26 May 2010

Stanley 13-050 vs Veritas Small Plow Plane

After saying in a first post that: the Stanley 13-050, being a last generation model combination plane, has nearly everything covered and is well thought over, I want to make the comparison with a recent plow plane the Veritas Small Plow Plane (VSPP).  To compensate the fact that I don't have access to a Veritas plow plane,  I look at the excellent article from Derek Cohen staging a comparative test between Veritas and Record #043 and #044. What I miss in this line up is the Record 050C which has the same rounded body as the Veritas plane.

The 13-050 is nearly two times heavier than the VSPP, this is due in part to the second skate and part to the heavy, square construction.  Derek Cohen says that the VSPP has the perfect weight being in between the  #043 and #044.  Adam Cherubini favours even lighter planes,  saying that the lighter wooden planes have a distinct advantage over their heavier metal counterparts.
To counter this, I look at traditional irons.  The two I have weight as much or more than a 13-050, respectively nearly 3 and 4 pounds, even if they were used intensively by the 'weaker sex' of those days. I think that, as long as I am not planing balsa, weight does not matter that much.

Left - Right
The VSPP has a left and a right hand model.  This can be important, as Peter Follansbee remarks in his plow plane, up one side & down the other post, having only one sided plow plane is sometimes a problem.  The 13-050 is nearly fully symmetrical, as the fence and depth gauge can be set left or right.  The 13-050 gets asymmetrical when using small blades as only one skate is used, allowing for only one spur when cutting cross grain

The 13-050 comes with 18 blades, including beading profiles. The VSPP comes with one blade, but extra metric and imperial blades are available which depending of the model used are set left or right.  Better than the 13-050, the VSPP narrow blades won't fall out of the plane when setting the depth as they have an enlarged body.
Both the 13-050 and the VSPP align the blades with the skate, where the #043 and #044 have no blade alignment. This can be important when after setting the fence to a certain value,  adjusting the blade will not change this value.

Fence and grip
Derek Cohen likes the 4" long curved fence of the VSPP and the warmth and solid feel of the Veritas grip.  The 13-050 has also a 4" fence, but square. The grip is big, bigger than my stanley-like #5, and it is not in metal :).
The VSPP claims a better fence stability than the #043 - #044.  For the 13-050 I did not see problems here,  the body, fence and screws are big and sturdy,  all that extra weight is buying me something.

Nothing stops Derek Cohen, after cutting grooves and rabbets, he even cuts dados with the VSPP to show it is possible, preferring in the end his router plane.  The 13-050, has spurs and skates to cut dados and fillisters.

At first sight the VSPP and the 13-050 have good setup possibilities.  With small differences, the VSPP has maybe better fence arm clamping screws and the 13-050 has a two screws depth gauge.

In the end it does not matter what plane you use: All the planes performed at an equally satisfactory level says Derek Cohen talking about the VSPP and the #043 - #044
And yes the 13-050 has also a little extra,  there is always a depth gauge hole left open where a straw will fit to indicate if the plane stands plumb

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