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Lie nielsen smoother. Which to choose?

by Luke
posted 08-15-2010 08:18 PM


30 replies so far

View Div's profile

Div

1653 posts in 1691 days


#1 posted 08-15-2010 08:34 PM

I would swop a truckload of my African timber for ANY Lie-nielsen plane!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Luke's profile

Luke

542 posts in 2045 days


#2 posted 08-15-2010 08:51 PM

JorgeG, I really like the idea but I worry that it won’t do really well on face grain being so low. Is this unfounded? I have a low angle LN block plane already which I use for end grain and other things.

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1281 posts in 2488 days


#3 posted 08-15-2010 08:59 PM

I have the LN 4 1/2 bronze special edition smoother with a high angle frog. I would not recommend a standard frog for any smoothing plane. High angle 50 degree will work for most applications. The 55 degree is for very difficult grains and where a person is doing a lot of it on a regular basis.
The 4 1/2 is heavier and a bit longer. This makes it much easier to use. Smoothing ebony and other hardwood inlay is a breeze.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile

jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#4 posted 08-15-2010 09:10 PM

>Which LN to get ?<

My first responce is one of each. I love the things. But . . .
Be warned the bronze guys are more to look at than to use. They cut fine etc but they have more friction/drag on the wood. Takes constant waxing or oiling or tallowing. Nice to look at though.

For a working smoother and if you don’t have the bucks to buy several planes, who does these days, I STRONGLY recommend this plane ( sorry LN I still love you ) :

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=51870&cat=1,41182,41187&ap=1

You should be looking at a LV ( some times the link to a specific Lee Valley catalog page fails so I included a photo ) Bevel Up Smoother. I have the wide one. Killer tool ! I have many blades for it. I have many other planes I reach past to get to this one. Brilliant tool.

The other photo I included, I think obviously, is a LN Bronze. I bought early on when I knew even less than I know now. Nice to look at.

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy298/noydb1/th_OhYah.jpg

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy298/noydb1/th_Bronze4.jpg

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

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jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#5 posted 08-15-2010 09:23 PM

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy298/noydb1/Bronze4.jpg

Ok that was harder than it needed to be. Guess I gotta study up on photo posting here.

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile

jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#6 posted 08-15-2010 09:40 PM

Ha, ha, ha, aaahhhh, Ha, ha, ha, ha
(not JorgeG’s post)
This editing deal is less than stellar

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

166 posts in 2505 days


#7 posted 08-15-2010 10:27 PM

Between the 4, 4 1/2 and the low angle smoother I say, get all three. You only live once. I have the 4 1/2 and I got it since it is a littel bigger than the 4. Also Deneb Puchalski from LN recommended the 4 1/2 over the 4 when I saw him at a LN show. I have also heard nothing but good things about the low angle smoother and that will be my next LN plane. Also, remember, LN products are made here in the USA so I always prefer the American made products especially when they are of superior craftsmanship.

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1677 days


#8 posted 08-16-2010 01:05 AM

Div, how big is the truck?

Maybe we could arrange something…?

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

549 posts in 2032 days


#9 posted 08-16-2010 01:52 AM

Just to offer a different opinion. I suggest the #4. I don’t really understand the fascination with the wide road-grader planes. They complicate sharpening and require a lot more force in use. If you normally use pretty mild run-of-the-mill woods get the 50º frog. If you use figured or quarter sawn wood, get the 55º frog. I think O-1 is a better steel for woodworking tools than A-2 so get it with an O-1 iron.

I suggest you get a regular bench plane and avoid the bevel-up planes. The claim of versatility comes over a very narrow range and costs a lot in edge retention.

