Dieter Schmid's Fine Tools

VERITAS Scraping Plane

Ziehklingenhobel von Veritas


The Veritas Scraping Plane is used for the final levelling and smoothing of large, flat surfaces, even if they are highly figured, prior to applying a finish. Because it has the same configuration as a bench plane, it is comfortable to use for extended periods of time and the large sole ensures the surface of a workpiece is accurately flattened.

Given the fine cutting action of the scraping plane, it is used after the surface has been prepared as well as possible with a smoothing plane, not in place of the smoothing plane. What the scraping plane does replace, however, is the need for sanding prior to applying a finish. Because the scraping plane cuts the wood fibers rather than tears them, it will further bring out the wood grain, rather than mute it as sandpaper would.

This plane comes equipped with a 73 mm (2-7/8 inch) wide, 1.4 mm (0.055 inch) thick, high-carbon steel blade with the cutting edge ground at 45°. The beauty of the Veritas scraping plane is that you can either change the pitch of the blade or apply camber to it in order to obtain the best possible cutting action. The pitch, or blade angle, is variable from vertical to 25° forward. The more the blade is tilted forward, the more the depth of cut will increase. So, as the blade wears, you can tilt it forward, making it possible to keep scraping without having to stop and re-burnish the blade. And to further fine tune the depth of cut, you can apply camber to the blade. By slightly bowing or arching the blade, you also eliminate ridges in the work surface caused by blade corners.

An optional 3.2 mm (0.125 inch) thick A2 tool steel blade is also available for those who prefer an uncambered blade when working the more difficult wood grains.


Above: Scraping plane component


At first glance the scraping plane, or indeed even scraping itself, can appear odd or mysterious. Why would you scrape wood? Why is the blade angled forward?

A closer look at where the actual cutting is taking place reveals the answers. The cutting geometry of the rolled edge on the scraping blade is not that much different from the cutting geometry of a bench plane with a well-set cap iron.

Although the rolled edge on a scraping blade works much like a plane, the cutting action of a scraper is actually more like that of a high-angle smoothing plane (i.e., with a bed angle of 55° or 60° rather than the more common 45°). This means the wood shaving curls abruptly and fails right at the cutting edge, eliminating tear-out and allowing for the working of difficult grain patterns.


Sharpening and honing the bevel

Sharpening and honing the bevel

Lapping the back side
(mirror side))

lapping the back side
Sharpening the scraping blade is the most critical and difficult part of learning to use a scraping plane. Understanding how a scraper cuts (see above) and knowing what a properly burnished cutting edge looks and feels like are the key concerns when learning how to sharpen the blade.

The bevel angle on the blade is ground at 45°, rather than square as found on card (cabinet) scrapers. This makes it easy to burnish or deform the metal of the bevel into a relatively aggressive burr or hook.

The burnishing angle should be about 15°. An angle of 20° or more will result in too much scraping and not enough cutting (producing dust, not shavings). The higher angle also increases the likelihood of blade chatter. Smaller angles (closer to horizontal) may not cut at all as no cutting edge is introduced to the wood, or there may be no relief angle and the blade will just slide along the surface of the workpiece.

Step 1 Preparation: This step is not necessary with a new blade. Before you start honing, the blade should be shaped to maintain a straight cutting edge and a 45° bevel. Hold the blade in a vise and use a 150 or 200 mm (6 inch or 8 inch) file to prepare the blade. Check the bevel periodically with a straight edge and a protractor (or sliding bevel set to 45°) as you work. The Veritas Jointer/Edger is ideal for this process.

Step 2 Honing: Start with an 800 grit or 1000 grit stone to remove the marks from filing. Hold the blade as shown in Figure 3 with the bevel flat against the stone. Stroke it back and forth, covering the whole stone. Check the bevel often to evaluate your progress. Continue until all file marks are gone. As shown in picture above, lap the face of the blade near the cutting edge to achieve the same finish as on the bevel. A sharp edge can only be achieved by creating two intersecting surfaces honed to the same degree. Using the same technique, transfer to a 4000 grit water stone to finish honing. Using a honing guide makes the process more easy.

When sharpening a thick blade, we recommend that you round the corners of the blade to ensure they do not leave corner digs in the workpiece. (You may also do so on a thin blade, but it is unnecessary if you are going to bow the blade; see Bow Adjustment below). This is best accomplished by creating a small round at each end of the cutting edge as shown in picture below when first preparing the bevel with a file. Work the rounded corners as well as the cutting edge at each successive stage of honing.

round the corners of the blade
Step 3 Burnishing: With the blade held firmly in a vise, use a burnisher to create a hook as shown in picture left. Use three or four even firm strokes across the entire edge of the blade at the same angle as the bevel. Raise the burnisher handle slightly and take three or four more strokes. Finish by taking three or four strokes with the burnisher 15° from horizontal as shown in picture left. The first few times you do this, sight against a reference tool such as a sliding bevel or engineers protractor set to the desired angle.

