A couple years ago I revealed my secret shame: I use pliers to tighten the round collets on the fences and depth stops of my Veritas planes. Read that post here.
I was admonished by the “lovers of round brass things” but then eventually was released on my own recognizance.
Recently, a professional woodworker in Wales devised a simple leather and wood strap wrench that tightens these brassy bits without marring them. During a recent trip to England I acquired one of these wrenches from the maker, Bern Billsberry, and my brass bits will forever be swaddled in black leather.
The aptly named Nutsaver is a tool that you can choose to buy or make. Bern has put up instructions for making your own here on his Instagram feed. Anyone can make one with basic leather and woodworking skills. In the U.K. you can buy one from Bern by dropping him a line through his Instagram account. In the United States, Sterling Toolworks carries the tool.
It works simply through friction and leverage. You put the leather lasso on the nut and twist clockwise to tighten. The nut will move only a tiny bit – and that’s all it takes. At that point you will be unable to loosen the nut by hand.
A group of my students took a Veritas skew rabbet plane for a two-day joyride this month and the fence didn’t slip once. Oh, and the tool also works on depth stops.
To loosen the nuts, turn the tool over and repeat the process, this time twisting it counterclockwise.
In all, the device works remarkably well. Want to read more double-entendres about metallic nuts and their eventual salvation? Check out this entry by luthier Kieran Binnie at OverTheWireless.
— Christopher Schwarz