View Luke's profile

Luke

542 posts in 2045 days


#10 posted 08-16-2010 02:24 AM

hmmm… I believe I am a little more befuddled than before. So many different opinions. If the angle of the low angle smoother is pretty much the same as the regular smoothers then why go for the low angle? It costs a bit less so that’s a consideration but I don’t really care about cost at the moment. Oh, but I still only want to buy only one plane for now. Wish I could buy a couple but I have other responsibilities to take care of too… he

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View JuniorJoiner's profile

JuniorJoiner

451 posts in 2191 days


#11 posted 08-16-2010 02:40 AM

I have nearly everythin LN sells, and I was given much advice from salesman and other woodworkers when it comes to planes. most of it was crap. the first plane I ever owned was a LN 4 1/2 . and it is good if you don’t have much smoothing to do, also being able to switch it to 50 and 55 frogs is nice. for much smoothing, it is heavy. which is why I would recommend a LN number 3. the narrower blade is easier to hold to sharpen if you are new, and the bed angle will handle 95 percent of wood if sharpened and tuned properly. the wood that it won’t handle, you are better off to scrape(or just not use) anyway.
if I had to buy one LN smoother for everything, that would be the one.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View Marc5's profile

Marc5

304 posts in 2093 days


#12 posted 08-16-2010 03:05 AM

My collection of planes has grown over the last couple years including a #4 bedrock, 4 1/2 Veritas plane and a LN #164 bevel up plane. I use all of them and they work well. I have the mind set of big projects, big planes small projects, small planes. I use a 4 1/2 on larger projects and a 4 and sometimes a 3 on smaller projects. I bought the the 164 speciifically for gnarly wood. I ground the blade to 43 degrees providing the the equilivent of a high angle frog and it is a dream to use. Do not discount the bevel up smoothers, for the price of a blade and some grinding you can get two planes out of one. Good Luck.

-- Marc

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

166 posts in 2505 days


#13 posted 08-16-2010 03:47 AM

The other thing you can do is to attend one of the Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Events. At those shows they have every tool they make and you can use them all under their instruction and find out which you like the most. Here is a link to the shows. http://www.lie-nielsen.com/?pg=1 One might be coming near you.

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile

jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#14 posted 08-16-2010 06:10 AM

>Don’t really care about cost [for one plane] at the moment<
You know . . . you might really like one of these . . .

“Clark and Williams” http://www.planemaker.com/products.html

I haven’t shelled out for one yet cause of my ideosincratic projects but for more normal stuff these are the advantages:

Light weight
Glides easily over the wood; more easily than a metal plane even when waxed
Multiple ways to grip it for tricky grain changes ( not being funny; serious comment)
A reproduction of a piece of history to enjoy.

Could be hard to get from maker. Could go with used. A new one would be my first choice.

Clark and Williams Smooth

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile

jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#15 posted 08-16-2010 06:51 AM

Since JorgeG and I have the same plane I don’t feel like too much of a jerk in saying the adjuster is better on the Lee Valley Veritas smoother. The adjuster on the Lie Nielsen low angle or low angle jack can act as a gear, grip the slot of the blade and cause the blade to change angle when you only want to advance or retract the blade.

Even with fettling ( smoothing ) of the disc on the adjust knob and fettling of the slot on the LN blade it can still trip you up. LN good for rougher work with a cambered blade; an inadvertent change in angle of blade is not critical. For a smoother with almost no camber ( curve on the blade edge ) give me the Veritas adjuster any day.

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile

jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#16 posted 08-16-2010 07:14 AM

Note on my post above says I have 49 minutes left to edit but cannot. So here I go again hoggin the thread. As far as the adjuster on the bevel down LN with the “chip breaker” screwed down on the blade before putting the blade in place

what a bunch of fittle fattling around . . . and spin, spin, spin the adjuster for some vague change in depth of cut.

Nah dude nah

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

View Wolffarmer's profile

Wolffarmer

393 posts in 1989 days


#17 posted 08-16-2010 07:34 AM

jsdnnoanybtr

I have a plane that looks a whole lot like the one you have pictured. It was pretty old with I bought in the mid 80s. No name on the body that I can tell. The iron in it is wrong, wrong, wrong. The name on the iron is Ohio Tool Works but the thickness tapers from thick on the cutting end,to thinner on the non working end so it just will never lock up with the wedge.

