Veritas Unveils Unplugged Innovation
Not all the tools at this year’s IWF get plugged in. Lee Valley Tools (Veritas) staked a nice, cozy corner of Hall B to showcase a number of their new and existing hand tools and accessories. Wally Wilson, their marketing director, gave us a guided tour, and there was no shortage of sights.
A bevy of bench chisels
First, he gave us some insight into the development of their new bench chisels, both the O1 steel versions and the ones made with their new tool steel, PM-V11 (which we’ve blogged about before). Veritas claims the new steel is tougher than A2 but can be sharpened with any medium, a real bonus for chisels, which take a lot of abuse in all kinds of hardwood. The poured a lot of passion into the tools, says, Wilson. “We were the last ones to come to the dance with chisels, and we wanted to do it right.”
Both models are elegantly tough, with comfortable handles that are also easy on the eyes. The handles are made of maple (they’re actually offcuts from a baseball bat maker), caramelized via heat treatments. What’s cool about the process is that the chisels all won’t look alike. The color tone will depend on the sugars in the wood. We have both types of chisels already, and our reviewer is putting them through a grueling test to verify the toughness claims. The results will be published in our Tools & Shops issue (out in the fall). The O1 chisels cost $295 for a set of five (1/4 in., 3/8 in., 1/2 in., 3/4 in., and 1 in.). The PM-V11 will run about 20 to 30 percent more.
Jack rabbet plane has many uses
Veritas will also be selling a new type of plane, a bevel-up jack rabbet plane. This one, with all its parts and complex castings “is the most complicated plane we manufacture,” says Wilson. With the fence mounted on the body, the tool is ideal for trimming big tenons (it might be a bit large for smaller work) and for making raised panels. Remove the fence, and you have a full-fledged low-angle jack. It’s full of nifty features, now common on many Veritas planes: a Norris-style adjuster, to handle both lateral and depth adjustments, an adjustable mouth, and blade registration screws to keep the blade aligned once it’s set. The plane will sell for about $299, and we’re told it will be available in September.
Shallow planing stops won’t get in the way
New aluminum planing stops fit into 3/4 in. dia. bench dog holes and offer a quick, convenient way to support a board for planing. Their low profile lets you plane boards as thin as 1/4 in. without worrying about hitting the stop. The posts slide into the stop via a shallow T-track, allowing you to adjust them to your dog spacing (up to 9 in. apart). The stop will sell for $22.50 and will be available in September.
These tools will string you along
String inlay is a wonderful method of spicing up your furniture. But it can be an intimidating task without the proper tools. You need to make a cutter to create the groove for the stringing, and you need to be able to cut the string slices cleanly and consistently. Veritas has made both jobs super simple with their string inlay tools.
Used much like a marking gauge, the inlay tool can cut a clean groove for the stringing. You push it to score the wood and pull it to finish the cut. It also cuts the stringing to consistent widths to match the groove sizes. The blades on the head can be offset up to 3 1/4 in. from the brass fence. If you want to make perfect circular stringing, you can add a compass center to the kit. The center replaces the brass fence, allowing you to rotate the cutter to excavate a perfect circular groove (with radii from 3/4 in. to 3 1/4 in.).You can add a pencil holder as well, converting the sytem to a compass. You can buy a pair of 10 in. rods to increase the capacity of the tool ($12.50 per pair). The basic inlay system will cost $99; a version with the compass center will run $109; a version with the compass center and pencil holder will be $129. All will be available in September.
Veritas also will be selling a set of knives to cut the inlay grooves freehand. You can use the tools freehand or with a template to score and cut the stringing grooves. You can get a template groove cutter to score and cut a groove around a template. An inlay chisel can be used to widen a groove or to square the ends, and a pin awl can be used to push inlay into place or to mark centers. Each of these tools will cost $19.95 and will be available in September.
If you’re looking for a quick vise for your bench, check out the Veritas pipe vise. This vise works like a pipe clamp. It has two parts: a head that connects to a 3/4 in. pipe and a mounting fixture that goes under the bench. This versatile system can be used as a tail vise or front vise, and it can be mounted in any orientation you need to hold a workpiece. The parts are mostly cast iron and the clamping capacity essentlally is limited by the length of pipe you use. The system offers a quick-release lever, too. The vise is available now, and sells for $59.
The Veritas jack rabbet plane can cut rabbets, trim big tenons, and make raised panels. Plus it can be an all-around jack plane.
This shallow planing stop is a great bench helper. It can be used with stock as thin as 1/4 in.
Veritas showed off their new PM-V11 steel, in both their plane blades and new bench chisels. We have one of our experts looking at both versions of the chisels as well as the plane steel.
String inlay is a great way to jazz up your furniture. Now it's easier than ever thanks to Veritas' inlay tools. Shown (l to r) are the compass center with pencil holder, freehand inlay tools, and the basic inlay tool with brass fence. The scraper in back ($59.50) is used to level and smooth the installed inlay.
It looks like a pipe clamp but works like a bench vise.
The Veritas pipe clamp vise is quick to mount and offers a quick release feature. You'll have to make your own wood jaw.