Review By Dean Bielanowski  Veritas Website - http://www.leevalley.com

Veritas® Iron Edge-Trimming Planes - Woodworking

Veritas Iron-Edge Trimming Plane
 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

 

I'll be the first to admit that I am not much of a "darkside" tool user... that is, I prefer power tools to old-style hand-powered tools. In saying that though, I do not despise these tools, and in fact, I have quite a number of these classic woodworking type tools in my shop, and use them fairly often. I am also the first to admit that some darkside tools simply cannot be matched by powered equivalents for a quick and easy solution to a woodworking problem.

The Veritas Iron Edge Trim plane is one of these tools.

Veritas Iron-Edge Trimming Plane
The iron edge trimming plane is designed to provide a perfect 90 degree edge on boards, or for work on end grain. The planes are available in either a right hand version or a left hand version, depending on your preferred working hand, however, in some situations, where grain direction varies greatly on a particular face, it might be beneficial to use the opposite plane - also, for situations like molding where the plane can go in only one direction due to having only one usable, flat reference face. Ideally you would have both in your workshop, but if the budget does not allow, go for the version to fit your working hand preference.

The planes are constructed from durable ductile iron in Canada with the traditional Veritas tools black finish with brass fittings. The right angle working faces of the blades are machined to an exact 90 degree angle, referenced with a machinist's corner. The internal angle has a round relief milled to allow the sharp edge of the board to sit within. The bed angle is set at 12 degrees with the blade skewed to 30 degrees to aid in easier and cleaner end grain work. Because the ductile iron surfaces are prone to rust, they should be initially sealed and regularly maintained with a silicone-free paste wax to prevent moisture/sweat from corroding the working surfaces. The surfaces are treated with a rust preventive out of the box, so the plane arrives in tip top condition, so remove this surface finish with mineral spirits before applying a wax treatment. The wax treatment, once dried and buffed, also reduces surface friction, helping the plane to glide over the wood surface much easier.

The design of the tool, with the rounded back to fit comfortably in the palm of the hand provides a natural and correct hold on the tool which results in less user fatigue over extended periods of use. The plane blade is 1/8" thick and available in either O1 or A2 steel at time of purchase. It is 1 1/4" wide to provide a working 1" planing width. The blade is ground to 20 degrees making it most suitable for long grain work, or end grain work on softwoods and is used bevel up. For harder woods, a secondary bevel at 25 degrees or up to 30 degrees may be required for more effective and cleaner planing results. Combined with the blade bed angle of 12 degrees, the effective cutting angle becomes 32 degrees out of the box. The blade is provided ready to use, i.e. it is sharp out of the box, unlike some other planes that ship with blades requiring further honing or even some major grinding to put a suitable edge of the tool. The plane blade supplied passed the paper cut test right out of the box meaning you can get straight to work using the iron-edge plane.

Blade adjustment is made via the Adjustment thumb wheel, open but encased somewhat by the rounded back edge of the plane body. This also helps prevent the adjustment wheel being moved or turned accidentally in use. The fine adjustment rod thread means precise blade depth adjustments can be made to produce even the finest semi-transparent wood shavings. The lever cap and brass lever cap knob secure the blade in place once it is properly set. Once the blade is correctly set parallel to the sole (which is quite easy to do by eye), two set screws sitting adjacent to the edge of the blade (one on each side of the blade) can be set to just touch the blade edges. This helps virtually eliminate the chance for the blade to skew or shift sideways when encountering knots or severely cranky grain. It's a basic but well thought-out addition to the tool.

In Use
Once you have the blade set correctly at the required depth of cut, you can either use the plane in the standard manner by pushing the blade through the wood away from you, or even by pulling the plane toward you across the board. While I prefer the push method, as it just seems more comfortable for me, the pull method works equally well, but requires (obviously) a different grip on the tool. The pull method just didn't seem as comfortable to adopt for me, but your mileage may vary depending on what you are accustomed to and how you work with other planes you may own.

The plane works great for finishing edges that come straight off the table saw, and while it can be used to square up handsaw cut edges too, the process will naturally take a little longer. For joining boards to make wider stock, this plane is invaluable. It definitely gives a glue-line finish, well, that's a bit harsh saying that because the line is barely visible at all once the edges are worked with this tool. And if you match your grain and natural color of the boards, the join line will be virtually invisible. And not only will it make those joins very much difficult to see, but the refined square edges will also provide a stronger joint. I tested the plane angle by squaring the edges of many boards in different directions and by flipping the boards after planing to see if I could find any hint of a light line between the boards when dry-fit together, and to be honest, there was virtually no sign of any angle error, at least none noticeable to my naked eye. Good planing technique and making your final planing passes very light ones with shallow cut depth ensure this level of accuracy. Long, continuous planing passes work well for long grain edge work, and the plane is capable of producing continuous coils of shavings at constant depth and thickness. For end grain work, because of the tendency for edges to chipout, the plane should be used traveling from the outer edge toward the center to avoid this problem.

The plane is not only used for producing square edges. With a little modification it can also be used for planing beveled edges. Two holes are milled in the face of the sole opposite the plane blade to allow the user to attach angled wooden wedges of any angle (user to make and fit) to plane bevels. The wooden angled wedge is attached using two #8 wood screws (not supplied). Beveled angles can then be trimmed accurately for making multi-sided boxes, or for whatever task your require an accurate angle to be milled at.

Overall
Like other Veritas products I own and use, this Iron-Edge plane (both the left-hand and right-hand versions) easily matches the quality and accuracy the Veritas name is renowned for. It works equally well on softwood and hardwood (with bevel adjustment as mentioned above) and is useful on end grain too (if you don't have a dedicated end-grain plane). Plus, the price is very reasonable for a high quality plane. At US$105 for the iron-edge plane, I think it offers good value for money for a quality tool that will produce quality workmanship.

Available to Order Online through these companies...
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In Australia:


www.timbecon.com.au
 

Veritas Iron Edge Trimming Plane Photos
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Closeup shot of the blade and adjustment features


This hole is one of two you can use to secure a wooden wedge for beveled planing


The machined sole faces. Notice the circular relief at the inside angle to accommodate board edges


The rounded end of the plane fits nicely in the palm of your hand


Bed angle of 12 degrees


The blades are ready to use straight out of the box!


Edge planing a board in preparation for a multi-board glue-up.


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