I was fortunate enough to get a gift certificate from Lie-Nielson for
Christmas. I am primarily a power tools woodworker but have recently
discovered the joy of using hand planes and cabinet scrapers. Right now
I own a LN adjustable mouth block plane which I use for trimming
assembled dovetails, removing planer/joiner marks etc. I think I am
ready for something else. I think I will use this primarily for
smoothing and finishing. I don't know whether to get a low angle jack
plane, a smoothing plane or a scraping plane.
Any suggestions? Can I provide any further information to help spend my
Thanks in advance
The low-angle jack is a pleasure to use, and produces splendid surfaces even
on tough-to satisfy grain.
If the certificate is modest, the rabbet block trims tenon cheeks
beautifully, and rabbets against a fence after scoring with a knife across
the grain. In that case, get the Lee Valley smoother - high or low angle.
Don't get a LN smoother if you have big hands. The LV is soooo much easier
Mike should use his gift certificate at LN for something other than a
shoulder plane. Buy the shoulder plane from Lee Valley/Veritas -- IMO,
it's better than Lie-Nielsen's.
A sharp chisel is about as good as a shoudler plane for cleaning
Get them in this order:
#4.5 LN (I like the Steve-Knight coffin smoother, too)
LN chisel plane
Note: After you spend your gift certificate at LN, also look at Lee
I have a mix of LN, LV, and Steve Knight planes. I love each one like a
A good list. I'd add a #3 in there, but that's a rather idiosyncratic,
personal choice, based on what I do, and the size of my hands. (I use it
like a large block plane.)
I have the LN chisel plane. It's beautiful, and when you need it, you
really need it. But so far for me, that's been about three times. IT
paid for itself with the first time, but an oft-used tool it's not.
There are always new, good ones coming out from Rob and the engineering
Depending on the size of the certificate, and the state of your toolbox,
consider the LN tools I use most frequently, since you have the 9 1/2
block already: Dovetail and crosscut saws, and/or the set of bench
chisels. These are really nice tools, and I find myself using these
almost every shop session.
An interesting thought, that. Do you wake up in the middle of the
night, worrying about them? Do they cost money, constantly? Are you
concerned that, due to them, you may never be able to build that
retirement fund to where it 'ought to be'? Do you brag on them to
friends and acquaintances? Show their latest successes?
Yes, quite like children...
If you're mostly interested in smoothing and finishing then get a #4
smoother. It will do a better job than your block plane at taking out
planer marks. I would get a smoother or even a jack before moving on
to the more specialized planes like low angle block planes or shoulder
If you do a lot of work on figured woods you should think about getting
the 50 degree smoother.
I have their 4.5 smoother, low-angle jack, butt mortise plane, scrub plane,
bench socket chisels and mortise socket chisels. As you probably know from
the block plane, using these tools is immensely satisfying. As others have
said, LN has planes that are also delightful to use (I have their low-angle
block, medium shoulder, and scraper planes).
For smoothing as you said you were interested in most, the low-angle jack
with a couple of extra blades with different grinds offers wonderful results
and excellent versatility. I've heard exceedingly good things about the LN
low-angle jack (which wasn't around when I bought mine), so you might want
to consider that.
Of all the LN tools I have, the bench socket chisels are what I consider the
best. I actually look for reasons to use a chisel because they are so nice
to hold and put to wood.
I suggest you should get a low angle jack, if for no other reason than I'm
looking to buy a low angle jack myself eventuallyish. They look really
useful. (Mine probably won't be L-N though. You suck. I got a gift
certificate to Bed Bath and Beyond. WTF were they thinking???)
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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