Rookie Mistake #1: A sad day for Mike

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Blog entry by Mike Lingenfelter posted 01-21-2008 09:34 PM 3476 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Rookie Mistake series Part 2: The Plane Has Landed »

I almost didn’t share this amazing stupid mistake with everyone, but the outcome is likely to be a very positive.

After Christmas I bought a new Lie Nielsen #7, with money I got from my family and some of mine. It came in last week and this weekend I used it for the first time. I got the blade all tuned up and took a few passes on a test board and centered the blade. Then started to true up some boards, I had just milled for my new workbench. After a little while I started to see plane tracks and thought it was odd, because I was taking full width shavings. I took a few more passes, and I was still seeing plane tracks. I turned the plane over and my jaw almost hit the floor. There two nasty scratches on the sole of my new plane! Words came out of my mouth that I can’t use here. I looked at the board and went thought the shaving looking for what I had hit. I found nothing! I didn’t feel anything when using the plane. I couldn’t figure it out, but after a little while I think I know what happened. I was running a lot of boards thought my thickness planer. Usually I put the boards on my bench, but this time I had too many. Guess were they ended up, on the floor of my garage. I think there was some grit or something on the floor and it got on the board. You know what happened next.

Now for the happy part of the story. I sent an email to Lie Nielsen, asking if they could resurface the sole of my plane. I expected to get a response back that said sure, and by the way send us lots of money. They said they would try and make it good as new, and they would do it for free! You have to love a company like that. When I get the plane back I’ll post some before and after pictures. I’d post the before pictures now, but the hurt is still too fresh to share right now.

I hope I never do something this stupid and potentially expensive again. If they hadn’t already, Lie Nielsen has a devoted customer now.

17 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4080 days

#1 posted 01-21-2008 09:37 PM

A friend had a similar experience with a No. 7 from LN. It was marred when he got it in the mail. They sent him a new plane, no questions asked.

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4295 days

#2 posted 01-21-2008 09:37 PM

Great story. Sorry about the plane.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Pete Santos's profile

Pete Santos

172 posts in 4213 days

#3 posted 01-21-2008 09:50 PM

I saw the company featured on “Cool Tools” on the DIY network and their factory & assemby is amazing. They really are top notch and the fact that they are going to resurface the sole of your plane for free really comports with their spirit of excellence that was self evident on the feature that I saw.

It’s great that your mistake this time didn’t cost you. I have a few COSTLY mistake stories of my own and I do agree with you that they are painful and hurtful, but at the same time they are the best lessons.

-- Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and love.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4167 days

#4 posted 01-21-2008 09:53 PM

Tom Lie-Nielsen has the right idea. If you make friends of your customers pretty soon you will have enough money. Good to hear a good review.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4319 days

#5 posted 01-21-2008 09:53 PM

I always learn from my mistakes, but this one I could have done without.

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 4036 days

#6 posted 01-21-2008 09:54 PM

It would be nice if more companies realized what it truly means to take care of the customer. Even though it was not a defect they wanted you to be happy and enjoy their product. Not only did they keep you as a good customer but you’ve shared this story with LJ and given them good (not to mention, free) press that will encourage others to shop with them.

Hope the plane comes back perfect, sorry if I rambled – customer service is one of my passions/peeves!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4379 days

#7 posted 01-21-2008 10:01 PM


I’ll be sure to learn from your mistake, though. Thanks for sharing it with us!

-- Ethan,

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 4001 days

#8 posted 01-21-2008 10:22 PM

And people say good customer service is dead. Glad to know it’s still alive and well!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4504 days

#9 posted 01-22-2008 12:19 AM

I’m sorry this had to happen to you.

Lie-Nielson will be well rewarded for its kindness.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 4060 days

#10 posted 01-22-2008 04:38 AM

Lie-Nielson is a great company. I have a few of their planes and chisels, will continue to
shop with them.

-- Still learning everything

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4291 days

#11 posted 01-22-2008 04:50 AM

Thanks for sharing…Lie-Nielson will no doubt be well compenstaed for providing you with great service. I know where I’ll llook next time I want a fine tool.

-- Bob

View IowaWoodcrafter's profile


280 posts in 4281 days

#12 posted 01-22-2008 07:13 AM

Does anyone own any Lee-Valley and Lie-Nielson planes? I’m interested in buying some quality planes and had been considering the Lee-Valley. Is one of the two better than the other? What about customer service at Lee-Valley?

-- Owen Johnson - aka IowaWoodcrafter

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4080 days

#13 posted 01-22-2008 12:29 PM

I have a Lee-Valley standard angle block plane, and a Lie-Nielsen low angle block plane. I would describe the quality as comparable—very good. I have never had to personally deal with customer service on either plane.

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4093 days

#14 posted 01-22-2008 09:19 PM

The Lie-Nielson folks have customer service down. They understand that loyal customers are the best advertisement.

Good story Mike.


View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4299 days

#15 posted 01-22-2008 11:52 PM

Bummer deal, Mike. I’m glad to hear LN is treating you so well. Congrats on owning the plane. I haven’t been able to graduate to that point yet.

IowaWoodcrafter, check out the two-part interview MsDebbieP did with Lee Valley. I think you will find their customer service is top notch.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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