Santa brought me a Veritas bevel-up jointer plane this past Christmas. I was sooo impressed that he has an account with Lee Valley. Don’t ever under-estimate how well-connected Santa is; I suspect he has an account with all the best plane makers. 🙂
While doing research on which plane to put on my Christmas wish list, my final options were the Veritas bevel-up jointer and the Lie-Nielsen #7 jointer. Both manufacturers are highly regarded – I would easily buy from either company; but there is a significant price difference between the two planes. The Lie-Nielsen costs about $125 more when compared to the Veritas equivalent outfitted with their premium PMV11 blade. So, to me the decision to get the Veritas bevel-up jointer was pretty simple.
But I did see one negative review of the Veritas plane. The poor critique centered on the fact that the Veritas jointer is not suitable for shooting end-grain. Since I don’t ever plan on shooting end-grain, this was not an issue for me, but I did wonder why Veritas designed their jointer with sides which are not flat (note the photo above).
Today, I heard the answer in an episode of Fine Woodworking’s Shop Talk Live podcast. In the podcast, Fine Woodworking’s Asa Christiana is interviewing Lee Valley’s Robin Lee. At about the 34 minute mark Robin starts talking about their product line. He states that their low-angle jack plane is designed for shooting; not their jointer or even their smooth planes.
For me, an answered question which has been nagging at me a little. Robin Lee also stated that their design for the Veritas bevel-up jointer really makes it more like a #7 1/2 bench plane, adding further value when compared to the LN #7. But, if you intend to do shooting and want a jointer to do it with, you would have to look more closely at Lie-Nielsen.
Do I really need a jointer plane?
Also this week I listened to Wood Talk episode #177, a podcast episode devoted strictly to the subject of hybrid woodworking. I was a little surprised when Marc, Matt and Shannon recommended against the purchase of a jointer plane if a woodworker has the option of buying a stationary powered jointer.
It seems that all the laborious work involved with surfacing a board by hand makes using power tools a lot more pleasant. I got my jointer plane to supplement what I can not accurately do with my powered jointer – joint edges on long boards or flatten the face of wide panels. Their final advice was to do woodworking which makes you happy. Mastering the jointer plane would make me very happy, so I’ll be keeping mine for the time being.
Concerning the bookcase project
There has been a lot going on at our home in the past two weeks and I have made very little progress on my daughter’s new bookcase. I have purchased some cherry and have begun milling the legs. Last night, I tried to use my jointer plane on the rough edges of the 8/4 cherry – I have a lot to learn about setting up my jointer plane to make good cuts. Ironically, just like the guys at Wood Talk recommended, I turned to my power jointer for this task.
I’ll have a more detailed update next week.