive timbers it could be quite useful. But I'm not fussy, CR-V steel in basic chisels is ok too, blunts a bit quicker but it never ruined a project yet.

No problem Woodenskye, it would be interesting if the Stanley LAJ has become more consistent. If it has it would be a very good value option.

 

 

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