Chris Schwarz's Blog

How Best to Adjust the Cap Iron on a Veritas Plane

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I bought one of the new Veritas bevel-down planes to get familiar with its parts – I’m quite sure I’m going to see a lot of these planes at woodworking schools and in the hands of students in the coming months.

Overall, it’s a great plane, and I have a full review coming up shortly in Popular Woodworking Magazine. One of the little difficulties I had with the plane at first was getting the cap iron position dialed in where I wanted. I followed the tool’s instructions to the letter, and I think that was what was giving me fits.

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The cap iron and blade are held together via a “blade carrier,” a clever gizmo that uses two screws. One screw affixes the blade carrier to the blade. The second screw secures the cap iron to the blade carrier.

It sounds more complicated than it really is.

The basic problem was the instructions say to secure the blade carrier’s position before securing the cap iron. When I did that, the cap iron would creep all over the place when I moved the cap screw.

If you reverse the process – secure the cap iron and then the blade carrier – things work much better.

Got it?

I didn’t think so. Because there are so many new parts to this tool I made a short video that explains the parts and how to make them play nice together.

— Christopher Schwarz

18 thoughts on “How Best to Adjust the Cap Iron on a Veritas Plane

    1. Robert

      Derek, your website has been an absolutely outstanding resource, but what in the hee-haw are you doing telling persons that hex and torx are interchangeable?

  1. bruce272

    Chris,
    I just finished watching your video on Veratas’ bevel down plane adjustment. Great job explaining and showing just how to understand poor language/poor instructions, which is rare for Lee Valley.
    Of course, and wait for it, I have only one criticism, please loose the background music. While its a nice touch, I find it distracting and competing with your excellent voice overs.

    Many thanks for a great lesson

    Bruce Cohen

  2. BLZeebub

    This is the only time in my woodworking life that I am sincerely contemplating dumping my BedRocks on eBay and throw down for a set of Veritas customs. Yepper, that just happened.

  3. cagenuts

    What Veritas should have done was to make the Blade Set Screws use the same Hex key as the Blade Carrier. Slotted screw drivers are so last century.

    1. Robert

      Well, about the set screws, I’d agree for me, but I can see most people (including myself), stripping the drive end.
      Once you get small enough, just about anything will turn (and consequently damage) the screw….more opportunity to use the wrong driver.

      Sort of the same topic: I’ve trashed some of the larger brass screws on plane handles because either I was lazy and used keystone tips (don’t do that on brass boys and girls) or got nuts and over-torqued.

  4. pmac

    Yeah, small parts, saw dust, and in my case, old eyes combined with someone that can’t find something he just had in his hand (especially when I have tools out) has me a little hesitant to pull the trigger. And I really want to.

  5. Jonathan Szczepanski

    Agreed on the allen wrench. I’d recommend you stock up on allen wrenches before your future classes Chris, because I think there are going to be many a student that either forgets to bring them, or sweeps them into the sawdust pile.

    1. Christopher SchwarzChristopher Schwarz Post author

      I’ve been thinking about drilling a hole in the top of the plane’s tote so I can store the wrench within it. Or get that size wrench attached to my keychain.

      To be honest, I don’t think that the wrench is that big a deal. All planes require drivers to adjust them. Once you get used to carrying this particular one around, you won’t think it’s an issue.

      1. pmac

        Maybe get a little rare earth magnet and the wrench could be stored somewhere on the plane bed or on the back of the iron.

      2. Straightlines

        Or get a pocket-knife style bike tool that has the proper sized hex key included. Mine has several hex keys, bladed & phillips screwdrivers, a single 10mm nut driver, an open-end wrench, a T25 driver, and the essential bottle-opener. These are metric because all bike components are metric, which is dandy for Veritas and other metric based manufacturers.

