Month: January 2017

Veritas Custom Bench Planes: New Shop Additions

Veritas Custom Bench Planes: New Shop Additions

Anyone who knows me or has visited my instagram knows I’m a big fan of Veritas tools. Part of the reason why is the commitment to quality and customer service that they’re known for, but there’s more to it than that – I won’t bore you with all of it, but I’ll mention a few. Veritas still manufactures their tools right here in Canada, and they have one of the lowest CEO:ground level employee pay ratios around. They are also the only high quality mainstream woodworking tool manufacturer (there really are only two of those right now, but anyways) who innovate with their tools, adding features that make their tools easier to use or work better. In 2014, Veritas released a new line of bevel down bench planes, the Custom Bench Planes.

Veritas Custom Bench Planes

Veritas No. 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 Custom Bench Planes


As the name implies, these can be customised with a variety of frog angles, two different choices of blade steel, and 6 different totes and knobs to choose from. I recently treated myself to two of the custom bench planes, a No. 4 1/2 with a 55 degree frog and a No. 5 1/2 with a 45 degree frog. I pondered getting a Lie Nielsen 4 1/2 for a while but decided to go with the Veritas instead. I plan on writing a little review on the planes soon, and I’ll go over why I chose the Veritas then.


Wispy transparent shavings

For now, heres a few images that’ll show you why I’m pretty delighted with the performance of these two new additions so far. These were the first shavings I got out of these planes on some Bubinga and Pine with only a bit of honing on the blades.

Fine shavings less than a thousandth of an inch.

Wispy thin shavings less than a 0.001″ thick.

Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Just Tool Things, Reviews, Tools, 1 comment
A Handmade Rosewood & Brass Plane Hammer

A Handmade Rosewood & Brass Plane Hammer

Last Month I posted the making of a ball-peen inspired plane hammer. That was such a fun, quick project that I found myself making another one last week. While the ball peen inspired hammer worked well for adjusting the body of the plane, the larger wooden face and smaller brass face made it a little difficult getting to the blade in some of my planes. I decided I wanted a more traditional style hammer this time.

brass and rosewood plane hammer

Boring the mortise in the brass head

I made the head from a piece of 1″x1″ brass stock, 2″ long. I had a piece of scrap honduran rosewood that I was planning on making into a plane fence, but decided it would be perfect for this hammer. I drilled the mortise in the head in my drill press (make sure you reduce the rake on your twist drill bits, as the bit will dig into the brass and fling it at you otherwise). I elongated the top half of the mortise in one direction afterwards to accept the wedged handle tenon.  I wanted to add a wooden face to the head as well, so drilled another hole about .5″ deep in one face of the head to accept a round tenon.

Brass and rosewood plane hammer

Shaping the handle and the head.

I shaped the tenon on the rosewood handle first. I drew out the circumference of the tenon on the stock, and used a rasp to bring it down close to the final shape, before finishing with a file. I wasn’t concerned about the length of the tenon, as this would form on of the curves on the handle but was careful not to take the thickness of the tenon down too much. The rest of the handle was rough shaped with a rasp and finished with a spokeshave.

brass and rosewood plane hammer

Hand tool only build! (mostly)

Next up was shaping the brass head. I didn’t initially have a design in mind but came up with one as I went along. A few hours with a rasp, files and sandpaper later I had the rough shape complete. I epoxied the wooden face insert (also rosewood) in before final shaping and sanding. I polished the head up to 2000 grit, leaving a mirror finish. After assembling the handle in the head (with a bit of epoxy), I drove a brass screw into the top of the tenon to wedge it in place. I filled any gaps with a mix of epoxy and brass dust.

brass and rosewood plane hammer

The completed plane hamer!

Once it all cured I filed the screw down to the surface of the head, and finished off by finish sanding the hammer. I finished the handle using a few coats of shellac and some past wax, and voila! It was done.

brass and rosewood plane hammer

Another view of the completed plane hammer!


It turned out really well considering it wasn’t a planned project. The shape of the head lends itself to a balanced result, and the heft of the head feels great. I read somewhere that ‘every woodworker eventually becomes a shitty machinist too’ and I guess that’s true for me now!


Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Toolmaking, Tools, 0 comments