Note: Before burnishing, touch your fingertip to the side of your nose or behind your ear (two natural oil sources) and transfer that minute amount of oil to the blade. It reduces friction and avoids galling.

Toothed Blade Note: Sharpen and hone only the 45° bevel. DO NOT hone the face of the toothed blade, or you will damage the sharp points that actually do the cutting.

Blade Adjustment

With the blade prepared you are now ready to set up the plane. A blade burnished with a 15° angle will require setting the adjustable frog to about 5° forward of vertical using the frog adjustment wheels (see picture below). However, if your burnishing technique produces an angle other than 15°, you will have to determine the ideal frog setting. Use the scraping plane blade like a hand scraper to find the angle that produces the smoothest scraping action. Set the frog angle to approximately the same angle you established with hand scraping. Ensure that the blade bow thumbscrew is backed off such that it does not protrude beyond the frog face. Set the scraping plane on a smooth, flat and clean work surface. Insert the blade with the bevel facing the rear of the plane and the cutting edge resting on the work surface. Lightly hold the blade in place against the frog and tighten the lever cap knob (a quarter turn should be ample do not overtighten) to secure the blade. The blade will now be flush with the sole.

To advance the blade, pick up the plane and pivot the frog forward 1/2 or so. Just loosening the rear adjustment wheel and retightening the front wheel may provide enough movement. As the blade pivots forward, the cutting edge drops below the sole. Another technique you can use to set the initial blade projection is to place a single sheet of paper under the toe of the plane and set the cutting edge of the blade so that it is just resting on the work surface. You should not have to adjust the frog forward if you use this technique. Either way, the scraping plane is now ready for use. Take a few quick test cuts and fine tune the cut as required.

As the hook on the blade wears, you can continue to pivot the blade forward to re-establish the cutting action. Again, a shift of only 1/2 or so may be all that is required. When making larger changes to the blade angle, be sure to reset the blade flush with the bottom to avoid moving the cutting edge too far below the sole of the plane. You may continue to adjust the blade forward to about 25° or so. At this point, if the plane is no longer producing shavings, the blade must be resharpened and the frog adjusted back to the 5° starting point.

Bow Adjustment

Bow Adjustment

The above steps for blade adjustment will apply to both the thin (1.4 mm = 0.055 inch) and the thick (3.2 mm = 0.125 inch) blade. However, when using the thin blade, you also have the option of introducing a curve into the blade-cutting edge. With the thin blade installed as described above, turn the blade bow thumbscrew until it just contacts the blade. Sighting along the sole of the plane, begin to tighten the thumbscrew in small increments that will put a slight curve in the blade. This gives you a shallow bow, projecting in the middle to give you a fairly wide cutting area, with the corners not visible. Take a few test strokes and adjust the thumbscrew as desired. The more pressure applied with the blade bow thumbscrew, the more aggressive the cut.

Care and Maintenance

The body of the Veritas scraping plane is ductile cast iron and comes treated with rust preventative. Remove this with a rag dampened with mineral spirits. Clean all machined surfaces. We recommend that you initially, then periodically, apply a light coat of oil to seal out moisture and prevent rusting; this also has the added bonus of acting as a lubricant for smoother planing. Wipe off any wood dust from the surfaces that you will be oiling, apply oil then buff with a clean soft cloth.

If storage conditions are damp or humid, planes should, in addition to the treatment outlined above, be wrapped in a cloth or stored in a sack. This precaution will also guard against dings and scratches. Keep in mind that both oil and a plane sack can contain silicone that, if transferred to your workpiece, could cause finishing problems such as "fish eyes". To avoid this problem, use silicone-free products. Have a look at our tool care page.

Every so often, clean all parts with a cloth dampened with a dab of light machine oil. The adjustment components (threaded shaft and wheels) will benefit from a light coat of oil to keep them working freely. For corroded plane bodies, we recommend you first remove the rust with a fine rust eraser, then treat as described above.

The bright finish on the brass components can be maintained as above. If a patina finish is preferred, simply leave the brass components unprotected until the desired level of oxidation has occurred, then apply a sealant. If you want to make them bright and shiny again, you can revitalize the surface with a brass polish.

The rosewood knob and handle have a lacquer finish and should require nothing more than a wipe with a clean cloth from time to time.

© Veritas.Inc.
Text shortened by Dieter Schmid

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