The body has a crack in it at the mouth though i think it is still usable. If i put a proper iron in it.

Randy

-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View Don2Laughs's profile

Don2Laughs

61 posts in 2185 days


#18 posted 08-16-2010 09:23 AM

Picture worth lotsa words. I don’t own the 4 1/2 but I did opt for the #4 because it’s lighter. The link shows some quilted maple that was raw. The #62 flattened it and made it somewhat smooth then the #4 cleaned it up.
http://picasaweb.google.com/PawPawDon62/MarkingKnifeAndMore# I really like the bevel up #62 …. could certainly use it as a smoother … as you can see.

good luck

-- Don in San Diego, Ca.

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 3004 days


#19 posted 08-16-2010 04:46 PM

Well, everyone has chimed in, so I won’t get into the details. I have a LN #4 bronze with the HAF. It’s my go-to for that final smoothing, as well as for tough grains. Believe it or not, my second favorite smoother is a Mujifang HA smoother. Good luck – either one is a fine plane.

-- To do is to be

View swirt's profile

swirt

1952 posts in 1723 days


#20 posted 08-16-2010 05:09 PM

Jarrod did a great job above of explaining how the angles add up in a bevel up plane and can be easily altered by just swapping blades. This is all true. Others have suggested the only way to get a higher angle out of a bevel down plane is to get a different frog. That is one way, but the other way is to simply hone a back bevel on the blade, then practically any angle greater than 45 is possible. So then angle changes become as simple as replacing the blade, just like on a bevel up plane.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View swirt's profile

swirt

1952 posts in 1723 days


#21 posted 08-16-2010 05:51 PM

@wolffarmer, the blades on the old wooden planes are supposed to be tapered. Thicker at the cutting edge, thinner at the tail. That is part of what helps the wedging action be so solid. If yours is not locking up, it is not the fault of the blade. It is possible your wedge either needs some adjustment or was not the matching wedge for the plane. I often see these old wooden planes with wedges that don’t match. Hard to know whether they were just mixed up, used as an alternate because the original was broken, or is a user made replacement, or overly adjusted by a user to the point where it no longer works.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View Luke's profile

Luke

542 posts in 2045 days


#22 posted 08-16-2010 07:45 PM

Well, I’m about to make the leap for the low angle smoother. I really like the availability to change the angle which means I will be another blade and sharpen it with a higher secondary. So now the question becomes, should I get the Veritas or the Lie nielsen. I really like LN tools but after jr’s comments about the adjustability I’m leaning towards the Veritas. Man, who knew choosing a hand plane would be so nerve racking. OH, and when I said I didn’t care how much it costs what I should have said was in the 2-4 hundred dollar range, which gives me all but the very best out there.

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1677 days


#23 posted 08-16-2010 08:52 PM

Luke, I would try each one for fit and feel in my hand before purchasing, if that is possible.

This spring I bought a new Veritas plane, brought it home and spent some time with it in my hands and found it was very uncomfortable for me to hold because of the shape of the handle (my paws are too big I guess).

This was another great thread with some interesting comments and info.

Got me interested enough that I looked at the planemaker site and bought a wooden plane. Thanks alot jsdnnoanybtr!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile

jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#24 posted 08-17-2010 04:37 AM

A few things came to mind while reading other’s posts:

>hands and uncomfortable grips<
not to contradict, what is true for you is true for you/no agrument, I had a different experience with the Veritas handles. Small hands here. I noticed how the Veritas handles seem straighter/less sculpted and curvy compared to the LNs. I felt a little jipped. Funny though they feel great to me and may even be more comfortable in use than the curvy stuff.

For instance the LN bevel up jack brused my palm for a long while after I began to use it weekly and even daily. The other LNs did not do this ( LN scrub, #4 bevel down and #7 bevel down ) . Now my hand has changed, got stronger or what ever, and it is no longer a problem. I couldn’t even figure out how to address it as I am about to sugjest so I just put up with it and took breaks.

