Author Topic: Dictum low angle block plane.  (Read 1905 times)

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Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Dictum low angle block plane.
« on: November 18, 2016, 04:26 PM »
Today my new purchase, the Dictum low angle block plane with adjustable mouth was delivered at work. It's basically the Quansheng block plane in Dictum's signature light brown colour and the casting has a little "D" next to the knob for the mouth plate. The first thing I did (after cleaning it of course) was check it for flatness and squareness. Both were perfectly acceptable out of the box but like I do with all my planes I stuck down a piece of 320 grit wet and dry to the table of the shop jointer and flattened it until it was dead flat. That took me about 30 seconds. The sides were a little bit out of square but that doesn't bother me since I don't use block planes for shooting. The only thing left to do was break the edges. Then it was on to the blade. It's a very nice, 3mm thick, SK4 carbon steel blade @ 62HRC. The first thing to do was re-grinding the bevel to 28 degrees which results in a total angle of 40 degrees. On to my my trusty King 1200 and it showed me the back of the blade is slightly hollow, just the way I like it because it speeds up the work on the back. 30 seconds was enough to get the edge of the back completely flat. The next step was polishing the bevel on the Sigma 6000 with took just a few passes and removing the remaining burr by doing a few strokes with the back on the Sigma 6000. I also have to mention the bedding of the blade which is very well machined and nice and big for maximum support. The threading for the depth adjuster knob is also fit for purpose. it may be a bit on the coarse side but still more than capable of very fine adjustment. I actually like that it's a bit coarser because it requires less turns of the knob.The backlash is also minimal, just over a quarter turn. All in all this is very nice block plane and very good value for the money. (€57)

So why did it buy it and how does it perform? Well, the Veritas low angle block plane is my all time favourite plane but for some things it's too wide. Lastly the performance is what I would expect it to be from this plane. There's no blade chatter and the heft of the plane helps in pushing it along. If I have to think of something to criticise it would be that it's just slightly too long. For me the length results in me having to stretch my hand a bit more to place my index finger on the knob for the adjustable mouth. But it's certainly not a deal breaker for me, the ergonomics are still just fine. I'm just used to the flawless Veritas.

« Last Edit: November 18, 2016, 04:53 PM by Lemwise »

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Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 110
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Dictum low angle block plane.
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2016, 06:57 PM »
That has potential to be a nice plane. It is based on the LN #60 1/2, which is an update on the Stanley #60 1/2. The LN is the same plan as the Stanley, but is a substantially better built plane, with a thicker blade.

The Dictum comes out of the same Chinese factory that builds WoodRiver. Several years ago, there was a great deal of controversy (rightly in my opinion) when WoodRiver produced planes appeared to be molded and cast from LN planes. Since then, the factory has attempted to create an identity of its own, and brought in Rob Cosman to aid in design. This block plane moved the appearance away from the #60 1/2 by incorporating the look of the Stanley #65 knucklehead lever cap.

I have both the Stanley #65 (low angle) and #18 (common angle) block planes, both of which are classics. Excellent users, except I find them too wide (and I have a broad hand). They are the same width as the LV LA Block Plane. Because of this, when looking for an alternative many years ago, I preferred the slimmer LN #60 1/2, which is still one of my go-to block planes - and is essentially what you have done.

I wrote a comparison of the LN #60 1/2 when reviewing the Veritas NX60, which is another of my favourites:   http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolReviews/VeritasPremiumBlockPlane.html

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline LJD

  • Posts: 62
Re: Dictum low angle block plane.
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2016, 05:28 AM »
Value for money it looks great .Block planes and small planes have become  some of my favourite tools to use. I just love how they work .

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: Dictum low angle block plane.
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2016, 03:11 PM »
That has potential to be a nice plane.
Not just the potential. It's a nice plane, period. Especially for this kind of money. It doesn't require any serious work out of the box. Literally the only thing I did was lap the sole and even that wasn't absolutely necessary. I just like a smooth finish on the sole because it makes the plane glide better. The only thing I can find wrong with mine is that the blade opening is 1mm out of centre to the right. But who the heck cares about something like that? I certainly don't.

Quote
The Dictum comes out of the same Chinese factory that builds WoodRiver. Several years ago, there was a great deal of controversy (rightly in my opinion) when WoodRiver produced planes appeared to be molded and cast from LN planes. Since then, the factory has attempted to create an identity of its own, and brought in Rob Cosman to aid in design. This block plane moved the appearance away from the #60 1/2 by incorporating the look of the Stanley #65 knucklehead lever cap.
Yep, it's the Quansheng made plane. And there isn't much they can do design wise. I mean, a plane is a plane and the form is dictated by function.

Quote
I wrote a comparison of the LN #60 1/2 when reviewing the Veritas NX60, which is another of my favourites:   http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolReviews/VeritasPremiumBlockPlane.html
I did ponder getting the DX60 but ultimately decided against it. For this kind of money it's a plane I can "abuse" somewhat and not worry about replacing it.

Two of the other shipwrights at work also ordered the Dictum after trying out mine. One of them said: "Why didn't I know about this plane years ago. I've always hated that stupid Stanley thing." For some strange reason the cheap and dirty Stanley 60½ is the standard among shipwrights in The Netherlands. I ditched that piece of crap years ago. Oh boy, how I hate that stupid thing. The stupid little lever on the lever cap always comes loose, the blade is too thin and soft, the adjustable mouth doesn't open and close smoothly and the overall quality sucks donkey balls. I truly don't understand why any serious shipwright would want to use that piece of crap, but like I said, it's the standard block plane over here. And get this, the Dictum costs just €12-15 but you get so much more for the money.

Edit: Okay, so the paint isn't the strongest but to be honest for this money I didn't expect it to be. The top of the left cheek already has a small paint chip missing. It's not a powder coating that's baked on but most likely some kind of spray paint. Does it bother me? Not in the least because it's a tool. It would if the plane would cost €100 or more. It doesn't alter the performance in any way and it performs great.




« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 02:49 PM by Lemwise »

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: Dictum low angle block plane.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2016, 01:39 PM »
Another update, this time on the block plane. After using it some time I can say it's a solid, well made plane with a good blade and it's easy to adjust. But it has one major flaw and that's the stainless steel cap. Because of the shape the apex of the bump is placed right on the heel of the palm of your hand instead of the centre so every time you push the plane forward your hand also slides forward. Basically, it's a pain in the  to use. I've written the plane off as a loss and I've ordered the Quangsheng V3 block plane from Workshop Heaven. This one has a bronze cap that's shaped and placed correctly and it also has a better adjuster with a finer thread.