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Saturday, 25 September 2010

Quangsheng V2 Block Planes

Please click to enlarge

So what's the difference between the V1 and a V2 Quangsheng block planes?

The photo above shows the two side by side, V1 (left) had a fixed threaded rod with a solid brass nut that engaged a single through slot in the top of the cutting iron. V2 (right) has a screw that runs directly into the plane body, with a captive bracket that runs in a machined groove in the top of the pillar.

The new adjuster is smoother in use and has a finer thread pitch, so the cutting iron advances a shorter distance for each turn of the knob, giving more precise control over the depth of cut. It also has less tendancy to alter the lateral setting while altering the depth of cut. The bracket engages two out of 10 slots in the underside of the cutting iron - finer threads means less travel, which means you need more slots in order to use the full length of the blade.

Here's another photo showing the two threads:

Please click to enlarge

The Quangsheng V2 standard angle and low angle block planes are both supplied with a 25 degree and 38 degree cutting iron. The 25 degree blade gives a 37 degree pitch in the low angle for predominantly crossgrain and endgrain work. Although personally I don't find a huge difference from 45 to 37 I admit that it does make the tool a little easier to push through the cut. Install the 38 degree blade and you are up to 50 degrees (york pitch) for predominantly long grain work.

With the standard angle plane, the 25 degree iron gives you common pitch and the 38 degree blade takes you up to just a couple of degrees shy of cabinet pitch (60 degrees). I am very much convinced of the benefits of steeper pitches for working very hard timbers and interlocking grain.

We have also had 38 degree irons made for the V1 block planes for those that want them, as well as 50 degree irons for V2s that give 62 degree pitch in the low angle block and 70 in the standard angle. Although you are still technically planing at 70 degrees the tool functions more like a scraper plane - I'm sure that this option will be popular with instrument makers.

The rebating block plane is supplied with a 25 degree iron. As these tools are usually used more like a shoulder plane it seemed to be overkill to offer the irons in different pitches. Replacement 25 degree irons are available for both the V1 and V2 versions and steeper piches could be obtained by honing a secondary bevel.

The other tweek was changing the cap screw from flat to countersunk, which has helped to keep the cap in place whilst adjusting the iron and reduced the chance of the cap shifting in use - this modification did sneak into some of the newer V1s.

So that's it for the block planes, I'm happy that we have now got them pretty much to where I wanted them to be. I will try to get some toothed irons done though for both the block and the bench planes as I think this would expand their versatility even further.

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