Popular Woodworking 2005-06 № 148, страница 64

Popular Woodworking 2005-06 № 148, страница 64

A surprising amount of hand work is involved in building hand planes. Here a Lie-Nielsen employee flattens the unbev-eled side of a plane iron using sandpaper.

likely find them an asset. I don't use them much on the bench planes.

The cutter is made from A2 steel and the chipbreaker resembles the Stanley version. Though I'm not wild about this classic chipbreaker design in principle, I must admit that Veritas does a fine job of making them - I haven't had one give me trouble since my first encounter with them on Veritas's first-generation No. 41/2 plane.

The handles are now made from bubinga (my No. 4 has the original stained maple knob and tote). The rear handle is larger than I prefer, though other craftsmen I respect disagree with my assessment. I don't consider it uncomfortable. Veritas has been tweaking its totes and knobs, and a redesigned tote is being worked on, Lee says, so stay tuned.

Lie-Nielsen Bench Planes

The Lie-Nielsen bench planes, from the diminutive No. 2 up to the No. 8, are modeled after the

Stanley Bed Rock line of planes, but with better materials and machining tolerances.

The Lie-Nielsen frog is mated to the plane's body via a large machined area. This stable design was abandoned by Stanley years ago in favor of cheaper methods - and is one of the things that make new Stanley planes squir-relly today. The Lie-Nielsen frog is bulletproof and rock solid.

You open and close the mouth of the plane by first loosening two screws behind the frog and then turning a screw centered between them. Finally, you retighten the screws and adjust the cutter before going to work. I've never been a fan of the trial-and-error method of adjusting the frog. I admit that opening and closing the mouth of a bench plane is an infrequent activity; when I do change it, it takes some fiddling. Here's why:

Because the frog rests on a machined ramp, moving the frog also changes the depth of cut of the blade. So to find out how tight your mouth is, you tweak the frog, reset the blade and make a sample cut. I usually go through three rounds of this before I find the opening that reduces my tear-out and allows the shaving to pass.

The plane uses a "Bailey-style" system of regulating the depth of cut: You turn a large wheel in front

of the tote to change the cut. A lever above the handle tweaks the cutter's position left and right.

The blade adjuster of the Lie-Nielsen is precise and responsive, though I wish it had a little less slop - it's almost a full turn of the wheel. This is a function of the Bailey-style mechanism; on vintage planes there can be as much as two turns of slop. The adjuster is positioned perfectly in front of the tote so you can make adjustments by simply moving your fingertip s. As I mentioned with the Veritas, the lateral adjustment of all planes is coarse - hammer taps get you where you need to be.

While all those elements resemble those found on a vintage Stanley, others do not. The iron is cryogenically treated A2 steel, and the chipbreaker is different than the one found on vintage Stanleys. The Lie-Nielsen resembles chipbreakers found on some vintage infill planes: It's flat, thick and has a small lip on the end where it mates with the iron. The chipbreaker is the cat's pajamas - I wish all planes were equipped with it.

The handles are available in cherry or rosewood. The knob and tote are attractive and comfortable in my hands. My only complaint is that the screw for the rear tote works loose after heavy use - an annoyance on many other planes as well.

Comparing Bevel-up Planes

In addition to bench planes, both companies offer "low-angle" jack and smoothing planes. These tools are essentially oversized block planes. Unlike bench planes, these have a cutter with the bevel facing up (it faces down on bench planes).

These tools are simpler than a bench plane - there's no chipbreaker, the blade adjustment mechanisms have fewer parts, and you open and close the throat of the tool by sliding an adjustable shoe forward. As with the bench planes, there are differences between the brands.

The Lie-Nielsen low-angle jack plane is simple and robust. The depth of cut is regulated by a knob in front of the tote. However, there's no lateral adjustment mechanism. Sharpen your iron as square as possible and center it in the mouth of the tool with hammer taps. The Lee Valley version of this tool is equally robust and offers a Norris-style adjuster with lateral adjustment. Plus, the plane has set screws in its sidewalls to tweak the iron's position. I find both planes easy to set, though first-time plane users might like the extra blade-adjustment features on the Veritas.

You adjust the throat of both tools by loosening the front knob and sliding an adj ustable shoe forward and back. The Lie-Nielsen

Modern planes have far more machining than vintage tools. On this Veritas spokeshave, the mouth and sole are milled out on precision equipment. This extra work means less blade chatter for woodworkers.


Lee Valley Tools/Veritas

800-871-8158 or leevalley.com

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

800-327-2520 or lie-nielsen.com


Popular Woodworking June 2005

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