Chris Schwarz's Blog

First Look: Veritas Small Scraping Plane

With the release of the new Veritas Small Scraping Plane last week, lots of people are saying: Cool! I want one! Do I need one?

Good question. Scraping planes are curious birds. The large scraping planes are typically used to dress tabletops and large panels that have unruly grain. Scraping planes can ignore grain direction, work large surfaces and leave a relatively flat surface , especially compared to a card scraper.

The small scraper planes work the same way, but I wouldn’t want to use one for a banquet hall table. So they get used in other ways. You can use them like a block plane for dressing edges , this is how bodger Don Weber uses his Lie-Nielsen No. 212. If you have trouble bending a card scraper, the small planes are a good substitute as they are easy on your hands. And they can be used for evicting localized tear-out on a larger surface.

Veritas officials loaned us one of their new Small Scraping Planes last week. I was involved in testing a pre-production model of the tool, so I’m already quite familiar with the way it works. It is very clever and easier to set up than the No. 212 model made by Stanley and Lie-Nielsen (I’ve owned the Lie-Nielsen No. 212 for many years). The Veritas also costs less money (It’s $119 and on sale now for $99. The Lie-Nielsen costs $160 to $175.)

Both tools, I found, have plusses and minuses. Let’s take a look.

Veritas: Easy to Set But Can Clog
What makes the Veritas different is its blade system. Unlike the Lie-Nielsen, the Veritas uses a thin blade (.039″ thick vs. .120″). The thin blade allows you to camber it gently by turning a small straight screw at the rear of the tool. This is much like the system on the venerable Stanley No. 80 cabinet scraper and the excellent Veritas Large Scraping Plane.

The net result of this system is that the Veritas scraping plane is easier to set up than the Lie-Nielsen. You insert the blade, tighten the clamp and give the cambering screw a turn. Then you scrape to your heart’s content.

The other new twist with the Veritas is the adjustable palm rest that gives the plane its Beetle-esque shape. It’s impossibly clever , you simply move the rest until the plane fits your hand, then lock it in place with a hex-head wrench (included). Once locked, it’s quite stable. You can force it out of position, but you have to work at it.

In addition to that ergonomic touch, the toe of the tool has a nice lip for your thumb.

My only complaint with the tool is the same one I had with the pre-production version. I think the tool clogs with shavings more easily than the Lie-Nielsen. I suspect , but could be wrong , that the cause of the clogging is that the blade-clamping mechanism is bigger and lower on the blade. And the tool’s mouth is fairly wide open. What tends to happen is that you take a stroke with the tool, and on the return the last shaving drops below the sole. As you push forward for your next stroke, the stray shaving fouls the mouth.

If you pull the shavings out regularly, you won’t have this problem.

Lie-Nielsen: Won’t Clog, But Trickier to Set Up
The Lie-Nielsen uses a variable-pitch frog that allows you to set it for a wide range of pitches. This is handy for experienced users but sometimes frustrating for beginners. If you want a camber on your blade, you are going to have to add it while sharpening , there’s no cambering screw on the tool.

This makes setting the tool a little trickier. You have to tap the iron left and right to get the camber in the center. Then you sometimes have to fine-tune the frog to get the shaving you want. After a while you get the hang of it, but I wouldn’t want to learn to use the tool on live stock.

On the plus side, I can’t recall this tool ever clogging. The mouth is tighter and the blade-clamping mechanism is fairly high. Shavings fall out and don’t get pulled back into the mouth.

As to ergonomics, I think it’s a draw. The Lie-Nielsen, while odd looking, is remarkably comfortable to my hand. And the Veritas is exactly whatever I want it to be.

– Christopher Schwarz

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10 thoughts on “First Look: Veritas Small Scraping Plane

  1. Ananda Dorje

    I just tried one of these LV scrapers out at a local show. The clogging was instantly noticeable and an annoyance. I had to clear the throat following every pass. Although Mike’s mods above are admirable, seems that LV could/should have solved the clogging issues before final production and sales. It was an instant turn off and a deal breaker.

