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A Mini Review of the Veritas Beader

I enjoy making beads by hand. My preference has been either to use a scratch stock or a Stanley #66 with a custom long fence and LN blades.

Stanley #66 and custom fence

I have had the Veritas beader from the outset of production and have used it on a number of occasions. I made a few comments here-and-there over the past year or so, and have pieced these together into a mini demonstration-review. Note that the emphasis here is on using the tool rather than detailing its features.

The context was a panel I made for a cabinet in which the inner edge was a bead made using the LV beader ...

The bead was made on Jarrah which had first been grooved. Note the forward-facing fence. Since the beader is
pushed, not pulled, this provides a great deal of reference in this direction, but little at the end of the run. The Veritas is a push tool, while the #66 is a pull tool.

I liked the handles, which are adjustable and reversible. The beader is comfortable to hold. The blades are easiest to install when set against the fence, and my biggest niggle was that it was not possible to fine tune the distance to the fence as the latter was fixed (unlike the #66, which slides side-to-side).

My fence, used only for a straight side, was slightly (a couple of degrees) out-of-square.

It had the effect of creating a tad of tearout at the start of the bead – just a tad, and only at the start …

In case you are wondering about your fence being the same, I discussed this with the designer, Brian Ebbinghaus, at Lee Valley.
As designed, the fence should be able to swing above and below a perfect 90° orientation by 2° to 3°. We could have designed a connection that ensured perfect perpendicularity, but we decided against doing so as it would have added extra machining costs that we could not justify. In our testing of this design, the prototypes that lead to it and the historical models upon which we drew inspiration; we noticed that small variations in the perpendicularity of the fence had no noticeable effect upon the results. The nature of the wood grain being scraped introduced much greater variability. Also, the tools from our collection as well as hand-made scratchstocks tended to have much greater angular deviations, but shorter fences made this less noticeable.

And Brian is quite correct. In spite of the fence being off-square, the results I got were very satisfactory, very good …

A cross-section shot of the bead (taken when paring the mitre)..

Overall, my impression is that the Veritas Beader works rather well.

The Veritas blades are the same as the ones that come with their wooden beader, and these are smaller and thinner than the LN blades (and about the same thickness as the Stanley blades). They could be used at a pinch in the #66 (I have done so) but are not as great in that job as the #66 blades. On the other hand, the LN blades could be used in this Veritas very happily, should you want to do so. Generally I make my own blades out of 3/4" bandsaw blade.

The Veritas arris is much finer than those on the LN blades and, as a result, cuts a finer, cleaner bead line. I used both on this project, and redid the bead from the LN blade with the Veritas.

The fence on the Veritas is designed in the same style as a scratch stock. It is multi-adjustable for a straight, curved or bullnose configuration. However, it starts in line with the blade and, consequently, has limited/minimal registration when starting a cut when the fence faces forward. I would have liked a fence with rear extension for the extra registration, especially when reaching the end of a board. Having said this, I dislike the small straight fence on the #66 as well - hence this modification:

For the record, when asked which I prefer, I voted above for the #66 because, in a face off between these two beaders, the adjustable fence of the #66 just tips the balance. Either one would be satisfactory. Still my personal favourite remains a scratch stock of the following design.

Regards from Perth


December 2008