Veritas vs. Lie-Nielsen Planes

All,
I've been a confirmed power-tool woodworker for, what, eighteen months now? And after all that time ;) I've come to the conclusion that I'd like to start doing more with my hands. In part it's because, artistically, I want to do some things that you have to do with your hands (like, say, hand-cut dovetails). In part it's because I'm interested in making less noise and sawdust for health reasons. But mostly it's because I enjoy woodworking with my eldest son around, who's only three. He's currently banished from the shop when I'm using the big tools, and that's a shame. Furthermore, he'll be able to use a jointer plane long before he can use my Delta jointer. So, while I plan to continue to use power tools for most of my big jobs, I'm interested in both utilitizing Neanderthal methods in my work and learning it well enought to tech him.
My initial plan is to stock up on used tools. I'm stubborn and patient enough to tune them up and get them working, so I know I'll end up with workable tools from that, if I can find resonably priced used ones to purchase.
However, I've also been looking into new hand tools as birtday and Christmas requests (and perhaps gifts when my sons get older), and I've been wondering what people here think about Veritas vs. Lie-Nielsen. I think the Lie-Nielsen planes *look* better, but my requirements list for tools pays a lot more attention to Quality/Performance:Price than to looks. And the little bit of research I've done on RW seemed to say, the Veritas planes are at least as good as the LN planes and don't cost as much.
So, I guess what I'm asking is - are the LN better other than aesthetically? LN's 5 1/4 Junior Jack costs $285, and Veritas' is $175. I'll grant you the LN tool is prettier, but is it worth $110 more? I also get the sense that Veritas is doing more to refine their planes. On the other hand, LN certainly touts their sturdiness, their planes are gorgeous and I love the customization options they offer to let me feel like it's "my" plane.
Finally - is there another modern maker of planes I should be thinking about?
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I own the Veritas, and it's not as pretty as the LNs I own. Works like a charm, though. I especially like the extra room for my hams of hands that the Veritas design creates. Mine was flat and square without fettling, and the iron took to a touch-up beautifully, and made wonderful shavings, even in the hands of my novice after-school instrument makers.
I suppose brag goes to L-N, but you could get two Veritas planes (low block and Jr Jack) for the price, and have the two primary planes required for a neandershop. After that, a low-angle jack or smoother is really nice.
Oh yeah, regardless of your plane choice, get the Veritas spokeshave. Nothing else like it on the market, and it's an incredible tool.

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On 5 Aug 2003 23:01:09 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@baz.com (Brett A. Thomas) wrote:

You won't go far wrong with either (or Clifton)
Veritas have less attachment to traditional designs. They're happy to take the best adjuster design (a variant of the Norris) and stick it on a plane that looks like a Stanley, so it's familiar to the users. Then they throw away the whole "frog & mouth" idea, because they've come up with a better way.
L-N make nice versions of popular designs, and they make reproductions of some impossibly rare models. They change details (and use bronze), but still keep to the basic design.
On the whole, my planes are refurbed old ones. I buy few new planes. When I do, I'd probably buy a Veritas if they offered something that suited. For an obscurity though (like a #212) the L-N is th eonly game in town. If I wanted a "standard" Bailey-pattern bench plane, I'd probably go for the Clifton.
To be honest, you need a good plane, not an excellent one. All of these things are expensive, and you can get a huge amount of useful work from an old Stanley of good vintage, kept in good order.
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Brett,
I can't speak for the performance of the Veritas versus Lie-Nielson but as far as other manufacturers go, you might want to check out Steve Knight's handmade planes at www.knight-toolworks.com. Steve is a regular poster to the ng and I have read only high praise and accolades from this ng regarding his planes.
Dave
snipped-for-privacy@baz.com (Brett A. Thomas) wrote in message

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I love planes myself. You can feel the wood, and better understand what you are working with. Even if you used power tools, I couldn't imagine not having a couple of good planes for final fitting and touch up work.
The Lie Nielsen low angled planed 62 and 64, have know match anywhere. They are great.
Eventually you will come to discover that low angles are not always great, and some of the old infill planes from England had higher bed angles of 50 or more degrees. They push harder, but on difficult wood, they can pull a shaving with our tearing out chunks of wood. That's a whole 'nother subject.
I have a few ECE wooden German hand planes, and some other similar plains that have no adjustment mechanism, and some Japanese planes. I really like the new line of Taiwanese planes over at Lee Valley. Tight mouth, made of exotic wood, hefty steel blades that keep an edge. I can hardly understand how they can make them so cheap.
Wooden planes SLIDE nicely. They just have less friction than cast iron. And you can true them up easily with some stick-it sandpaper on the jointer out feed table, or you can by a granite block, a machinist flat top table flat to .0001 or .0002.
I do have some old Stanleys, and an old Millers Falls Jack plane. Both work very well. I outfitted the Stanley with Holtey blade (was $70), and the Millers Falls I bought a plane collectors convention/swap meet had a tool steel blade stock from the factory in the original box.
Most cast iron planes, like the two I just mentioned, are shaped like a banana. Dont know why, probably something to do with how the heat leaves the casting when it is ground. I just know, the banana shape is the one I seem to encounter all of the time.
Flattening the sole is the key secret to high performance. (The Cliftons have the banana problem too, out of the box). I have found that it is tough to do a good job of flattening a plane. But here is one tip for you. It is hard to find an abrasive that will stand up to the rigors of flatting a cast iron plane. But, I found the secret. Japan Woodworker sells mylar backed diamond abrasives, that I believe are made by 3M. These will stand up 100 times better than alumina Zirconia or any thing else. The price is reasonable. Get some of this, and a granite flat plate, and a good straight edge. (Get a range of abrasives. They are speced as having so many microns of particle sizes. )Maybe some feeler gages. Some people recommend a machinist blue stuff, I can't remember the name. But you put it on a plane and rub it on the granite flat plate. Where the stuff rubs off is where the high spots are. Anyway, get 'em flat, get your blade sharp (another subject) and you too can pull nice crisp shavings.
Brett A. Thomas wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@baz.com (Brett A. Thomas) wrote:

If you're interested in high-end planes in current production, you should get catalogs from Highland Hardware and Japan Woodworker. Between the two, you should be able to see pretty much everything that's available.
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