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View Full Version : Which block plane ? LV Low Angle or LV DX60



Lewis Cobb
12-07-2010, 10:11 AM
I'm obsessing over what Lee Valley block plane to buy so my wife can then give it to me for Christmas....

1 ) The low angle block plane
or
2) The higher priced DX60 block plane

Price is not the problem (at these levels anyway :D)

I see using this for some shooting as well as end grain as well as the general bzillion odds and end in the shop.

The low angle plane has a wider blade (1/4" wider) but it's thinner than the premium DX60 model (0.125" versus 0.140")

The low angle plane has some interesting options of a tote and knob that would allow it to emulate a #3 smoother, but I doubt that would interest me.

Anyone gone though the same decision or handled each of them and compared them that can help me out here?


Thanks!
Lewis

Prashun Patel
12-07-2010, 10:22 AM
I know a couple people who had the knob and tote for the LA block, and ultimately didn't use it. I personally find the Veritas LA block a little too chunky compared to other LA blocks. I really like their apron, but in the LA block, I'm partial to the Lie-Nielson.

The DX/NX's are amazing tools, and you can't go wrong. But I personally find them a little heavy for what I use a block for.

Long story short, you have to handle them yourself.

Jon Toebbe
12-07-2010, 10:24 AM
1 ) The low angle block plane
or
2) The higher priced DX60 block plane
Go with the DX60! I stumbled across a deal on one on Craigslist, of all places -- a powertool woodworker who "doesn't have any use for this shiny little thing." :eek: I couldn't put the cash into his hands fast enough!

It is a beautiful tool: precisely machined, minimal backlash in the adjusting mechanism, thick and flat iron. For all of the "general trimming" tasks that you might reasonably ask of a block plane, this tool has given flawless results.

Messing about at the Lee Valley booth at the Woodworker's Show, I found the more "squared off" low-angle block plane to feel... well, "blocky" in my hand. Not nearly as comfortable to hold in the palm. That said, it was also made to a high level of quality. Performance-wise, it's likely a toss-up.

I'd say the extra coin for the premium is well worth it.

As for use on a shooting board: are you doing mostly very small work? I find the heft of a jack-plane to be very helpful shooting 3/4in or larger stock. It's larger footprint on its side (cheekprint?) also help keep things aligned. Neither block plane would be very tippy up on its side, but there isn't a whole lot to hang onto with a plane that small.

Casey Gooding
12-07-2010, 10:36 AM
I had the standard plane for a while. I felt it was a bit too bulky for my taste. I actually prefer the small block planes like the the LV apron plane or the LN 102.

Dave Beauchesne
12-07-2010, 10:37 AM
I know a couple people who had the knob and tote for the LA block, and ultimately didn't use it. I personally find the Veritas LA block a little too chunky compared to other LA blocks. I really like their apron, but in the LA block, I'm partial to the Lie-Nielson.

The DX/NX's are amazing tools, and you can't go wrong. But I personally find them a little heavy for what I use a block for.

Long story short, you have to handle them yourself.

Jon:

I have the LV LA block and really like it - had a chance to test drive the DX/NX at a LV Open House - didn't like them for how they fit MY hand, but they performed superbly - try to test drive both and make the decision from there is my advice.

Agreed, the LV LA block is a bit heavy, but makes shooting with it a breeze.

Dave Beauchesne

paul cottingham
12-07-2010, 12:12 PM
I have the LV LA block and really like it, I use it for everything. BUT I have large bass-players hands, and could see it being big for the average hand. Mind you, I know several people who like it cause it is big.

You just gotta try it is all.

Jim Koepke
12-07-2010, 3:13 PM
Derek Cohen gives a good review of this plane and answered on of my questions.

http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolReviews/VeritasPremiumBlockPlane.html

My question was about the bedding. The Premium Block Plane seems to have a little more than the regular LA Block plane. This is a factor in controlling "chatter" or vibrational feedback when planing.

A bigger question here might be how much shooting you plan to do with this plane. For a long time, I used a Stanley #65-1/2 for shooting, it still sees this kind of work on occasion. That has a 1-5/8" blade. If you are careful in your design of a shooting board, you will be able to work 4/4 stock. Eventually you may want to get a bigger plane for this. My favorite is a #62 from LN.

I also have a #60 from LN and it is a great improvement over my later day Stanley #60 size block planes.

