Lie-Nielsen vs Lee Valley Smoothing Plane - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-03-2010, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Lie-Nielsen vs Lee Valley Smoothing Plane

Hello all,

I'm making a hope chest out of solid cherry with dovetailed corners on the chest. I need to remove material from the outside surfaces of the chest to make the dovetails flush. I tried my cheap Stanely #4 on some cherry test pieces and it's just not going to cut it (pun intended!).

A Lie-Nielsen #4 goes for $300 new and is probably one of the best planes around. Lee Valley sells a high quality #4 for $200. I know the old adage, "You get what you pay for" applies particularly to hand tools, but will a novice like me really be able to tell the difference? I'm hard pressed to justify $300 when $200 might do the trick. Think of what else I could by with the $100 I'd save!

Any other options available out there?

I am very interested to hear what all the experts think.

Thanks!

Kevin H.
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-03-2010, 11:38 PM
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A #4 Stanley isn't a low angle plane and a low angle plane is best for end grain You want to hold the plane at an angle when planing. If I were buying a high dollar plane I would go with the Lie-Nielsen. That is not to say the Lee Valley isn't a good plane I am just partial to Lie-Nielsen.

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post #3 of 19 Old 11-03-2010, 11:53 PM
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I'm no plane expert by any means, and if you are looking to buy a great, new tool...forget the rest of this....
If you want to save $300, can't you make the Stanley work?
I have a lot of old Stanley and if they are tuned, sharpened and used correctly, will do the same job as their priciest counterparts.
Nielson is just a wonderful heirloom to own. Lee Valley may not be as pertty, but are well made tools. Both will stand behind what they sell you 100%.

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post #4 of 19 Old 11-04-2010, 06:09 AM
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We have a pretty well equiped arsenal of Stanley's that span a hundred years or so.........have never felt the need for spending the kind of cash for the above planes.I'm not bustin on them,just don't have the cake.A good low angle Stanley #60? sharpened,honed,polished has always worked for us.BW
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-04-2010, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Seems like I created some confusion with my original post. I plan to use the #4 to remove material from the sides of the chest because they are a little proud of the dovetail ends. I did this on purpose so I could plane the sides down to be flush with all the endgrain on the dovetails all around. I do not need to plane the endgrain on the dovetails. Sorry if I'm not explaining this clearly, but basically I need to make the sides of the chest a little thinner. I presume I can use a smoothing plane for this. I only need to remove about 1/32nd or 1/16th at the most.

Also, sorry if I offended some Stanley users out there. Maybe I'll give more consideration to my $50 Stanley after all. I thought I had it tuned up as good as possible, but it just doesn't remove material smoothly. I can't get it to stop chattering and digging in. Adjusting the blade depth is a bit frustrating. I was hoping a 'higher quality' plane would work a little better for me.

Again, all advice is appreciated.

Thanks,

Kevin H.
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-04-2010, 11:07 AM
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I don't think you offended anyone. I'm sure someone else will come along and explain exactly what plane would best suit your intentions. My only point was that "for the cheap", you can get a Stanley to perform as well as the pricey ones.
That said, ain't nothin' like owning a Nielson. I only have one but it is a masterpiece of workmanship.

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post #7 of 19 Old 11-07-2010, 01:52 PM
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LV versus LN plane - retune your stanley

You might look over your plane for the following:

1 Make sure the sole is flat.
2 Make sure your blade is truly sharp.
3 Adjust the chip breaker for the depth of cut you are trying. Also make sure there are no gaps between the chip breaker and the blade and the chip breaker itself is "sharp" on the leading edge resulting in full contact.
3 Take a lighter cut.

I have several Stanley planes, all of which work excellently when tuned up properly. As an example, I have a WWII model Stanley #5 that had never worked as a plane. I recently pulled it out and checked the sole, wow!! the sole was far from flat and once this was corrected the plane worked excellently.

Enjoy.
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-08-2010, 05:53 AM
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Is it a new or old stanley? I just bought a # 3C (sweetheart era) and an old # 4 and I love them!
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-10-2010, 06:01 PM
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Not intentionally "thread jacking".... but I have a Stanley, Dunlop/Craftsman and an unknown... and I'm highly intrigued by using them, but being a newby and completely clueless... Does anyone know anyone that knows planes well in the Stillwater, OK area or even in the state that would be willing to spend some time with a really nice guy, with a great personality and three planes?
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-28-2010, 06:10 AM
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Hi Kevin,

I use my low angle block plane to knock down the dovetails. I wipe the dovetails with mineral spirits before I start the process as it makes the process easier and it lessens the chance of tear out.

