Chris Schwarz's Blog

New Handles Available for Veritas Bevel-up Planes

The only complaint I every hear about the Veritas bevel-up planes is that the rear tote isn’t as comfortable as that on an old Stanley or new Lie-Nielsen plane.

If you are one of those people who prefer a curvier tote (and I am one of them), then I have some excellent news for you.

Bill Rittner, who makes nice replacement totes for Stanley planes, is now offering totes and knobs for the Veritas bevel-up planes. I’ve been testing a prototype version on my Veritas Bevel-up Jack plane for several weeks now. And now Rittner is ready to go public.

I bought one of the first sets he made in cherry and put it on my Veritas jack yesterday. It dramatically changes the way the plane feels (and looks). With Rittner’s tote installed, it feels like I’m holding a Lie-Nielsen No. 62 that has a lot more mass. And after a few hours of continuous use yesterday, I’ve decided I prefer Rittner’s tote to the factory original.

The only possible disadvantage Rittner’s tote has to the original is that it is attached to the plane’s body with one bolt instead of two. My guess is that it will not be a problem, as the Veritas has a large metal boss below the tote, and Rittner’s tote fits securely over that. But only time will tell.

Here are the details:

The knob and totes are available in cherry or walnut for all the Veritas bevel-up planes and the large scraping plane. The cost is $40 per set, plus shipping. Rittner says this is an introductory price, but he didn’t say when that would expire.

If you’d like to order a set, send an e-mail to Bill at rbent.ct@gmail.com. The turnaround time is 15 to 30 days. When the work is complete, Ritter accepts PayPal or a USPS money order.

I’m a big fan of Rittner’s totes. I have a couple sets on my old Stanleys. And now, thanks to his totes, I like my Veritas Bevel-up Jack plane even more.

— Christopher Schwarz

Handplane Essentials
Hey, I wrote a book all about planes, such as this one. It’s a monster of a book. Printed in the United States, and filled with reviews and instructions on set-up and use. We call it “Handplane Essentials,” and it’s available in our store with free domestic shipping.

10 thoughts on “New Handles Available for Veritas Bevel-up Planes

  1. aerobott

    Coming a little late to this, after reading the post and comments, I had to run down and grab one of each of my LV and LN planes for comparison. As Chris notes, the shape of the tote clearly plays a role in how the plane feels in the hand.

    I’ll agree and slightly disagree with Steve. The LN tote is thinner in the hand, and, as Steve describes, has an inviting indent (due to the shape) near the top, which catches your index finger and holds it there quite comfortably. Steve discusses that that lip is completely missing on the Veritas handle. The Veritas tote is straighter and thicker overall, especially at the lip of the tote, that doesn’t fit the hand quite as nicely. The Veritas plane wants to, as Steve describes, roll out of your hand.

    Those three differences, the thickness of handles, their shape, and lack of lip on the Veritas tote make significant difference in the feel of the planes with the different handles.

  2. mikewischmann

    Christopher,

    I am the guy on ebay that sells the custom rear totes for Veritas BU/LAS planes. Any chance you want to try one of them out to compare to Bills’. Here is the link the the ebay listing so you can check them out.

    The primary difference between mine is that it is a little thicker to accommodate both mounting bolts.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Veritas-Bevel-Up-Plane-Tote-Bubinga-Custom-/110656904965?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c3aa5f05

    Thanks,

    Mike

  3. Lee

    There is a guy on ebay making a tote for the Veritas BU planes. It is a kittke thick but he has made it so you use both mounting screws just like the originals. I recently purchased one and really like it. He gets $20.00 plus shipping. Here is his seller name….. salwisch. Or search for Veritas bevel-up plane tote. He makes them in Bubinga, but will do other woods if you request it.

  4. Derek Cohen

    Very recently I decided to ask a friend of mine, Bob, who just happens to be a professor of physics at one of the local universities, if there was a difference in effort required between BU and BD planes when planing at the same cutting angle. In addition, whether the angle of the Veritas and Stanley totes made a difference. Bob replied ..

    “I don’t see the need for any maths, if everything is held constant (including the tote and hand angle) then there should be no difference.

    Forward angled totes will naturally lead to the operator applying more downward force increasing the friction between the bottom of the plane and the wood leaving less forward force.

    I just measured my Lee Valley BU totes – tricky because they are curved but I get for the;
    BU Smoother : 71º
    BU Jointer i: 74º

    The good old stanley #4 is 61º

    Assuming the operator applies a force F to the tote at right angles to the tote.
    Relative to F, the “forward force” to “downward force” ratio for a 60º tote is 1.73
    For a 70º tote its 2.75
    ie a ~60% difference

    Of course The operator does not alway apply force to the tote at right angles to the tote especially as the operators arm moves thru some sort of arc and angle during the planing action”.

    What this means is that the effort to push a plane increases as you decrease the angle of the tote – the more forward it is angled, the more effort to push. So be aware that altering the angle of a LV BU plane tote will have consequences. Then again everything is a compromise, so you decide where yours will lie.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

    1. Steve_OH

      “Assuming the operator applies a force F to the tote at right angles to the tote.”

      I think that’s an awfully iffy assumption. The shapes of the front and rear totes on a metal-bodied plane encourage downward force on the front tote and forward force on the rear tote. While the shape of the rear tote affects the configuration of the wrist (and therefore comfort), the bulk of the force is going to be largely dependent on the upper arm and forearm geometry, which doesn’t change significantly (as long as the tilt is within reason).

      Try it without a plane: Put a smooth board down on your bench top, clench your hand in a loose fist (as if you were holding the rear tote), and slide your hand along the board. Tilting your wrist back and forth has negligible effect on how much downward force and friction you create.

      -Steve

  5. Jonathan Szczepanski

    I have always had a question about the bevel-up planes that these new handles reminded me of. I have a Veritas bevel-up smoother, and I’m not sure the “proper” way to hold it. One of the first things I heard about holding a plane is to point the index finger on the side. You can’t do that on the bevel-ups. I just grip it and go, but I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the matter.

    Jonathan
    =========================================

  6. Steve_OH

    I have a different complaint about the Veritas rear tote: I don’t mind the shape at all, but because there’s no lip at the top of the front side, you have to use a bit of a death grip to hold onto the plane with one hand. Otherwise, the curve of the handle combined with the front-heavy nature of the plane conspire to torque it right out of your hand and onto the floor.

    If there were a lip, and you relaxed your grip, it would essentially hang from your index finger.

    -Steve

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