        One could also get a pocket-knife style set of hex or torx keys, which points to making the switch over to hex or torx screws. There’s also another wonderful line of Canadian tools called “Pique-Quick” screwdrivers, that are excellent versions of the classic multi-bit screwdrivers commonly used by construction workers. What makes these so great are that the bits are chromoly steel, each holds 6-1/4″ hex-based tips, there are phillips, standard chisel point, hex, and torx drivers available, the bits are individually replaceable, and these drivers are available in the standard length plus a stubby (apron ready 🙂 ) versions.

        Christopher, thanks for putting the video up, it helps. I have one of the low-angle smoothers and the 1st time I took the cap-iron off to check the bit and give it a 1st polishing, I found the cap-iron is so low profile that I couldn’t readily lift it around and off the main screw. In the end, the darn kidney-shaped hole in the cap-iron kept catching on the main screw, so I turned the plane upside-down to help get a better grasp on the cap, and as I removed it, the bit readily slipped right off and hit the floor! Chipped the corner, dang it, and this was before I even used the tool — so “Heads Up!”

  6. maxpowersb

    Hmmm, elegant looking plane. But I can’t stop to think that the tiny screw and the fact that you need a special wrench to get your blade out of the plane is going to make keeping your blade sharp that much more slow and painful.

    1. cagenuts

      Did you actually watch the video? You need a ‘special wrench’. It’s just a normal 3/32 hex key that even I have in my shop and I live in a metric country. If you are worried about misplacing it, then I suggest investing ($15 at the most) in a set of T handle hex drivers (wrenches) or just purchase the ones you need.

      I’ve done this for my Incra Miter Gauges where I constantly use the 3/32 and 1/8 keys. I ordered Irwins from the UK but you can get Tekton, Klein Tools or Bondhus stuff on Amazon for less than $4 each.

      1. maxpowersb

        Hi cagenuts, yes I watched the video. I guess ‘special’ is a relative term. I don’t have one of those. I mostly have bevel up and Japanese wooden planes, and I guess I’m not used to using a screw driver and small screw to get my plane setup. Fact is, I’m probably just too lazy.

      2. Robert

        Obviously a lot of machinists love woodworking, but most woodworkers aren’t machinists.
        Or in the case of 3/32″, most don’t install plumbing fixtures, shower door handles or replace bit sockets.
        You’re gonna pull your hair out and go mad looking for an internal hex wood screw….etc….

        For the unfamiliar, some random suggestions

        http://www.kctoolco.com/wiha-ball-end-hex-driver-3-32-inch-p/36719.htm
        http://www.kctoolco.com/wiha-precision-hex-driver-3-32-x-60mm-p/26323.htm
        http://www.kctoolco.com/wiha-hex-inch-insert-bit-3-32-inch-x-25mm-p/71330.htm
        http://www.kctoolco.com/wiha-picofinish-precision-ball-end-hex-3-32-x-50mm-p/26459.htm
        http://www.kctoolco.com/wiha-soft-grip-hex-t-handle-3-32-inch-p/33420.htm
        http://www.amazon.com/Bondhus-T-Handle-32in-Length-15205/dp/B002NH1E8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414543066&sr=8-1&keywords=bondhus+3%2F32
        http://www.amazon.com/Bondhus-ProHold-Ball-Screwdriver-74605/dp/B000MBHWLM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1414543099&sr=8-2&keywords=bondhus+3%2F32
        http://www.amazon.com/Bondhus-L-wrench-Long-32in-15905/dp/B003JMJN18/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1414543122&sr=8-8&keywords=bondhus+3%2F32
        http://www.amazon.com/Bondhus-22199-L-wrench-Double-1-5-10mm/dp/B000E7VG5C/ref=pd_sim_hi_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=1D3DHYE11HGYJR6TWPYP
        http://www.amazon.com/Bondhus-12591-GorillaGrip-Fold-up-16-Inch/dp/B0006O4AFQ/ref=sr_1_24?ie=UTF8&qid=1414543210&sr=8-24&keywords=bondhus+3%2F32

        1. Straightlines

          Oh great. After writing my post extolling the metric options and then reading your post, I now see that those crazy Canuck machinists used SAE screws!! Why???

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