Cute as a bug’s ear , though far more useful than any insect’s tympanal organ , are the new detail rabbet planes from Veritas (the high-end, made-in-Canada house brand of Lee Valley Tools). These wee planes are machined so the sole is square to the sides, and they’re very narrow, so they’re good for laying flat on a tenon cheek to trim small tenon shoulders in lieu of a shoulder plane, or where I might usually turn to a router plane, such as in cleaning up the floor of small dados. And because the planes fit easily into the palm of even my very small hand, and with a smooth finish both on the front and back edges, they’re easy and comfortable for me to control with either a push or pull stroke. (I tried to take a picture of the 1/4″ plane in use , but with a 3″-long body, it’s so small that my hand covers it up.)
Available in five sizes (6 mm, 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″ and 10 mm), the planes have a ductile cast iron body with a fixed mouth and a forged brass handle. The blade is O1 steel with a standard 45Ã?Â° cutting angle (15Ã?Â° bed and 30Ã?Â° bevel-up blade angle). Adjustments are made with a gentle nudge , at the blade’s heel to adjust skew, at the front to adjust lateral projection, and with a small screwdriver between the blade and body to increase the depth of cut. It takes a bit of fussing to get everything just right, but once you do, the screw holds everything firmly in place.
This plane (or planes, if you want more than one) could take the place of a small shoulder plane and a small router plane (though you’ll need a bit more practice and skill to achieve the same cuts as with the dedicated tools) and save you some cash. Each plane is U.S. $65; replacement blades are U.S. $9.75. Or you can get a set of three (either metric or imperial) for $149 through March 25 (after which the three-set price is $169).
– Megan Fitzpatrick
p.s. If you’re not familiar with the Daily Squee, check it out (unless you don’t like cute animals).