Lie-Nelson Low Angle Adjustable Mouth Block Plane

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  • Lie-Nelson Low Angle Adjustable Mouth Block Plane

    I have put off hand tool work for a few years now. I finally took the plunge on some nice MHG chisels a few months ago due to demands for dovetailing. A set of waterstones ensued to sharpen them. It was clear that I was sliding down the hand tool slope but I still was very apprehensive about hand tools. Frogs, back bevels, spinwheels . . . a whole new world of terms I really had no desire to learn. I picked up a good hand plane book and while full of information it really didn't point me in the right direction as far as selection. One thing I did notice over and over again was the Lie-Nelson name popping up again and again, just like it does on all woodworking forums. I decided a nice block plane would be handy and I knew from research that a low angle plane was desirable. The Lie Nelson Adjustable Mouth Block Plane seemed to meet all the needs that I had. I felt that the adjustable mouth was justified as I work with a wide range of woods, particularly figured woods where small mouth openings would be needed.
    I ordered the LN plane from http://www.finetoolj.com/LN/home.html. These folks have the lowest prices on LN tools that I have saw online or in retail stores. I placed the order and received the plane two days later. Thom happened to be here when it arrived so we immediately took a look at it. Thom questioned "I thought this was supposed to be adjustable mouth?". Then he noted the faint line in the sole of the plane where it adjusted. Holy smokes. Talk about fine casting and milling! First impressions were very high with the plane. It is solid and feels substantial in your hand.
    I read the small manual that came with the plane and then took it out to the shop and loaded up some QSWO into the vise. I narrowed the mouth and adjusted the blade by feel. I took a little swipe across the board and had some minor dust. I set the blade ever so slightly lower and took another wipe, making sure I planed at a slight angle with the grain. A nice long paper thin curl came off. A smile broke over my face. I like this. I like it a lot. I continued experimenting on different woods, making different adjustments to the mouth and blade. Straight out of the box, with no honing of the blade, etc I was able to make big fluffy shavings on highly figured woods.
    A couple months later I find that I use the plane almost every single day. I look for reasons to use it. I have used it quite a bit and just sharpened the blade for the first time. It really holds an edge real well. I still don’t know much about frogs, back bevels or spinwheels but I do feel real confident when I need to tame some wild figure, flush up a joint or even bevel a small edge. This experience has allowed me to pick up a couple well tuned used planes last week and get going with them. I even pulled my FILs old USA Stanley No 4 out of a storage box and started restoring it. I used these planes (mostly the LN) to make a hand tool-tool box from figured maple and walnut. Other than milling and cutting the wood I did all other joining, finishing, etc with hand tools. No I will not be abandoning my power tool arsenal, however there is something very comforting about using hand tools on small high quality projects.
    I guess this is a bit of intro to planes and a review of the LN plane, however I just wanted those of you who are confused, bewildered or down right scared of hand planes that there is a plane on the market that can perform well right out of the box. It will give you the confidence to try other hand tools. I find that hand tooling has really increased my “feel” for the wood I am working with on any given project. I have become immensely more aware of grain orientation, which translates well to machine operations as well. All in all I highly recommend this as a first plane for any woodworker looking to expand their skill set.


    • Pappy
      #1
      Pappy commented
      Editing a comment
      Welcome the the Neanderthal world, Jeffrey! I don't remember a project where at least one of my block planes found it's way to my hand.

      Have you tried scrapers yet? Once you get the hang of setting the burr they are amazing tools!

    • Jeffrey Schronce
      #2
      Jeffrey Schronce commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Pappy
      Welcome the the Neanderthal world, Jeffrey! I don't remember a project where at least one of my block planes found it's way to my hand.

      Have you tried scrapers yet? Once you get the hang of setting the burr they are amazing tools!
      Ya, scrapers were actually my first step. I can roll a mean burr on a scraper now a days.

    • Halverson
      #3
      Halverson commented
      Editing a comment
      I got my first plane, LN low angle block plane, from a gentlemen selling out of his tools last year. Was afraid to use it; it was so nice looking. Finally used it last month successfully smoothing a board in the floor that had cracked. Awesome tool... I love it.
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