So the important bit; use. This plane's raison d'état is making grooves and that's it. It's not equipped with spur cutters for cross-grain work. It doesn't do mouldings of any sort. It will not remove its nose and do any sort of stopped cut; with the additional length of the skate nose you can pretty much forget fudging a stopped cut. It does not make the tea. It will do rebates if necessary, and has a pocket in the fence to facilitate same, but only small ones unless you do additional cuts.
1/2in deep is all its equipped to do and the fence rods are short enough to limit it in width quite a bit too - a mere 1 1/2in. But if you want to take your hand tool use beyond whispy shavings from a bench plane and get into some serious hand tool joinery, chances are you'll soon find yourself wanting a plough of some sort; it's one efficient groove making machine, and efficient groove making is a backbone of traditional furniture construction.
Using one usually presents two important points of set up to cause you to grind your teeth; getting the cutter square to the skate and just protruding enough not to bind, and the fence set the correct distance and parallel to the skate (otherwise that too will bind). Well the Veritas Small Plow does both those things for you, no fuss. Keep the edge of the cutters square to the sides whenever you sharpen them, and that's all you have to worry about. Joyous, no? Trust me, it is.
So I set to and made many grooves.
Then I made some rebates...
...of differing sizes.
For the purposes of this I even did a very unlikely cross-grain cut after pre-scoring with a knife. And they all came out okay.
But. Well how can I put this? It was a lot harder work than I'd expected. I can't fully explain why, but we just didn't gel. Usually I concentrate like the blazes on the first few passes as I establish the cut then I can relax, get into the groove (forgive the pun) and just let the thing flow. In this case I felt like I was fighting the plane on every single pass, trying to keep it vertical; which meant I was tensed up the whole time and it became a fairly exhausting experience. In retrospect it was bit like going back in time to when I first started using a plough plane and that's kind of depressing. Possibly if I was less of a crusty plough plane-using old salt I'd like it more, but as 'tis we simply didn't get on. I was actually keen to fit a wooden sub-fence, which usually I can take or leave, and it did help considerably as long as there was enough stock for the increased surface to bear on.
Somewhat to my surprise I also found the capacity a little limiting; with a wooden fence fitted I reached the full extent of the fence rods pretty sharpish, even just making a groove down the middle of a fairly narrow board for a cutter box. Now you may point and say "hey, aren't you one of those people who tells everyone to make shorter rods for their #043?" to which I say "yes - but I don't tell you to ditch the long ones..." In some respects as a plane it falls rather between two stools; neither the compact handiness of a #043 nor the capacity of the #044, which seems a slightly odd decision to me.
So the verdict? I greatly looked forward to the arrival of this plane and perhaps unfairly, expected great things. Now there are great things there; the fence locking system is simply brilliant and the totally tool-free adjustments are right up my alley. Most of the rest ticks the boxes okay and it certainly does the job for which it was intended. If you're looking for a plough with none of the worries of missing parts, bent skates or rusty cutters that can plague the secondhand examples, it's about the only quality example currently on the market and should earn a lot of admirers. Unfortunately, whether it's my planing style, freaky hands™ or what, it's not for me.

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