Here is another post by Derek with a bit of comparison of the different planes:

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p=1537749#poststop

I am sure either of the planes you mention will be a welcome addition to your shop.

You will be doing yourself a favor if you can handle both planes before making your decision. In my opinion, between these planes, it comes down to which one feels best in your hands.

jtk

David Weaver
12-07-2010, 4:59 PM
(looking at the review) If the iron is 1/8th or something like that, I'd really question whether there is any difference in the performance of the plane based on the bedding.

It is extremely important that the iron is supported in the right places, but not necessarily that it's supported far up in the plane in places where a cap isn't putting pressure on the iron to hold it.

If there is a practical difference in stability of the iron, I think it has to do with how well the iron is held in those small very critical spots (right below the pressure at the back of the lever cap, and as close to the mouth as possible.)

On an infill plane that I put together, I intentionally made the bearing surface for the metal sole about 1/16th wide all the way across, with some emphasis on the two outer points where the iron touches, scraped out a tiny fraction of the infill above that metal and then made sure the iron is bedding on the infill right where the lever cap screw is putting pressure on the iron. That plane is the most solid feeling smoother of anything I've had.

I think LV is probably machining large areas because that's what people want to see, sort of as jewelry. I am sure they didn't overlook the functionality of the plane on the first go-around....

That is just my opinion, though.

Lewis Cobb
12-07-2010, 8:36 PM
Gents -
Thanks very much for the volume of info that has been provided, as well as the food for thought.

I read the articles provided that were authored by Derek C. - they were extremely helpful.

On shooting - I only anticipate using this plane for some small fiddly work. I have a reasonably tuned up Stanley 5 that my father left me (the only plane I currently own). and I can use that for the larger shooting tasks. Mind you, once I get a quality block plane, the slippery slope will be embarked upon I am sure.

I had a chance to feel the DX LV block plane at a local wood show about a month back. I don't really have anything to compare it with, but it did feel great and fit like a glove. I should say as well, my hands are average to smaller in size - not really "dainty", but they do tend to the smaller side of average. I think that the narrower plane body might be the best choice in that regard.

I'm leaning towards the DX model at the moment, but will spend a bit more time hitting the search button on the forum and reading others comments before I pull the trigger.

One other note - is it just me, or does the LV DX block plane remind them of the the head of the creature from the old Alien movies ??????

Cheers,
Lewis

Jim Koepke
12-07-2010, 8:54 PM
I had a chance to feel the DX LV block plane at a local wood show about a month back. I don't really have anything to compare it with, but it did feel great and fit like a glove.

I think that says it all right there.

A tool that feels good in the hand will likely find a lot more time in the hand than one that feels awkward or too big.

jtk

Derek Cohen
12-07-2010, 11:28 PM
(looking at the review) If the iron is 1/8th or something like that, I'd really question whether there is any difference in the performance of the plane based on the bedding.

It is extremely important that the iron is supported in the right places, but not necessarily that it's supported far up in the plane in places where a cap isn't putting pressure on the iron to hold it.

Hi David, I completely agree with you. I should go back and modify this area in the review.

In fact I could go further and point to Karl Holtey as an example - his planes may appear to bed on wood infill but in reality bed on small brass posts set into the infill.

Regards from Perth

Derek

george wilson
12-08-2010, 12:14 AM
I like my new LV delux block plane. My main concern with it is to not let it slip out of my fingers. It is slippery. Beautiful design,though. I don't think quality and attention to detail has ever been better on tools than they are on some of these new tools.

John Sanford
12-08-2010, 1:53 AM
Frankly, I think you should go for the exotic import from South of the Border. You know, the Lie-Nielsen. :D

In truth, if I were buying one today, I'd go with the NX60. I wish that LV did it as a standard angle plane, because I already have the L-N Adjustable Mouth LA block plane, and I'm not in a place to be buying multiple LA block planes. Although the NX60 does exert an almost blackhole-ish pull to take me to that place.... :eek:

Lewis Cobb
12-08-2010, 12:37 PM
I see that the eclipse honing guide (one of which I have) will NOT work with the blades in the DX60 as the sides are curved. Looks from Derek's review that it would tend to rock back and forth and not stay square in the jig.

Has anyone fashioned a little adapter or clamp to correct this and be able to use the plane blade in an eclipse style jig?

Thanks,
Lewis

David Weaver
12-08-2010, 12:53 PM
(looking at the review) If the iron is 1/8th or something like that, I'd really question whether there is any difference in the performance of the plane based on the bedding.

