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Thread: Do I really want Lie Nielsen?

  1. #76
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    Before you have success with any plane (or tool for that matter), you must have the basic skill in knowing how to use that tool. It doesn't matter if it is a LN, LV, Marcou, or a Groz or Anant. The name does not guarantee success and in fact my frustrate you because you have spent mega bucks and you still can't do what you think you should be able to.

    If you are fortunate enough to be near some Galoots that will show you the way, great! If not, you may have to resort to reading and trial and error.

    FWIW, I have a full complement of LN, vintage Stanley, some LV, a couple of dozen transitionals, probably 50 or 60 woodies and each is different from the next. The common thread is "Ya gotta figure out how to hold your tongue before any work".

    T.Z.

  2. #77
    Wow, what a thread and its still got legs.

    Anyway, each of us comes to our opinions as a reflection of our experience. As I noted above, mine came from a number of years gaining knowledge (principally from the web) and experience taking flea market finds and tuning them for optimal performance. Someone smarter than me once maintained that the older Stanleys, adjusted for inflation, basically cost a workman a weeks pay, or sometimes more, so in that context the cost of a LN or LV plane is not exhorbitant in perspective, and frankly a type 17 or earlier does not require all that much fettling to the "innards" e.g., frog bed, but really just need cleaning up and truing the sole to produce good work, once, of course, you have learned to sharpen the iron. So in my experience, learning these skills, principally the skill of sharpening (which you're gonna have to do with any plane) allows me to fully understand how planes work, and appreciate in a more satisfying manner the performance of a LV or LN, and I do own several of both along with Stanleys, Sargents, Records and Craftsman.

    Perhaps my path was dictated by my financial resources when I started down the slope, but it was a valuable trip nonetheless, and for those so inclined, I recommend it. RN

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Ward View Post
    You don't think there are hordes of guys who own these who don't really do any woodworking? I bet there are. Any boutique item like that attracts people who love the idea of something but don't actually use it. Look at the boutique amplifier market.
    Sure there are some, I don't know about "hordes" but there are at least some. I'm sure there are some people who buy the vintage planes and use them for decorations, but that has no bearing on whether those tools represent a value to someone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Ward View Post
    The problem is if you look through the last 10 "I want a plane" posts there are hordes of people who say buy LN or LV and nobody pushing the vintage iron, which is just as good, and far far cheaper. For a guy new to hand tools the cost of entry on the high end tools is outrageous.
    I don't know about that, the responses seem about equally divided. The difference is that nobody is saying anything that would imply that buying the older tools is "outrageous" or just for show, or foolish... I don't have any problem with you or anyone else recommending the vintage tools (I don't have a horse is that race), but I think you could at least tone down the rhetoric and acknowledge that there are valid reasons why someone might find the new planes to be a good choice.

    I obviously had a different experience than you when buying my first plane. When I saw the "outrageous" price of the LN's I went with the inexpensive route and it almost turned me off of hand tools altogether. I finally ponied up for the LN #4 and it literally opened up a whole world of hand tools for me. I then went back after getting some experience with a well tuned plane and rehabbed that old cheapie into a good user, after I had given it up for dead; I count that $250 LN a bargain...

    Nobody is arguing that unless someone buys a LN or LV plane they are somehow deficient in their reasoning. I'm just providing my viewpoint that those tools, despite their cost, represent a good value based on my priorities. If you share those priorities, fine, if not, that's fine too.

    Either way--and this is the important thing--it's good that those new to hand tools hear both perspectives and can then decide for themselves without feeling like someone is passing judgement on them. So, share your experience and views, just please, tone down the rhetoric a bit.

    BTW John, I'm sure you'll enjoy that plane!
    "History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it." -Walter Bagehot

  4. #79
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    My experience is much that same as Don's. My first 2 planes were Borg "specials", Buck Bros circa 1999. I tried in vain for awhile with the bench n block plane... wound up on a shelf in the shop (still there too). I hated hand planes based off those 2 pieces of umm.... metal.
    Fast forward a couple years, I'm parked at the bench with random orbit sander for a FULL WEEKEND on a project progressing through the grits.... I think to myself there has to be a better way. A couple of trips to the library and numerous books later.. I decided to step on the slope. As a newbie I didn't ever even consider refurbing an old one, I chose to spend some money, my hard earned money on something as a treat & a true acid test to see if I wanted to pursue this avenue (I had $ set aside for buying a drum sander at that time). One LN #4 was my first plane purchase and it was some of the best $ I've ever spent, cause it hooked me.. not too mention an awful lot cheaper than the 25" drum I had in the crosshairs.
    I haven't bought any older neander tools, but I'm open to it now as I've got a comfort level with them. A couple years ago the only reason I'd have spent a penny on a vintage tool would be for a decoration in the shop (to go along with the Buck Bros junkers).
    I'm not into buying anything for the bling of having it, it's a tool (a German Engineer once told me I am the most practical person he knows, was that a compliment or insult? ). It's my money & if my wife cares less how I spend it can't imagine why anyone else would. I chose not to spend $ on alot of other things in the world to be able to spend it on others of my choice.... Nobody made me & I'd do it again without even blinking.
    The cost of entry to any WW'ing related hobby is a barrier to entry for some and for others it's not regardless of power, neander, spinny things.... nevermind all the aforementioned in one shop.
    Honestly, I don't care which route anyone takes be it brand name new planes or vintage.... just so long as they can tune & use them.