Some thoughts on plane handles : look for past articles on how to make your own handles. Fine Woodworking Mag and the British Mag Furniture and Cainetmaking both have some info on how to do that.

Don’t be afraid to take a rasp to the handles you have. (if you can figure out where to change it) If nothing ellse it is an excellent reason to buy a Nicleson 50 or 55 rasp and you won’t regret that. I hope to add a photo here of the handle on a bow saw I made from teak that demonstrates what I mean.

We will see if I am in good enough form to post another pic. Takes it out of me pic posting does. Always a different out come seems like. Big, way too small, just a blue link, and every once in a while BINGO I get a pic to just sit in the text and it is time for a beer and a message.

>#3 plane<
Yes I like those, in theory. Nice size. Gets me right there on the wrist though when I use one of the bloody things. See pic of my wrist bone. Bang !, Bang !, Bang ! Finally had to take the plane back to the store.

Woh ! Two for Two. Must have got the coffee to cookie ratio just right. Guess I will quit while I am ahead.

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

View Luke's profile

Luke

542 posts in 2045 days


#25 posted 08-18-2010 12:13 AM

I went online this morning and bought the LN bevel up smoother with an extra blade. Thanks for all the comments and help. Hopefully it will be a great tool. I’ll post more info once I get a chance to use it.

Thanks!

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View Don2Laughs's profile

Don2Laughs

61 posts in 2185 days


#26 posted 08-18-2010 01:09 AM

I’m sure you will be happy with it. Once I had the #4, although it is a great smoother, I still wanted the bevel up feature so I bought the #62 which is longer but the same thing. I love mine and it is great for smoothing tough grain.
D

-- Don in San Diego, Ca.

View Luke's profile

Luke

542 posts in 2045 days


#27 posted 08-21-2010 05:19 AM

Well I got the tool in today and it looks awesome! I still haven’t had a chance to use it yet. I tried to loosen the knurled nut that holds the cap on and it was solid! I couldn’t get it to unscrew. I had to get a screw driver and loosen it which was very difficult. For a minute I thought I was doing something wrong. Once I got it off I realized that the cap was in the wrong place when it was tightened because the nut had two gashes in it from being in the wrong spot when tightened (slightly forward of the hole). I think that this caused the nut to become out of round therefore messing up the threads a bit and making it difficult to loosen, very difficult. I called LN and explained and she kindly told me that they would be sending out a new part today. I explained that it could have also messed up the threads on the rod that it screws to so they are sending that too. Awesome customer service! Just awesome. So glad I purchased this wonderful tool and can’t wait to give it a try.

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1281 posts in 2488 days


#28 posted 08-21-2010 05:45 AM

Luke, Congrats on your purchase. LN has online tutorials and tips for their planes. Check out the 3 part series py Christopher Schwarz. He does a very good job demonstrating the ins n outs of bench planes.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lie+nielsen+plane&aq=f

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Don2Laughs's profile

Don2Laughs

61 posts in 2185 days


#29 posted 08-21-2010 08:11 AM

Congrats, Luke
Looking forward to some pics of that thing in action!
I bet someones head rolls at LN for that booboo … those folks take a lot of pride in sending out a fine product. Brings up another subject … we have a store here Craftsman Studio http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/ that carries several of the fine brands and I do everything I can to make sure he stays in business because it makes sooo much difference to be able to handle the product before buying it. I really don’t like buying a (valuable) tool without touching it. Bill Kohr, the proprietor of CS is a quality individual, too. He is extremely knowledgeable and helpful in determining a need and standing behind his products.

-- Don in San Diego, Ca.

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile

jsdnnoanybtr

24 posts in 1809 days


#30 posted 08-22-2010 02:45 AM

May not be LN’s fault for the displaced parts. Consider the possibility that it was dropped in shipping. I could see that causing the parts to shift and jam. Might check the flatness of the sole.

I to have had great service from LN, and Woodcraft, when there was a problem with a LN tool. Rarely a problem.

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

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