Author Topic: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?  (Read 2136 times)

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Offline Ster1154

  • Posts: 64
    • WoodEyes Woodworks
I recently treated myself to a few Lie-Nielsen bench planes & chisels as well as a few Veritas chisels.  For years I'd been using mid-range planes & chisels and am familiar with the amount of prep work that goes into these tools before you first use them (flattening the back / sole, grinding the bevel, honing a microbevel).

I'm eager to get going with these tools but wanted to check if others had experience with them and, if so, what prep work did you do prior using them for the first time?  It seems the backs / soles will be dead-on flat from the factory and the bevel should be ground properly.  Is all I have to do is run it across a whetstone at the secondary bevel setting to hone that and then be set?

Thanks all!

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Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 178
I stared at your post for a minute trying to decide my answer. I don’t own any Veritas planes or chisels but I own quite a lot of LN. In my experience chisels are generally pretty straight forward, the backs I have encountered are flat but not polished all the way up to a mirror where I would like them to be. I usually end up working the back with one or two high grit stones and then hone on a strop to get the mirror I want. The bevel is usually much of the same, a few passes on one or two high grit stones, stropping and then a quick micro bevel.

In my experience the planes can be a bit more complicated. I live in Texas and sometimes the acclimation from Maine to Texas can cause some changes. No matter where you are the castings involved in planes can be on the move when you first get them. I let mine acclimate to my shop for a few weeks and then I work the blade back and bevel pretty much like what I described above. After that I make some test cuts. If I like what I see I I’m done. If not then I usually like to use a glass plate and some high grit sandpaper on the sole for just a few light passes to see what I’ve got. Then I work back down from there as needed. Just remember to leave everything assembled to keep the proper stress on the sole. 

So in a word, yes, I think that your original assumptions are pretty much spot on. In my opinion, of course.

Offline CirclDigital

  • Posts: 67
It doesn’t really differ from what you are doing now.... the initial steps are exactly the same. Don’t skip any of it. The difference is that for these a few swipes might be enough to polish the back and hone the bevels.

And for the planes you shouldn’t need to do any work but checking the soles for flatness and the alignment of the frog is never a bad idea. If you find an issue there just send them back for an exchange, that’s what you are paying a premium for.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 01:52 AM by CirclDigital »

Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 234
You might want to polish the chipbreaker on a LN plane.  Camber the iron if you want to.  Other than that, if the casting isn't flat and square, send it back.   Sometimes some lemons get through QC.   I have a few of their planes and they work very well out of the box.  Tuning to personal preference should be all you need to do imo.

I bought a Veritas chisel to check them out.  Not my cup of tea in terms of aesthetics and feel but it cuts well and holds its edge.  As I recall all I did was a little work on the back with a diamond plate and then a water stone.  It went pretty fast.   I think it was finished quite well out of the package, with a back flat enough that it wasn't an issue beyond removing some fine grinding marks.   Again, if the premium chisels you get don't have flat backs, send them back because it's a QC issue. Chisels under $20 or $30 apiece are a different story.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2382
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
I am far from being an expert, but I own a lot of LN planes, Bridge City planes (never used), LN chisels, and Blue Spruce chisels. The LN and Blue Spruce tools have all been as flat as I’ll ever need. I built a jig board per LN specs for using the LN honing guide. I had to reestablish the primary bevel on the LN chisels and then work down to the final (10,000 grit) honing. The Blue Spruce chisels were the same. This is due to my jig being slightly off from the LN factory jig. A fraction of a mm off will cause this to happen. The LN plane iron just needed a light honing with 8000 then 10,000. My jig just happened to be exactly right.

It’s probably heresy, but I used a series of diamond stones to get really close on the primary bevel and then switched to water stones.
Birdhunter

Offline Ster1154

  • Posts: 64
    • WoodEyes Woodworks
Thank you so much everyone!   Lots of excellent feedback that I'll digest and take into account as I get these tools ready for some weekend woodworking

Offline JSlovic

  • Posts: 101
I polished the edges and back of my Veritas chisels with using the 3M film on glass per Peter Parfitt's excellent video. I got a piece of tempered shelf glass at a store equipment place off Howell Mill Rd for a couple of bucks.
One note the sides of these chisels are very sharp, be sure to knock that edge down or you'll get a nasty cut.

