Router plane- precise adjustments

  • This topic has 6 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by Ed.
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  • #780339
    Ed
    Participant

    On my Veritas router plane, it has often happened that a depth adjustment produced a much bigger change than expected. For a long time, it seemed as if the setting slipped, but I think something else is happening and it is easy to work around.

    In the past, I would just loosen the cutter, turn the knob half a turn (or whatever) and retighten. There are two things affecting the precision of this:

    1. There is backlash in the knurled knob, both in the threads (minor) and across the width of the slot that engages the top of the cutter. It seems that, while you are cutting, the knurled knob vibrates and rotates away from the current depth setting. The blade is locked down, but the knob can wander within the backlash play. In some cases, the knob can wander to a deeper setting than the current locked-in position. If you then add a half turn, you maybe adding a half turn plus whatever backlash wandering that has occurred.

    2. When you release the cutter, depending upon where you are in the backlash gap, the cutter may not actually move when you release the cutter and turn the knob, especially if you only release the knob minimally, which is what I prefer.

    To work around these things is quite simple.
    1. Before changing the depth, gently turn the knob counterclockwise to unscrew it upwards on the adjustment post. Just move it until it runs out of free-spinning backlash. Now, the location of the knob correctly registers the current cutter position.
    2. Loosen the cutter retention screw. Because of what you did in Step 1, the cutter shouldn’t be able to move down.
    3. From here, turn the knob the desired amount. Usually, I’m trying to lower the cutter, so I’d turn it half or quarter turn clockwise.
    4. Press on the top of the cutter post. This will force the post to register against the adjustment knob at the new setting rather than just being stuck by friction at the previous or some intermediate depth setting.
    .
    That’s it. Since starting this practice, I’ve had reliable adjustments, no surprises. I feel dumb for not realizing what was going on before. I knew backlash was an issue, but didn’t realize how much the adjustment knob was wandering during use.

    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by Ed.
    #780353
    Fritz Walker
    Participant

    I discovered the same process of unscrewing the adjustment post, which has made a huge improvement in operation of the Veritas RP. But I didn’t think about pressing down on the adjustment knob before locking the adjustment in again. Sounds like a good tip and will try is next time I’m using the router.

    Fritz Walker

    #780361
    Ed
    Participant

    Just to clarify- It was to unscrew the knurled knob to take out the backlash and push down on the top of the cutter post after loosening the cutter binding bolt and after adjusting the knurled knob to the desired new position. It wasn’t to push down on the knurled adjustment knob.

    #780370
    Fritz Walker
    Participant

    Yes, I understood. My carelessness in saying adjustment knob.

    Fritz Walker

    #780439
    sanford
    Participant

    I quite like the Veritas router plane, but I have had the same problem. You try to adjust the blade down by turning the knob and it does not move, and does not move and does not move until, oops, it moves way too much. As you say, this is because it sticks by friction at the previous setting rather than dropping in proper increments. Given how much play there is in the mechanism, you can turn the adjuster a long way before it engages the blade and pushes it down. I only discovered part of the process you describe Ed. As I adjust the cutter down by small steps, I push the top of the cutter post as you describe to overcome that stickiness. I will try the rest of your instructions next time I use it. Thanks for them.

    I am not sure why they made it that way. Even brand new the thing had a huge amount of backlash! I have used other router planes that do not have this problem, e.g., the Lie Nielsen and some old Stanley’s.

    Oh, one other problem with this plane is the depth stop is not very good. You have to tighten two nuts to lock them together. I have to be very careful tightening them or they slip. Depending on what you are doing, that can be a real oops!

    Still, I like the plane.

    #780448
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    Thanks Ed!

    Noticed the problem, but never found the reason, and bought second router planes that I set to the desired depth for the final shaving.

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    #780453
    Ed
    Participant

    If you guys try this and it works for you, please post here as I’m curious whether I’ve just been lucky. I’ve used it enough that I don’t think so, but it is easy to be fooled!

    My problem with the depth stop is that, without fail, I will loosen the depth stop knob instead of the one to retain the cutter. You know, I ought to replace it with an allen keyed grub screw, if I can find one in brass. I use the depth stop so seldomly that requiring an allen key would not be a hindrance. Maybe it would be more convenient with a slotted grub screw so that a straight screwdriver could be used.

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