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
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
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.
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.
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.
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Veritas Iron Edge Trimming Plane Photos
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written permission prohibited
Closeup shot of the blade and adjustment features
This hole is one of two you can use to secure a wooden wedge for
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.