    A bit more than my $0.02. And I'l shuddap now....

    Greg

  5. #80
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    I'm for ponying up for the LN or LV's for a slightly different reason. Yeah, I had some of the same experiences with the new but rehab-ready planes and didn't try using planes again for years. Once I bought my first good plane (a LN LA Jack) it was like a light bulb went off - AHA - that's how they're supposed to work. Since then I've sucessfully tuned up a couple old Millers Falls family hand-me-downs and tweaked a few Korean and Indian planes to the point they all work very well (but still not as nicely as a LN or LV). But now when contemplating another plane, it's often a question of do I want to spend more time rehabbing an old plane first before I can do any woodworking with it, or just pay the money, get something I know will work out of the box, and get to work on some wood? I struggle to find enough time in the shop to get things done that I want to do and my To-Do list never seems to shrink, only get bigger. The last thing I want to do is add a plane rehab onto the list. Maybe if I were retired and had more time available, I could start taking on more of those kind of things, but at the moment I have less time than I have money.

    Just my 2 centavos.
    Use the fence Luke

  6. #81
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    I wasn't implying that anyone here buys those tools for any reason other than to put a good finish on their projects, I was merely saying that they do get purchased for other reasons by OTHER people (nobody here). I like all you guys, I wouldn't want you guys to think otherwise, or think I was judging anyone here that way, I hope I don't come off that way. I'm just trying to be the other side of the argument. I will be at the KC woodworking show this weekend either sat or sun if anyone wants to come yell at me for being a bastard.


  7. #82
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    I'll be there too, and I want to meet you, not to yell or argue, but because I have found many of your posts helpful and interesting.

    See you at LePeep (or however it's spelled)...
    "History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it." -Walter Bagehot

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don C Peterson View Post
    I'm sure there are some people who buy the vintage planes and use them for decorations, but that has no bearing on whether those tools represent a value to someone else.
    Don,

    Good point. My brother, who is also a woodworker, but not a hand tool guy, has a complete collection of vintage Stanley bench planes (minus a #1), that he's never used. He just likes having them on display. I, for one, would rather spend my money on a LN that I absolutely love and have no qualms using every day.

    I'm not saying LN planes are a must have; in fact, I have several Stanley planes myself, but I just enjoy the workmanship that goes into the LNs. To me, they're kind of a mix between a tool and a piece of art.

    Keith

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Knighton View Post
    Just the thoughts of a newbie here, but how does buying a $300 plane that works great right out of the box help me fiddle with vintage planes? Sure, I would know what a well tuned plane can do. Honestly, all I currently have to go on is what shavings should look like and that it shouldn't jump around while I'm trying to plane with it.
    A brand new quality plane won't help someone tune up a vintage plane. The argument that a novice should buy a good quality new plane is that the novice won't have to learn how to tune up the plane first and can instead just concentrate on learning how to use it.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Faurot View Post
    A brand new quality plane won't help someone tune up a vintage plane. The argument that a novice should buy a good quality new plane is that the novice won't have to learn how to tune up the plane first and can instead just concentrate on learning how to use it.
    Really? It did for me, the LN didn't teach me HOW to tune up a vintage plane, but it did show me what a well tuned plane felt and looked like, which I in turn applied to the vintage plane.
    "History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it." -Walter Bagehot

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don C Peterson View Post
    Really? It did for me, the LN didn't teach me HOW to tune up a vintage plane, but it did show me what a well tuned plane felt and looked like, which I in turn applied to the vintage plane.
    True, good point. A quality new plane can provide a useful reference point when comparing the performance to a similar style vintage plane.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Faurot View Post
    A brand new quality plane won't help someone tune up a vintage plane. The argument that a novice should buy a good quality new plane is that the novice won't have to learn how to tune up the plane first and can instead just concentrate on learning how to use it.
    But the argument I've heard more than once is to get a high end new plane, then you'll be able to tune up a vintage plane. No one said "Then you can just focus on how to use it". Instead, it was that one should get a new one, and that will somehow show you the way to tuning vintage ones. Well, a $300 plane was a bit more than my wife was willing to let me slide on for a single tool, so I went vintage.

