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Lee Valley Customizable Jack Plane

Average reader rating
out of 5
Veritas / Lee Valley


Customizable Jack planes, with options for front tote size and shape, main rear handle size and shape, grade of steel for the iron as well as the angle on the frog, which establishes the plane's cutting angle

Reader Reviews

Simply outstanding

Review Summary

I received the #5-1/2 Jack as a Christmas present, and I've been using it for the last couple of months. My plane came with the standard 45° frog, and I also received a hot-swappable 50° frog to complete the kit. Out of the box I must admit that I was a little disappointed by the finish on the iron. I've got half a dozen other LV planes, and each of them impersonated a razor out of the box. This time the iron was in need of final honing.
But that's really the only blemish on an otherwise wonderful tool. Other than the iron, my first impression is that this plane is HEAVY. You know you have a tool in your hand when you lift it. The fit and finish of the body and the tote and handle are right up there with LV's usual excellence. The mouth opening is very easy to adjust. Gone are the days of having to remove the iron and loosening/moving/tightening the location of the frog to adjust the mouth opening. Let's face it: that's a guessing game on the best of days, usually requiring two goes before you decide that enough is enough and just live with where you landed last. Instead, you use the front tote as an adjustment screw, letting you loosen a sliding plate under the toe of the plane and you can scoot it fore or aft as your job dictates. Nice! In use with the standard 30° bevel angle on the iron and a 45° frog this plane was a joy to use. The 15" long sole provides a good reference surface to keep you from following so many dips and hills, as can happen with smaller bodied planes when flattening boards. When shooting an edge I got a nice straight, flat surface. The optional, extra-cost 50° frog that I have gives me the ability to take really(!!!) light cuts on squirrely wood. The higher bed angle yields a higher cutting angle. That produces a different type of chip than does a lower bed angle iron, and is recommended with figured or squirrely grain. With a really tight mouth opening and a whisper-thin depth of cut I was able to get some interlocked grain on an uneven board to sit down and play nicely in the sandbox. It's worth noting that you can expect quite a workout when using this plane. Err on the side of that whisper-thin cut. Any deeper than that and you're going to break a sweat pretty quickly and have a tough time of things. Overall this plane fills a much-needed gap in my collection. It's not going to be the first plane I reach for, but when I need a long-sole and a hefty body to muscle through a flattening job this plane is IT.

Detailed Ratings

out of 5





Ease of Use




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