Although vintage Stanley No. 1 planes are scarce and very costly, enough of them exhibit signs of wear to suggest that these little planes were well-used tools and not novelties. Veritas’s newly released version continues the tradition, but with a bevel-up configuration to help with tasks that benefit from the plane’s small footprint.
Much like a block plane, the Veritas No. 1 excels where its small sole allows for finesse and control in fitting, sizing, and shaping smaller parts. Tasks like chamfering or rounding over edges, fine-tuning miters, or fine-tuning the reveal on doors and drawers become easier. The plane has a sole 5-3⁄16 in. long and 1-25⁄32 in. wide. The blade, 1-7⁄32 in. wide, is available in 01 or PM-V11 steel. The bed angle is 15°.
Like a block plane, the No. 1 can be held with one or two hands. But because it’s taller than a block plane, it’s easier to hold and control. (In comparison, I find my original Stanley No. 1 difficult to grasp.) Any bevel-up plane has the advantages of having fewer parts (no chip breaker or frog) and ease of changing the bevel angle. But the No. 1 benefits in particular from the extra finger space provided by the low-profile blade and absence of a frog.
Also, unlike the Stanley version, whose mouth is inconvenient to alter, the Veritas has a moveable shoe in front of the blade, which makes adjusting the mouth a snap. The shoe is moved by loosening and tightening the front knob. A mouth-adjustment screw regulates the positioning of the shoe and prevents it from striking the blade.
Blade adjustment is also convenient. The Norris-style adjuster moves the blade both vertically and laterally, although I prefer gentle taps with a small hammer for precise lateral settings.
Photo: Barry NM Dima
From Fine Woodworking #292