When we were at Lie Nielsen in Maine last year, I picked up a “small scraping plane”, basically LN’s version of the Stanley No.212. The Stanley No.212 made its debut in 1911, and was apparently discontinued in 1934. It was advertised as a “single handle veneer scraper plane“, designed to be “used with one hand and well adapted for Violin Makers and all Mechanics requiring a light adjustable scraper”.
The main difference between the original No.212, and the LN replica, are obviously the cast bronze, and the 1/8″ blade. I used this to smooth the top of the modified viking chest I started building in September. Now, the curved top of this chest is 10″ × 28″ in length, so some people would likely say that this plane is too small for the task. Wrong. LN’s cabinet makers scraper, modelled on the Stanley No.85 may be the perfect size for most things, but on a curved surface, the smaller scraper worked wonders.
The plane is extremely ergonomically designed, which can be used in both one-hand and two-handed fashion. For two-handed fashion, the rear knob fits nicely into my right palm, with my left hand cupping the front of the plane. I used the plane on smoothing the length of the lid, for 10-15 minutes at a time. For single-handed fashion, right-palm over the rear knob, with fingers grasping the Hand-y on either side. On some good advice, I also rounded the edges of the blade minimally to prevent it digging into the wood.
The only tricky thing may be adjusting the depth of the blade. I would say the easiest way is to lay the plane on a flat surface and loosening the lever cap, slightly lift the front of the plane, and tighten up the lever cap again. Alternatively, use a thin wedge (think thickness of a sheet of paper) to place the plane end on before lowering the blade.
The blade angle can be adjusted from 75° to 100°, enabling it to be set up just right for the particular wood being worked. Here you can see the blade set at 86°. Finding the appropriate angle requires adjusting the blade until optimal shavings are achieved. The end result should be a smooth surface. More aggressive shavings can be coaxed out of the scraper by moving the blade 1-2° towards the heel.
LN’s literature states that the plane will produce shavings “like the finest lace and leaving smooth surfaces with crisp edges”. There is certainly no doubt that this is the case. The viking chest is made of maple, and the plane produced über fine shavings.
The end result on the lid of the viking chest? A super smooth surface. Verdict? An awesome plane, well worth stocking in the cabinet.