I normally buy Lie-Nielsen planes but several months ago, I decided to buy the Low-Angle Block Plane from Lee Valley instead. Price was a factor but I was more interested in how well it performed. Whenever I stray away from Lie-Nielsen, I usually end up with a plane that gathers dust.
But I was pleasantly surprised.
The sole was flat (flat enough for me at least!)
The back of the blade was flat as well, I just needed about 15 minutes on my diamond and ceramic stones to get a nice mirror polish. It took maybe a total of 20 minutes to get the plane adjusted and ready to use.
I was very surprised at how well it worked. My goto plane prior to this was my LN Rabbet Block Plane. I used that plane pretty much everyday I went into the shop. But for the last several months, this plane became my goto plane.
The plane is very easy to adjust. I was surprised at how useful the side screws are. It saves me a couple extra seconds each time I take the blade out. I used to dread taking the blade out to touch up the edge but now I don't mind it so much. Its' funny how that conditioned me to becoming annoyed at the extra seconds it took to setup other planes.
Anyway, the plane is pretty flawless and has worked really well for me so far. It looks like I may be trying out more of the tools from Lee Valley.