It sounds like your #4 is in a serious need of a tune up. I have put a couple hours tuning up cheap planes and I talking about Buck Brothers block and #4 planes and they actually worked pretty good when done.

If you don't want to bother with the tune up are looking for a new bench plane and only this will be your only plane I would suggest getting low angle #5 LN or Veritas or a LN bevel down #5 1/2.
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post #11 of 19 Old 01-20-2011, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Well, all, thanks for all the advice and recommendations. I went ahead and bought the Lie-Nielsen #4 block plane in bronze. I tried it out on a slab of cherry and WOW, what a difference. At this point I have done nothing to the LN #4 but adjust the blade height to remove just the thinnest shavings and it is a delight. It's smooth as silk.

So, I've either done a terrible job tuning up my Stanley #4, or it's a dog. I'm going to try harder to get it to work correctly, but comparing the workmanship and precision of the LN to the Stanley, I'm skeptical. I'll report back on how this works out.

Kevin H.
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post #12 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 01:54 AM
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I saved some money and went with lee Valley Veritas. Someday I will splurge on a Lie- Nielson but I am in no way disappointed in my choice.
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post #13 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 06:49 AM
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Over the years

I've bought a LN/year and have a pretty good set at this point. I cover ME in my business and try not to take the coast road as their factory is along the road and they have all of their tools out on benches for you to try when you get there. It is like Candyland for adults and you get a 10% discount for buying on site. I have a couple old Stanley's as well. I can't say one cuts better than another. I will say that if I do my part, meaning clean, adjust, sharpen, hone either will do a good job. As well, I can make my favorite plane (LN low angle Jack) cut like a battle ax when I don't stay up with it. I think with any tool, buy the best you can afford and don't take away form the family when you do buy.

I don't think there are to many things in woodworking that can drive you crazy faster than a plane. When they are right, you just feel so good about using them. When they are wrong and you aren't getting it together nothing can make you want to chuck the whole business like a plane
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post #14 of 19 Old 01-21-2011, 10:03 PM
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Kevin,

I've outfitted all my vintage Stanley's with Hock (or Hoch) irons and chip breakers. I did this to my number 7, number 5 and my number 5/scrub plane conversion. I think this is major improvement to the tools at a very reasonable price. Well, reasonable compared to a new Lee Valley/Veritas or a Lie-Nielson.

Of course, I really like my Veritas block plane and Lie-Nielson shoulder plane. Wonderful tools and a pleasure to use.

Enjoy your new toy!


Greg

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post #15 of 19 Old 01-22-2011, 06:50 AM
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Great advice from everyone!

A BMW with bald tires won't go through the snow better than my rusty Neon with new snow tires. Point being, any plane needs to be sharp, adjusted properly, flat, and sharp. Flea market Stanleys, new Groz's etc, need to be tuned up and made to work. Then they work like a charm. Veritas and Lie-Nielson, they show up ready to go, that's one of the things you pay for.

Learn your plane, see what adjustments work best, and learn how to sharpen the blade.
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-22-2011, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brink View Post
.......... Learn your plane, see what adjustments work best, and learn how to sharpen the blade.
"Spot-on" advice there, Brink.

James
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post #17 of 19 Old 01-22-2011, 08:24 AM
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Yeeeup...spot on Brink.

And don't ever be satisfied with just sharp........we want scary sharp.That special place in sharpness world where even lightly checking its edge will draw blood,haha.BW
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-15-2011, 01:56 PM
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One more bit of advice that I haven't seen mentioned. With a new plane or restored and properly tuned; it makes things easier if you wax the sole once and awhile. I keep a piece of candle wax on the bench and rub it on after every several strokes with the plane. It makes the blade seem even sharper.

Wrangler
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-15-2011, 02:37 PM
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Anyone struggling with hand planes ought to check out Rob Cosman's stuff:
This guy is amazing with what he does with hand tools.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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