Low angle smoother vs. #4 or #4 1/2

I want to start adding to my selection of hand planes which, so far, consists of just the Veritas low angle block plane.
Looking at the offerings from Lee Valley (Veritas), I see they offer the #4, the #4 1/2, and a low angle smoother which is about the same size as the #4 1/2.
Does one design have any advantage(s) over the other? Why would one choose the traditional design with the steeper cutting angle, or not? Sorry if I'm missing something painfully obvious, but I just don't have too much experience with hand planes.
Thinking I'll eventually want their #5 1/4 and #6, which would be the logical next plane for me to get? Thanks in advance.
Ian
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Ian Dodd) wrote in message

Hi Ian, I have the low angle smoother and the 4 1/2, and I prefer the 4 1/2 for final smoothing of a piece of wood. On some woods (eg.curly maple), the steeper cutting angle will leave a nicer finish, with less tear out. The low angle plane is more suited for planing end grain. On co-operative wood, I don't think there is much difference in performance between the low angle and high angle smoothers. The 4 1/2 is noticable heavier than the other two which I think is a plus for smoothing. I would recommend the 4 1/2 first, but you will also want a bigger plane for jointing eventually. However, as you only have a block plane, you really can't go wrong with any of them. /Brian
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Classical answer. Low angle for end grain and soft woods, higher angle for harder woods and difficult, curly types of wood. Of course, some people just get real comfortable with the low angle smoother (eh, Conan). I don't have the Low Angle smoother, but I do have the LN 4 1/2 with the 50 degree, york pitch frog, and the new style cap iron. I cannot imagine a plane doing much better than the results I get, but I do have it tuned within an inch of its life (mouth closed down to almost nothing and cap iron so close to the edge that you just see a glimmer of a line which is the shiny back of the blade). I'm not sure what thickness of shaving I get because my dial caliper shows zero. I know that's not right, so I guess I'll have to rig up the dial indicator on a flat hard surface like glass or the iron saw table.
Cheers, Eric
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< I'm not sure what thickness of shaving I get because my dial

Congratulations, you have reached Neander Nirvana by shaving the reflection off the surface of the wood.
BTW, have you tried the same plane with the standard cap iron?
regards,
Greg (who has his eye on the 4 1/2 and the new cap iron)
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brought forth from the murky depths:

He obviously hasn't tried that on the tools from our newest vendor on the block, www.gdtools.com . Click on the Brit flag, then the packaging link in the nav bar on the left. See that fine hand plane?
=Try it on this one, Eric!= ;)
P.S: Can we get any more action on that main flash page?
----- = The wealth of reality, cannot be seen from your locality. http://www.diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I sure am tired of Debian breaking the flash player thingie again and again. Every time I update, they break it.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Eric Lund wrote:

Just checking to see if I was paying attention, eh? :-) Yep, I admit to reaching for my low-angle smoothers more often than any other planes I own.

And here's another great thing about this hobby. I have the L-N #4-1/2 and I set the cap iron back almost 1/4" from the edge. I also lightly (very lightly!) filed the leading edge of the mouth to remove any slight imperfections so I can *really* close it up. I also put a slight back-bevel on the iron to raise the effective cutting angle.
FWIW, the cap iron placement was something I picked up from Larry Williams of C&W planemaking fame (and our own Jeff G also mentions it). Until I tried it, I was skeptical because it goes against conventional wisdom. The logic is that with a mouth that tight, the cap iron is superfluous. The logic seems to work. :-)
The back-bevel was picked up from Rob Lee as a possible alternative to buying the higher-angle frog. It works quite well.
This is not my go-to plane in all cases, but it does serve me well for some tricky woods.

Hmmm ... Paddy talks about getting shavings so thin that they have only one side. Is it possible to have shavings so thin they have zero sides? :-)
Chuck Vance
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