It is extremely important that the iron is supported in the right places, but not necessarily that it's supported far up in the plane in places where a cap isn't putting pressure on the iron to hold it.

Hi David, I completely agree with you. I should go back and modify this area in the review.

In fact I could go further and point to Karl Holtey as an example - his planes may appear to bed on wood infill but in reality bed on small brass posts set into the infill.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Derek, I thought about mentioning Karl's bedding pins, but didn't.

And I'm not slighting LV for adding the bedding to the current plane, they're giving the customer what the customer wants.

Rob Lee
12-08-2010, 1:10 PM
(snip) I think LV is probably machining large areas because that's what people want to see, sort of as jewelry. I am sure they didn't overlook the functionality of the plane on the first go-around....

That is just my opinion, though.

Hi David -

You're close. The areas are machined to remove material that could interfere with proper seating of the blade (I'll get to that in a moment). Cast metal does strange things when it cools - any features you put into a casting cool differently from surrounding areas. Management of where material is drawn from when the metal shrinks when cooling, affects stability and porosity of the final casting. In some cases - metal can be in a specific location just to establish a desired center of gravity. And, machining is not always to to establish contact surfaces - it could be for the purpose of ensuring a known clearance...

As for blade bed.... well .... as I've written many times before (and it's often overlooked) we look for a blade/plane contact locus along the mouth of the plane, and a single area at the adjuster. We control the blade/bed contact areas precisely by design. Trying to do it by establishing two planes that contact each other fully is fraught with problems. In addition, loading the blade (or blade/cap iron combo) with the lever cap further ensures that we get the contact geometry we want.


Cheers -

Rob

David Weaver
12-08-2010, 1:25 PM
Hi David -

You're close. The areas are machined to remove material that could interfere with proper seating of the blade (I'll get to that in a moment). Cast metal does strange things when it cools - any features you put into a casting cool differently from surrounding areas. Management of where material is drawn from when the metal shrinks when cooling, affects stability and porosity of the final casting. In some cases - metal can be in a specific location just to establish a desired center of gravity. And, machining is not always to to establish contact surfaces - it could be for the purpose of ensuring a known clearance...

As for blade bed.... well .... as I've written many times before (and it's often overlooked) we look for a blade/plane contact locus along the mouth of the plane, and a single area at the adjuster. We control the blade/bed contact areas precisely by design. Trying to do it by establishing two planes that contact each other fully is fraught with problems. In addition, loading the blade (or blade/cap iron combo) with the lever cap further ensures that we get the contact geometry we want.


Cheers -

Rob

Aye, I guess what i'm getting at is why the material is there in the first place, and not just cast low enough away from the iron if it is wanted for a center of gravity.

There are probably quite a lot of people who would love to see a solid jeweled bed all the way from the mouth to the rear of the plane.

I recall now that you said something similar for the LA bench planes, that they are designed such that the contact is exactly where you want it to be.

Coincidentally, I ran into this with my first infill due to two reasons
1) laziness - just remove some of the material between the mouth and the contact point of the iron
2) lack of skill. Maybe everyone has such a lack of skill when it comes to the tolerances it would take to float the bed of an infill perfectly along the iron (and nobody can see what happens even to the thick irons when the lever cap is clamped to them).

Well, I guess a third, two, since I don't have the skill to make adjusters, I have to be careful that I control the points the iron contacts to that the plane adjusts predictably. If it's not even on those three points, or if there is interference, then tap the front of the plane, and what was an equal depth cut laterally is now not that.

And, plus...when those points of contact are controlled, you can get by with not a whole lot of pressure from the lever cap in terms of not having to feel like you need to really screw the lever cap down hard to keep things stable, which is nice.

Thanks for popping in and answering the question.

Tri Hoang
12-08-2010, 6:28 PM
I had both at one time but keep the DX60. It fits my hand better and it's beautiful. I like the little set screw that keep the adjuster from lifting out of the body when I remove the blade.

Eric Brown
12-08-2010, 8:46 PM
One thing not yet mentioned is that the LV DX60 (nickle/iron) and LN planes in bronze do not rust (except the blades).

Also, it is handy to have more than one blade with different angles.

What I like most about my LV DX60 is how fast and easy it is to make adjustments. On some other planes the adjustment has more slack and requires longer to adjust, leading me to not adjust them as much.

Eric