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2640
I polished the edges and back of my Veritas chisels with using the 3M film on glass per Peter Parfitt's excellent video. I got a piece of tempered shelf glass at a store equipment place off Howell Mill Rd for a couple of bucks.
One note the sides of these chisels are very sharp, be sure to knock that edge down or you'll get a nasty cut.

I know that's right!  [scared] [embarassed]
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline Rob Lee

  • Festool Dealer
  • *
  • Posts: 170
    • Lee Valley/Veritas
I recently treated myself to a few Lie-Nielsen bench planes & chisels as well as a few Veritas chisels.  For years I'd been using mid-range planes & chisels and am familiar with the amount of prep work that goes into these tools before you first use them (flattening the back / sole, grinding the bevel, honing a microbevel).

I'm eager to get going with these tools but wanted to check if others had experience with them and, if so, what prep work did you do prior using them for the first time?  It seems the backs / soles will be dead-on flat from the factory and the bevel should be ground properly.  Is all I have to do is run it across a whetstone at the secondary bevel setting to hone that and then be set?

Thanks all!


Hi -

Our chisels are lapped flat to .00005" variance per inch.... you should not have to flatten them. You will have to dress or stone the bevels if you find them sharp. I believe we take the bevels down to a height of .5 mmm. Even so - any chisel or blade becomes sharp at the edge after lapping - a 90 degree angle can be just as sharp as a 30 degree one....!

Cheers -

Rob

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 679
Snipe


Hi -

Our chisels are lapped flat to .00005" variance per inch.... you should not have to flatten them.

Cheers -

Rob

Wow. That kind of tolerance should satisfy even those who demand tools that must be "perfectly" flat or straight or ... square.

All my new Veritas blades and chisels are used out of the box (after honing the micro bevels). The only time I touch the back is when the burr or wire edge is removed.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 08:21 PM by ChuckM »

Offline tallgrass

  • Posts: 744
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2018, 04:49 AM »
.000050 wow...+- what? That is one heck of a spec. how do you hit that in production? I don't think I could test that with my AA reference. I think I should get some just to interrogate them optically with my helium light.   I am not kidding , I would love to see it.


















Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 805
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2018, 10:00 AM »
Our chisels are lapped flat to .00005" variance per inch.... you should not have to flatten them. You will have to dress or stone the bevels if you find them sharp.

Great specs, @Rob Lee.  I have several LV chisels and plane blades and I've never had an issue with out of flat.  The question that I have is, what is the equivalent Waterstone grit to which the backs are smoothed at the factory?  They kind of look grayish out of the box, so I'm always tempted to smooth out the backs with waterstones starting at maybe 1000 grit.  However, I suspect that would just ruin the finish that you've already put on them, because it -feels- like they are smoother than that, even though it doesn't look like it.

The reason that I'm concerned is that the final finish on the back should match the final finish on the bevel.  Otherwise one of the two planes (back and bevel) that meet at the edge is rougher than the other, and the edge will only be as sharp as the roughest of the two.  If I hone the bevel to 8000 grit, but the back is only smoothed to 2000 grit, the edge will only cut and last as well as if both were only sharpened to 2000 grit.  So if LV is smoothing the backs to 8000 grit and I'm honing the bevel to 4000, I'm wasting the nice polishing job that you've done on the back.  On the other hand, if LV is smoothing the back to 2000 and I'm honing the bevel to 8000, I'm wasting my time.

Even worse, if LV polishes the backs to 4000, and I try to polish the backs starting with a 1000 grit stone, I'm just making a huge amount of rework for myself, and probably destroying the 0.00005" spec on flatness in the process.  On the other hand, if LV is polishing the back to 1000 grit, and I start trying to polish it at 8000 grit, I will be polishing a very long time before I get the back polished to 8000.

I've ordered an endoscope to check out my edges, but haven't used it yet.  That's the only way I can think of to check for myself.

« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 10:09 AM by HarveyWildes »

Offline Rob Lee

  • Festool Dealer
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  • Posts: 170
    • Lee Valley/Veritas
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2018, 11:30 AM »
.000050 wow...+- what? That is one heck of a spec. how do you hit that in production? I don't think I could test that with my AA reference. I think I should get some just to interrogate them optically with my helium light.   I am not kidding , I would love to see it.

Hi -

We use a multiple grit lapping process on our blades, capable ( so I’m told) of better than that in practice, under ideal conditions. The production of a flat surface requires the use of multiple lapping surfaces; rubbing two surfaces together only shapes them to each other, not necessarily flat. Of course, there may be movement after unloading, so that can be taken with a grain of salt. The point is, though, that an end user would find it difficult to improve on our flatness.

Now, flatness and surface finish are different things, so surface finish can be improved with finer grits. You’ll note that our blades have a dull gray finish....that’s due to a random scratch pattern produced by our lapping. Looking at the blade from a lower angle of incidence, it is a mirror....

So - you should apply whatever your final honing/stropping/lapping step would be to the back of our blades... but do so in a manner that won’t affect flatness!

Cheers,

Rob

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 805
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2018, 01:08 PM »
Now, flatness and surface finish are different things, so surface finish can be improved with finer grits. You’ll note that our blades have a dull gray finish....that’s due to a random scratch pattern produced by our lapping. Looking at the blade from a lower angle of incidence, it is a mirror....


Any recommendations on what grit to start with to improve the surface finish?


Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2382
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2018, 05:51 PM »
I use the LN guide and their jig plan for setting bevel angles. I built the jig as close as I could to the LN specs. Even then, I had to reestablish the primary bevel. Once I reestablished the bevels and honed to 10,000 grit, resharpening became just using 8000 then 10,000 grits.

I wish LN would sell a jig set exactly like their factory jig.
Birdhunter

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2640
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2018, 10:03 PM »
I use the LN guide and their jig plan for setting bevel angles. I built the jig as close as I could to the LN specs. Even then, I had to reestablish the primary bevel. Once I reestablished the bevels and honed to 10,000 grit, resharpening became just using 8000 then 10,000 grits.

I wish LN would sell a jig set exactly like their factory jig.

Why would you need to reestablish the bevels? Couldn't you simply have left the primary bevel as is and proceeded to hone the secondary bevel, and hold off on the primary bevel until after the secondary bevel was larger? I don't see where an exact bevel angle is all that important, but rather being able to re-hone to the same angle time after time is what you're after as then you won't have to remove as much metal at each sharpening session.

Also, why do so much work on the primary bevel -- to 10,000 grit? Isn't this pointless, so to speak? When using a secondary bevel, only that secondary bevel and the back should matter -- the primary could be left rather coarse.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 10:08 PM by Corwin »
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 679
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2018, 12:09 AM »

Snipe.

The reason that I'm concerned is that the final finish on the back should match the final finish on the bevel.  Otherwise one of the two planes (back and bevel) that meet at the edge is rougher than the other, and the edge will only be as sharp as the roughest of the two.  If I hone the bevel to 8000 grit, but the back is only smoothed to 2000 grit, the edge will only cut and last as well as if both were only sharpened to 2000 grit. 

If you are indeed concerned with the difference between the edge on the back and the edge on the bevel for a plane blade, consider using the ruler trick to put them on the same grit finish, without worrying about destroying the super flat back that comes with a Veritas blade. (The ruler trick is not to be used on a chisel.)

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2382
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: How much prep work for Lie-Nielsen / Veritas bench planes / chisels?
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2018, 04:48 AM »
Corbin, I have tried secondary bevels, but prefer using just the primary bevel. Even if I did use secondary bevels, eventually, the primary bevel has to be reestablished.

Re the 10,000 grit  waterstones finish, I think the chisels and planes cut smoother going 8000 to 10,000 and they look pretty.

The jig stops only need to be fractions of a mm off to not match the LN factory angle.

Once the chisel or plane iron is ground/honed per my jig, only the high grit waterstones need to be used.
Birdhunter