Fair Woodworking

February 11, 2013

This one has reverse

Filed under: Strong opinion warning! — fairwoodworking @ 9:00 pm

It would seem I’m just spoiling for a fight this evening. Perhaps I should stop reading woodworking forums, or it could be that I’m just tired of shoveling snow…

The “What kind of plane should I buy” threads are starting to drive me a little squirrely, but it’s not the question, rather it’s some of the answers.

Most often, you can expect that there will be overwhelming support for the Veritas line of bevel up planes. I have no qualms with that. Veritas makes fantastic planes. Nobody makes a better machined tool, and they work really, really well. I own a couple of their planes, and they are great, although I’m not convinced they are ideal for beginners.

But that’s not my issue either, my opinion is just that, my opinion. So in that regard, I say it’s tomato, tomato, potato, potato.

My issue is in the reasons some people give as to why one product is better than another product.

When I first got into hand tools, Lie-Nielsen was king. People viewed Veritas as the young upstart, and not taken too seriously. But when they both started coming out with bevel up planes, heated arguments on what brand was better, got so out of hand that it nearly destroyed a couple of forums.

in that time, one point was made that seems to have both stuck, and also taken on a life of its own.

Both brands include smothers, Jack planes, and Jointers. For LN, the blades on the smoother, and Jack are 2″ wide while the Jointer’s blade is 2-1/4″ wide. The Veritas line has all three with 2-1/4″ wide blades, making the blades “fully” interchangeable. (by the way, I think this is a totally useless feature).

Anyways, this is an absolutely fair and factual comparison (I checked), but over the years, the LN vs. Veritas comparison has been mostly forgotten, and it is now used in the Bevel up vs. Bevel down debate.

To say that the Veritas line of BUS, LAJ, and BU Jointer have interchangeable blades, is factual, but in comparing them to BD planes, is as useful a point as saying you should buy one car over another because this one has a reverse gear.


Well at least in this country they do…

These 3 Veritas planes have Bevel down equivalents. In the Stanley numbering system they would be the #4-1/2, #5-1/2, and the #7. All three use a 2-3/8″ wide blade, and you also have the option of the #6 foreplane.

Hey look at that! The Stanley line is even more interchangeable!

Not that I care though.

But hey, I’m not poo, pooing Veritas, or LN, or bevel down, or even bevel up.

I’m just asking that when we praise our favorite tools, let’s make sure that we are praising them for the right things.

Climb down from soap box,

Wish everyone a good night.

Exit stage left.

No, no. My other left…



  1. Wrong 🙂


    PS: What happens Oct 26, 2017?

    Comment by Chris Wong — February 12, 2013 @ 3:55 am

    • I stand corrected… I guess.

      “PS: What happens Oct 26, 2017?”

      Oh is that still up there? I was just screwing around one night, and forgot to take it off. But now that you mention it, I’m intrigued. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I can’t wait to find out!

      Comment by fairwoodworking — February 13, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

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