Block planes with adjustable mouths -- how often do you adjust them?

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Forum topic by Furnitude posted 02-06-2013 05:10 PM 1658 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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362 posts in 2596 days

02-06-2013 05:10 PM

I’m in the market for a block plane. I’ve read the reviews of the Lie-Nielsen planes and the Veritas planes. I’m sure I can’t go wrong with any of them. They seem to be such high quality. My question is about the Lie-Nielsen low angle 102 – the one without the adjustable mouth. The 102 seems great for lots of things. Comparing the 102 to the standard block planes with adjustable mouths – i’m wondering how often I’d actually adjust the mouth. It’s probably set pretty thin. Cost is also part of the issue. I’m also wondering how necessary it is to have a heavy block plane like the 60 1/2 low angle. Does anyone have both the 102 AND the 60 1/2? Or can anyone comment on block plane preferences and how they’re actually used?

-- Mitch, Also blog at

14 replies so far

View b2rtch's profile


4677 posts in 2138 days

#1 posted 02-06-2013 05:16 PM

Every time that I need to, which an be quite often depending on the work I am doing.
This is kind of strange question.
If you have choice buy a plane with an adjustable mouth even if you really use it, when you need it you have it.
A block plane is one of the most used tools in a shop.n
Normally you have more than just one, I have at least five of them.
I personally prefer Veritas plane, not saying that LN are not good.

-- Bert

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2737 days

#2 posted 02-06-2013 05:20 PM

Not very often, but the ones lacking adjustable mouths are
usually too big in the mouth.


View Ripthorn's profile


1212 posts in 2074 days

#3 posted 02-06-2013 05:29 PM

I recently upgraded from a fixed mouth to adjustable mouth and it has made a world of difference. When doing things like chamfers on open grained woods such as oak, it made all the difference between a nice smooth chamfer and something with bunches of tearout. I just set the mouth pretty thin and go my merrry way since I never use the block for hogging off wood. I do want to get a smaller “apron” plane at some point, but it’s not really necessary for the time being.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Furnitude's profile


362 posts in 2596 days

#4 posted 02-06-2013 05:47 PM

Thanks, everyone. Ripthorn, that’s exactly the kind of information I needed. I’ll do quite a lot of chamfering with the plane, so having the option to set the mouth very thin sounds important.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View Manitario's profile


2386 posts in 1972 days

#5 posted 02-06-2013 05:51 PM

I have a block plane without an adjustable mouth; it sits on my shelf because it tears out the wood. Conversely, my LN with an adjustable mouth gets used all the time…

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View b2rtch's profile


4677 posts in 2138 days

#6 posted 02-06-2013 05:59 PM

I believe that you should always get all the options you can afford.
Many time I bought a tool not knowing really why I was buying it but after having it, I found myself using very often.
I believe that an adjustable mouth on a plane, if available, is a no brainer as it offers so many more options.

-- Bert

View mds2's profile


281 posts in 1034 days

#7 posted 02-06-2013 06:00 PM

I adjusted the mouth on mine the last time I picked it up. Or “as needed”.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1038 posts in 1199 days

#8 posted 02-06-2013 06:22 PM

More often than I expected… I’ll open up the mouth for heavier stuff, like looking at rough boards at the lumber yard or quick stock removal before I macine a board. I’ll close it way small for end grain and finer edge shaping cuts.

I also have some fixed mouth block planes that work OK, but if you CAN move the mouth, you can always choose not to…

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


3450 posts in 1440 days

#9 posted 02-06-2013 06:59 PM

I adjust the mouth nearly every time I use it on my Stanley 60 1/2 low angle block plane.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Don W's profile

Don W

16825 posts in 1657 days

#10 posted 02-09-2013 07:08 PM

Its like asking “How many time do you adjust your car mirror”. You may have only adjusted it once when you bought the car, but if you couldn’t adjust it it would be a life time of neck stretching.

That said, I adjust them a lot.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View bandit571's profile


10560 posts in 1773 days

#11 posted 02-09-2013 07:35 PM

If you have a fixed mouth plane, low or standard angle, then you can set& forget the adjustable mouth ones. IF you have enough of them set each a little different, and grab as needed.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View stefang's profile (online now)


14953 posts in 2423 days

#12 posted 02-09-2013 08:38 PM

fairly often in my case for different tasks. What you really want to know is ‘IS AN ADJUSTABLE MOUTH REALLY NECESSARY?’ I can say yes in my case.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

718 posts in 1324 days

#13 posted 02-09-2013 10:55 PM

I often times adjust my LV LABP a couple of times when working on a piece.

-- Jerry

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2483 days

#14 posted 02-10-2013 12:37 AM

Lee Valley has great information regarding shaving types, that info comes with the user’s manual of their planes, Im sure they will send that info to you for free…..Mouth opening and blade angles are the most important issues on avery single handplane.

Why to move a frog on a conventional Bench Plane?....for the very same reason!
The answer is simple: to close the mouth. Tear out on many woods can be reduced significantly when having a tight mouthand it is esential for crossgrain work. Since Block planes and Bevel up’s do not have mobile frogs, thats why they have that mobile plate at front, that allows to close their mouth.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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