    For now I’ll stick with well tuned card scrapers and the LN 60 1/2 block plane with an alternate blade ground at a high angle (e.g., at 50 degrees) to tame the flame. LN also has the spare block plane blade that is ground at 90 degrees to work like a scraper – I haven’t tried that; would be easy enough to grind/hone the tip of a spare blade to 90.

  2. Mike

    Never one to be timid about tools…

    I also have one of the LV small scraper planes. Love the ergonomics of it and it is incredibly easy to set up.

    Speaking of which, one can do what I do to set blade projection. Place a piece of notebook or other thin paper on a known flat surface. I use my more or less flatish bench. Place the plane so the toe is on the paper and the paper is at the mouth of the plane.

    While pressing down lightly on the toe of the plane, loosen the blade clamp. This allows the blade to settle evenly on your flatish surface. Then tighten the blade clamp. Scrap to your heart’s content.

    The clogging issue. Yep, it is there. Not a deal breaker to me. While the LN 212 I owned once upon a time didn’t clog, there was on occassion shavings which hung below the sole. Same with the LV. But the LV has hanging chads [g] due to clogging whereas the LN I think did so simply from allowing those thin wispy shavings one gets from a scraper plane like these to simply fall back down.

    Believing that perhaps the clogging was due as much to having a full width cutter (the LV is a rebate scraper plane so the iron extends just a hair past the sides), I made a new blade.

    I used 0.035" saw steel and made the blade width just a little less than the width of the blade clamp. Instant improvement. Now the shavings were not jamming up against the rebate mouth on the sides of the plane.

    I then took off the blade clamp and ground it down to provide more clearance. (I’m as stupid as fearless when it comes to modifying tools.) This also provided more improvement. Now the shavings which fall below the sole on occassion are simply due to instances like my 212 if I do not rest my forefinger on the front of the sole. Waxing the blade clamp and at the front of the mouth in the body of the plane also allowed easier clearing when needed.

    Next up? I am going to mill the mouth a bit more open and file the sides where they adjoin the sole inside the mouth to provide yet more clearance.

    See? Fearless and stupid…

  3. Steve McDaniel

    Chris,
    Thanks for the review. I managed to get one of these and I was very impressed with how easy it was to adjust the blade. I don’t have a lot of scraper experience yet, so I appreciate the heads up on the clogging…I probably would have thought clogging was due to my lack of experience. I don’t think I’ll mind keeping the shavings cleared out, as I don’t plan to be using this for long stretches of time or over large surfaces. I’m not using this on my current project (a swing set…got the main beam glued up last weekend), but am hoping it will make leveling some inlay work go a little easier later this year (have I mentioned that I hope to ban my sanders?).

    Steve

  4. Michael Dyer

    Hi, Chris,
    Send one to Dereck Cohen (one of my favorite people – you’d think I’d learn to spell his name!). Derek (according to my spell checker) will whip up an adjustable jotoba throat insert and voila’, no more pesky sticking shavings.
    Mike Dyer

  5. dave brown

    Chris, I had the same idea — to grind one end into a straight driver too. I haven’t gotten to it either.

  6. Christopher Schwarz

    Rob,

    Actually, my plan was to grind one end of the hex-head key (included) into a straight driver. That way it would be just one tool to adjust the tool. But then I got sidetracked by something else shiny in the shop.

    Chris

  7. Rob Porcaro

    Thanks for the review Chris.

    There is a functional gap between the fabulous Veritas large scraper plane and a card scraper, which I feel the No. 80 type of scraper does a poor job of filling. As soon as I saw this new offering from Veritas I sensed it might fill that niche with its better ergonomics and balance.

    I like the blade cambering feature. I wonder if Veritas, or the end user, can replace the slot head cambering screw with one that can be operated with just fingers. It seems like it would be an annoyance to pick up a screwdriver to tune the camber as you work.

  8. Christopher Schwarz

    Yes, the cows get annoyed. The sheep are fine with it, however. They’re used to being scraped.

    Chris

  9. Steve

    "I wouldn’t want to learn to use the tool on live stock."

    Some may consider this to be a fine point, but normally, you wait until _after_ you’ve removed the hide from the cow before you scrape it (to remove the hair, bits of flesh, etc.).

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