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I have a decent block plane (low angle, adjustable mouth, good quality all-around). enter image description here

I just saw a Veritas #1 bevel-up smoother plane which seems to be similar in size and was thinking if it would make sense to buy one or not... enter image description here

Can it do something that the other one can't? I can't tell...

Obviously there is some functional overlapping, I just don't want to have a... duplicate tool, so to speak.

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    This is borderline subjective but I think you've asked it in such a way that it can be answered here.
    – Graphus
    Feb 5, 2022 at 19:28
  • @Graphus: my question is inevitably subjective but I have no problem with subjectivity, I need some piece of advice no matter how small :-) Thanks Graphus! Feb 5, 2022 at 19:34
  • While I do appreciate it, it's considered a good idea not to quickly select an Answer when one arrives but to wait a while before awarding the tick, since another that suits you more/is better/gets more upvotes could be added in due course.
    – Graphus
    Feb 5, 2022 at 19:46
  • While you may not have a problem with subjective questions, Stack Exchange as a whole does. The goal is to have objective questions where a "best" answer (as determined by the asker) can be identified. "Subjective" is open to opinion and the one you agree with may not be the one I agree with.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 7, 2022 at 17:38

2 Answers 2

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From what I see this is not really a "no. 1" but merely a block plane with a rear handle. The overall dimensions and width of the iron back this up, especially since they chose to offer this as a bevel-up bench plane1.

Given this is a Veritas plane — so, automatically hugely overpriced over here (although not in the leagues of L-N, but still) — I think it only makes sense to get one of these if:

  • For any reason you find a block plane so difficult to control that you're already seeking a plane of approximately that size that isn't a block plane.

  • You don't own a block plane already and you want to get one of these instead.

  • You want a bevel-up bench plane for a small child2.

  • You're a completist and have to own every plane in the range. (No judgement, it's your money.)


1 Which are really a solution in search of a problem.

2 And I would give a lot of additional thought into whether this is actually a good choice, given the proven track record of bevel-down planes with cap irons/chipbreakers.

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  • Thanks! Given that I don't check any of the four reasons above I'd skip it. I do have a Veritas Low Angle Jack that really amazed me (coming from a no-name smoother #4 with everything not-in-order: chipbreaker, sole, excessive backlash, yoke you-name-it). Having had such a good experience with the Jack made me look at this plane. There are some small pieces that I thought I could smooth with it without making them extra-flat. But I'll save the money for something else (such as a specialty-shooting plane). Feb 5, 2022 at 19:43
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    Yes I'm familiar with Rob Cosman (he got added to my don't-watch list many years ago!) "The mouth opening is harder to adjust (bedrock vs bailey)" Well good news there, you don't have to. As I've mentioned in some previous Answers for the majority of users (including many pros) the frog is a set-and-forget thing, i.e. literally never moved again.. This is related to one of the key advantages of standard bench plane — mouth opening is not the thing you rely to control tearout, it's the position of the cap iron. The cap iron is MUCH better at doing this, plus has fewer potential issues.
    – Graphus
    Feb 6, 2022 at 11:59
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    "if you don't mate the chipbreaker perfectly to the blade you get (and I got) chips stuck there... " Well to be fair the fettling of the cap iron's leading edge can be tricker than many sources imply, and in my experience frequently takes longer than is generally stated (depending on a few things, including the age of the plane and its condition). But it isn't rocket science and there are numerous good guides to what you're aiming for, with tips on how to get there. Once you set out to do it you just plug away, problem-solve as you go and keep at it until you're done. [contd]
    – Graphus
    Feb 6, 2022 at 12:09
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    First time I did one (on my first ever plane) it took me well over half an hour. Now, assuming no damage, I can do it much faster. While I don't time it I think it typically takes me 5-10 minutes to fettle the cap iron of a vintage plane I'm restoring. It can sometimes be very quick because it's already so close to being the way it should be already (just the luck of the draw in the way they're made). Fastest one I'm sure took me literally under one minute.
    – Graphus
    Feb 6, 2022 at 12:11
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    Thanks for the extra information, @Graphus. Feb 11, 2022 at 21:31
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Can it do something that the other one can't?

Given the tote and front ball, this Veritas #1 is clearly set up for two-handed use, whereas a block plane is usually used with just one hand. Veritas also sells a tote and front ball that you can add to their low-angle block plane, and with those additions that plane would seem very similar to this #1, except for a slightly different bed angle.

Block planes are most often used for small jobs, like trimming end grain or chamfering an edge, which is why you can use them with just one hand. The Veritas #1 is described as a smooth plane, so it's intended to be used to take light cuts on the face of a board, often with the full width of the blade. Doing that well requires both hands and a good grip on the plane, hence the two handles. The Veritas #1 is arguably quite similar to a block plane with handles; even so, a block plane with handles is a somewhat different tool than a block plane without handles.

I just saw a Veritas #1 bevel-up smoother plane which seems to be similar in size and was thinking if it would make sense to buy one or not...

Only you can decide whether buying one of these makes sense for you, but a good way to think about it is to think back on your recent projects. Do you use hand planes to smooth small boards? Have you often thought "This block plane is the perfect size, but I wish it were set up for two-handed use"? Would having this plane enable you to do something that you can't do now?

Another version of the same idea: you'll know it when you need a given tool; if you're wondering whether you need a tool, you probably don't.

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  • +1 but smooth plane is not in description on either site.
    – Volfram K
    Feb 8, 2022 at 6:55

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