Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Three Artifacts, Pt. 1: The Tool

I received three items in the mail yesterday. All of them carefully planned, doted over, essential; hand crafted.

The first item came in a large box sealed with packing tape embellished with green text which spelled out the words, "Lee Valley Tools, Ltd."

I have spent hours upon hours over the last 2-3 years navigating websites and browsing catalogs from fine toolmakers such as Lee Valley/Veritas, Lie Nielsen, Tools For Working Wood, Highland Woodworking, etc. So when I saw the packing tape with the toolmaker's insignia, I was so overwhelmed and unbelieving that I could barely recall what the item might be.

The item: a router plane from Veritas, the Canadian manufacturing arm of Lee Valley Tools, Ltd.

I had spent hours debating between the large router plane from Lie Nielsen versus Veritas's version. While Lie Nielsen stays more true to the original pre-WWII Stanley's, I decided on Veritas's unique design. I was nervous about my decision when I placed the order (or rather, wrote it on my Christmas wish list to my father;) nervous that it might be "too fiddly" and have too many pieces to get lost. However, the opposite is true. It fits the hand perfectly and all the pieces fall right into place. Whereas with Lie Nielsen's version it seems you have to remove the depth stop and depth adjuster when changing or reversing blades, the Veritas router has a brilliant spring-loaded collar that allows for removal of the blade without any further action.

I immediately set to work cutting dadoes for a chisel rack I've been planning to attach to my bench. I'm smitten.

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