What A Difference 12 Degrees of Bevel Makes
I have been using a Veritas bevel up smoother for a few years now with no complaints. The stock 25 degree blade was great but I switched over to a 38 degree for a combined 50 degree “York” pitch after a while and dedicated this plane to tough grain situations. I have a refurbished Stanley #4 that I used for everyday smoothing stuff, but as soon as I run into anything figured or with reversing grain I turn to my Veritas.
I just celebrated by 35th birthday this week and my lovely wife gave me a new 50 degree bevel replacement blade for the Veritas. This was something I was interested in trying ever since trying out some of the really premium planes like Brese and Sauer & Steiner while at Woodworking In America last year. These premium tools have their irons bedded at 55, 60, or sometimes higher for that tearout free cut. With this new 50 degree blade bedded bevel up at 12 degrees I now have a smoother set at 62 degrees.
A very little bit of honing and polishing of the primary and micro bevels and the iron was ready to work. I had just finished up a miter bench hook where I crafted the fence out of a scrap piece of maple turning stock that was 1.75″ thick. This particular piece was cut off a highly figured larger piece so while not heavily figured it had some curly grain nonetheless. I had secured the fence and cut the two 45 degree slots and a 90 degree slot. I secured the fence to the hook using glue and Miller dowels so while flushing the pegs to the surface I really began to uncover the wicked grain beneath. This was the perfect test for my new “premium” smoothing plane.
Schnick, schnick, schnick and with three short passes the pegs were flush with nary a torn grain and beautifully glowing curly maple appearing as if from no where. I immediately turned to the other bench hook I have just created. This one I call my low profile hook because the fence is only 1/4″ high and it is meant for working with small pieces. The fence was crafted from left over Bubinga that was already planed to 1/4″ thick. This stock has wicked hard grain with early and late growth rings intertwining throughout. The wood is hard and unforgiving. I had already planed the pegs flush using my old smoothing set up of 50 degrees and it smoothed it but left some tearout in the expected places. I ignored it because…well…it’s a bench appliance. Flush with success using my new 62 degree setup on the other hook I tried to tackle the beastly Bubinga.
Schnick, schnick, schnnnniiiick again and…WOW! What a difference 12 degrees makes!