11 March 2014

Anarchy and the Angle

A curious and interesting title for this entry, n'est pas?  Let me expound further.

I'm currently around two thirds the way through my signed, genuine, cotton pickin', geetar plucking', USA copy of Schwarz's tome, 'The Anarchist's Toolchest' and if you haven't dipped an eyeball into it over your breakfast muesli, then I strongly suggest you do.

It's a good and amusing read, even making allowances for the dang Americanisms that pepper the plot.  I agree with the man on around 98% of his observations, bearing in mind that we as woodworkers are all odd buggers and as such, approach the craft in different directions.

In the section on tools he mentions the ubiquitous scraper plane as being a desirable addition to the chest and in particular, the tried and tested No. 80, updated in recent years to a much superior (in my view at least) version by Lee Valley.  In the same breath, Schwarz also notes that an unnamed, large scraper plane is a more or less a complete pain in the arris to set up…the blade is straight and if not bowed or curved, the corner will dig infuriatingly into the job.

He also mentions that part of the issue with this unnamed, large scraper plane is setting the correct angle for the blade and on both counts, Schwarz is correct.

Not being a plane collector in any way shape or form, I happen, by the merest chance to own both of these scraper planes and knowing that the Veritas No. 80 is set correctly, I wondered how to replicate the angle in the LN 112.  The answer is, as always, very simple.

Place the LN 112 at the far edge of the bench and undo the adjusting screws then grab the LV 80 and place side by side with the 112.  On bended knee, squint across the two planes as you would do a pair of winding sticks and twiddle the LN 112 screws until the blade is parallel with the LV 80.

A swift test on a gash bit of oak showed that with the correct angle, the LN is a vastly different tool to use.  All I need to work out now is how to put a gentle curve on the blade at the corners to stop it digging in...


Ralph J Boumenot said...

Just thinking out loud - would filing the corners do the same thing?

Woodbloke said...

Probably. A touch on a course stone would also work, in fact anything would do the job just as long as the 90deg corners can be smoothed. Otherwise it's a non-user.

Anonymous said...

IMHO the Veritas larger scraper plane is superior to the LN in that it takes a thin or a thick blade. The thin blade can be bowed, just like the one in the #80, which avoids problems with the corners digging in.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

Woodbloke said...

Agreed Paul, with one provision. The Veritas blade doesn't have parallel sides which makes it slightly more difficult to hold when honing the 45deg angle. As ever though, it's horses for whatnot's...