    I understand the argument that they'll show you what a plane should do, but I don't think that's the only way to do that either. So far, the only plane of mine I've fiddled with works great. A far cry from the frustration I've heard from others, though maybe I'm just lucky.

    Tom
    Are you getting something out of your time here? You are? Great...then now's the time to give a little something back! Contribute!

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Ward View Post
    Given the mountain of advice online I don't think it'd be a total mess. If someone is smart enough to come ask about which plane to get they're probably smart enough to google vintage planes and find Leach's site, this one, and a few others, they'll be fine. Anyone doing woodworking is probably handy enough to figure it out from online material. You guys who push this "they should own a 300$ plane so they know how they work" always ignore the fact that there is a ton of advice available.
    I didn't ignore the fact that there is a lot of advice available. To repeat myself,

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilbur Pan View Post
    ...[M]y usual answer to "What's the first plane I should get?" is "Take a class on using hand planes and sharpening, or find a local woodworking club and look for the hand tool guy." This is the sort of thing that I've found makes a much larger impact in person than on the internet.

    For those people who don't have access to either classes or a hand tool maven, a Lie-Nielsen or Lee Valley plane may be the only hope they have of seeing what a well tuned plane can do.

    My first woodworking purchase was a class. Since then, I've only bought used planes. But I also know I needed that hands on instruction experience, or I would have been lost.

    If you really want to have people thinking about vintage/used planes, you might want to take this into consideration.
    I think I'm reasonably bright, and I know how to use the internet. But I can also say that my concept of a fine shaving that can be gotten from a hand plane would be different if I hadn't seen it live and in person.

    Basically, it's good that internet advice is out there, but it's still not as good as a live demonstration. And going out and buying a Lee Valley or Lie-Nielsen plane is an effective way of getting a live demo, as Don might attest to.

  14. Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Knighton View Post
    So far, the only plane of mine I've fiddled with works great. A far cry from the frustration I've heard from others, though maybe I'm just lucky.

    Tom

    I"ve had the same experience with a few of my planes too; generally they were Type 11 bench planes, and were likely fettled by the original owner, who made a living with it. Then someone put it on a shelf. And they generally have less than full blades; heck, my #3 Type 11 had been sharpened almost all the way to the chipbreaker screw hole; it got a new Hock blade....works great!

    RN

  15. #90
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    I have been following this thread with interest amd would first like to commend the various writers for discussing their divergent viewpoints without coming to cyber blows.

    My own opinion is that it does not matter how you get to using hand tools, but rather that you get there period. As to the buy good to see how a well tuned plane works I would say there is some merit in that, except while you may discover, at a price, what a truly well tuned plane does, you still have to know how to sharpen it after the fact.

    There is no right or wrong here but I agree that sometimes people, albiet well meaning, tend to put forth the idea that buying new quality is the way to get started. It works for many but as has been pointed out by some here in this thread, the price tag of a new LN can be scary to say the least.

    Another idea that seems to be out there, outside my own experience however, is that to fettle an older plane will take hours and hours of working in zen like meditation, ( all right I may be exagerating a bit) to get an old plane into working trim.

    I doubt that I have ever spent more than five minutes removing the chips in the edges of old blades either plane or chisel, but if you listen to some people telling how they work the sole of a plane for hours upon hours on a calibrated machined granite work surface with the abrasive of their choice, no wonder so many people want to buy a plane that works well out of the box.

    I have seen twice where someone has had the temerity to ask individuals if in fact they actually tried to use their planes before resorting to this hair shirt flattening/sharpening regime and in both cases there was no answer.

    Personally I am not a metal worker I am a wood worker, or at least I aspire to be. However I have had little trouble in finding planes that are flat enough to be used, with a small amount of work. I have three LV planes, a type 17 Stanley that works well enough, and a type 13 that works very well, (cost $12). I also have four Ohio Tool planes, ( I am not a collector, he says forcefully, if not convincingly) and am for the most part done with planes.

    My personal opinion is that the best advice offred in the entire thread was by Wilbur Pan who said go and find a course and get some hands on training, it will pay huge dividends.

    As to the original poster he bought a plane and I am sure he will be very very happy with it, I know I would be. As I said earlier and others have also said there is no right or wrong, just differences of opinion based on individual experience.
    Last edited by James Mittlefehldt; 02-01-2008 at 11:16 PM.
    Craftsmanship is the skill employed in making a thing properly, and a good craftsman is one who has complete mastery over his tools and material, and who uses them with skill and honesty.

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