I've been agonising between this Veritas Bull nosed plane and the Axminster Rider model for weeks, and to be honest, the only thing I was deliberating over was the price. Did I want to spend an extra hundred quid on the Veritas model, or would I buy the Rider and wish I'd bought the Veritas. Well I've bought the Veritas. It arrived today and I absolutely love it. The £155 is now history, so let's concentrate on the plane.
Out of the box comes a very beautifully made thing. It is smooth, square, flat and absolutely nothing on the plane body that needs anything other than a little rub with a rag to remove the rust protection it is shipped in. To be fair, you hardy notice the protector, but the instructions said to remove it, so remove it I did.
The info says the blade is lapped on the back and on the bevel to a very high standard, making the back very flat and the bevel true to 25 degrees. No doubt about it, the back is very flat. I gave it a couple of passess over a 1200 grit DMT Diamond stone and revealed it is most certainly very flat. I couldn't resist a few passess over the 8000 grit Japenese watersone for a little polish, but only did this for a minute or so as I really didn't think I needed to create a mirror finish. I have a mirror in the bathroom, and I never like what I see in the that, so don't want to bring any more unecessary reflectivity into the workshop. The bevel took just a few passes on the 1200 diamond stone and finished on a strop to produce a razor sharp cutting edge. All ready to go..!
The test for this little plane was tidying up the rebates I've just planed with a rebate plane into the reverse of a raised panel door, and I have to say it worked really well. On the long grain, the plane took an extraordinarily thin full length shaving with little effort, time after time, and when trimming the end grain rebate it was extremely good too. It was not unlike paring the end grain with a chisel, but with much more control and accuracy (for me anyway). I'm not sure how I've worked all these years without a Bull Nosed plane, but I suppose I got away with it by spending too many years using power tools like the Router. The only Router I use nowadays is a superb little Lie Nielsen model that you push by hand- its beautiful, and much more satisfying that something that makes an awful noise, creates buckets of dust, makes you wear the contents of a personal protective equipment shop, and takes ages to set up.
I've read reviews of the top quality planes from Lie Nielsen and Veritas on the Axminster web site before, and recall someone saying they could buy a plane from a car boot sale for £20.00 and make it work as well as a tool from these aforementioned companies. Can you really..? Well good luck to you, but for me, every time I need a new plane of any description, I'll dig deep and look to these top notch tool manufacturers. It boils down to what you can afford and what you want to afford. I have Stanley planes I've had for years; a 1950's Record 5 1/2 plane I found in an antique shop recently (which didn't need too much work); and a Lie Nielsen 4 1/2. I also have a Rider low angle block plane, which is pretty good. But my experience thus far is that if you pay top dollar, there are some wonderful tools out there, which are extremely accurate and beautifully made. This Veritas Bull Nosed plane is in that rank. I can sharpen a plane iron or a chisel to the sharpest and finest of edge, but there is much more to a plane than just a sharp blade. I think this is what sets apart the Lie Nielsens and Veritas from the antiques. It takes so much work (days often) to fettle an old plane, so why bother when you can buy a beautifully made and truly accurate model that is new now, and will last forever..?
All the milling on this plane is perfect, with everything just as it should be. The adjustable mouth, blade adjustment and alignemt are really smooth, and you have ample adjustment available to get the blade absolutely true and square. Having only got the plane today, I haven't experimented with removing the nose to use the plane as a chisel plane, but I'm sure that when I do, it will be perfect. I think if you are into fine work and love your hand tools, then I can't see how anyone could be dissapointed with this beautiful Bull Nosed plane. Next step for me is the Veritas medium shoulder plane. I can't wait..!
With due courtesy to Axminster, I haven't tried the Rider Bull Nosed plane, so I'm not in a place to offer a comparison. All I can say is that I'm delighted with my Veritas..!!