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Thread: Do I really want Lie Nielsen?

  1. #91
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Imlay City, Mich
    Posts
    800
    Geez, good thing I got to put my answer down for the original question early. I think we might run out of hard drive space.

    Do I do a whole lot of work with my tools? NO

    Do I spend a lot on tools? YES

    Am I a member of the Black Hole (general wwing) club? YES

    Am I a member of the Vortex club? YES

    Am I a member of the Slippery Slope club? YES

    Do I usually buy the best available or the latest hot gadget? YES

    Do I need the best available or the lastest hot gadget? NO

    I realized not too long ago that I might just be buying tools for the sake of buying tools and that getting to the point of having a seperate stand alone shop behind the house, ( hopefully in the next couple years), and having the best tools available, ( in my opinion) , just might be the final goal. Don't get me wrong, I love woodworking and making firewood. I don't believe that there are two members here that have the same financial, marital or WWing situation as the next one. The LOML lets me get new stuff within reason because I don't cheat on her, gamble (except at Superbowl time), drink, smoke or do drugs and hunting season is only a few weekends per year for me. We both work making a decent living. In a situation like that, I'll take her up on her generosity everytime. And when I do, I won't go buy used anything. She's come around to my way of thinking since we got married. I've only bought one used car and really hated it. It was always something. I have better things to do than to work on other peoples problems whether it's a #5 or a car. Next time you go to your local Woodcraft, ask to see a Stanley and a same size Lie-Nielsen at the same time. Look at the machining and feel the handle, Look at the tolerances. I guarantee you'll notice the differences and if you can't then your senses are seriously impaired. And if you can and the differences aren't that important to you, then by all means get the cheaper one. It's your cash. On Rob Cosmans Handcut Dovetails video, he talks about the Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw. He says it's incredible because all the things you would need to do to get a cheap saw working properly is already done. Ready to go right out of the box. How much is your time worth??
    Last edited by Michael Gibbons; 02-02-2008 at 1:38 PM.
    Michael Gibbons

    I think I like opening day of deer season more than any udder day of the year. It's like Christmas wit guns. - Remnar Soady

    That bear is going to eat him alive. Go help him! That bear doesn't need any help! - The Three Stooges

  2. #92
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Windsor, MO
    Posts
    761
    Please note, Michael, that I am talking only about vintage stanleys. New stanleys you'd find at woodcraft are utter junk and only to be used as paperweights or to be flung out of a high school physics project trebuchet.

    Also, I'm not a lawyer or doctor, I don't calculate how much my time is worth. If I'm in the shop enjoying myself tuning a plane or making something out of wood, it's all fine in my book. The only time I give a **** how much my time is worth is when I'm working or doing something I don't like, and then I charge accordingly.

    Turns out I am going on Sunday to the woodworking show since we have to do some work today. I am guessing you guys all went today?


  3. #93
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Imlay City, Mich
    Posts
    800
    Marcus, Woodworking show? Where? when? why? who? what? I'm saving my coins for the March Madness sale at Woodcraft March 1st. I was speaking in general terms and not neccesarily talking about new Stanleys. Even with a great deal on a old Stanley or any other antique production plane thats in pristine condition, one might still have a great deal of work to do to get it tuned,something I have no patience for. On the other hand, I could see how it can give one a reason to get into the shop and hide from the family for a while. The tolerances of castings and machining are just so much better today than yesteryear.
    Last edited by Michael Gibbons; 02-02-2008 at 1:51 PM.
    Michael Gibbons

    I think I like opening day of deer season more than any udder day of the year. It's like Christmas wit guns. - Remnar Soady

    That bear is going to eat him alive. Go help him! That bear doesn't need any help! - The Three Stooges

  4. #94

    I got my package in the mail

    Friends,

    If you don't mind my breaking in, I'd like to report on my Lie Nielsen 60 Ĺ Low Angle Adjustable Mouth Block Plane which came in the mail yesterday. I actually think that it does relate to some of the above.

    It is indeed beautiful. I am comparing it with a Sears Craftsman Block Plane I received about 20 years ago. The Craftsman plane looks roughly like the one which is for sale right now at K-Mart for $16.00. I put a lot of fettling work into the Craftsman, flattening the bottom, cleaning the paint off the body where it contacts the blade, smoothing the contact surface and flattening and sharpening the blade. I felt like it worked pretty well for a ďnormal angleĒ block plane without an adjustable mouth.

    In terms of fit and finish, the Lie Nielsen is quantum leaps above the Craftsman. Every surface is pleasant to the touch and the eye. The critical surfaces are machined with precision and rotating the knobs is a pleasure. Backlash is marvelously tiny. The blade came fairly sharp but more importantly very flat.

    I scary sharpened the blade and checked it for square and flatness (no problems). Then some real world testing. It did everything I asked of it very nicely, but it only beat my 20 year old cheapo on a few points.

    1. It can handle end grain on every kind of wood I had in the shop. Itís the first plane Iíve had which will keep me from having to sand the ends of a board. And that is quite significant.
    2. On reversing grain, where the Craftsman will always cause tear out, I can close down the mouth and sometimes get a smooth cut. Likewise, with the mouth just barely open, I can often plane against the grain and still get a smooth cut.
    In everything else, the cheaper but well fettled tool did the job just as well.

    I was surprised by how uncomfortable it is in use. I think I will adjust, but my big hands extend well beyond the shiny cap iron and I kept pressing uncomfortably on the mouth adjuster, the back of the blade adjustment nut, and when using the plane in a shooting board on the body itself.

    I think what this tells me is that I have done a pretty good job of fettling the planes I have. That if I could find a vintage 60 Ĺ, I could clean it up and it would be nearly as good as this one. Overall, Iíve got to say that Iím a bit disappointed. I hoped to hear birds singing and to learn that I had been missing the good stuff all these years. Instead, I have a very well made tool which does its job just like it should. Iíll keep watching garage sales and flea markets and slowly, Iíll fettle a good collection into shape. If my financial situation changes one day, then maybe Iíll buy another Lie-Nielsen.
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  5. #95
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    4,229
    Geez John. I can't believe you have the nerve to break in on your own thread ,

    Glad to hear that the plane worked out for you. It is a nice plane, and as long as mine does the end grain work for me I'm happy.

    You hit the nail on the head with this sentence.
    "Instead, I have a very well made tool which does its job just like it should. I’ll keep watching garage sales and flea markets and slowly, I’ll fettle a good collection into shape. If my financial situation changes one day, then maybe I’ll buy another Lie-Nielsen."

    Now about that shooting board problem. LN has a very nice Stanley #9 reproduction, but their Stanley 164 reproduction actually works better for me.

    The slope is soooooo slippery.

    Once again, congrats on the 60 1/2, and thanks for starting this thread.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 02-04-2008 at 5:25 AM.

  6. #96
    Hmmm . . . Marcus, sounds like John has joined the rebellion. Congrats, John. If you ever get tired of your 60 1/2, let me know.


    I'll take this opportunity to weigh in on the hijack discussion . . .

    Total cost of ownership is a critical factor. If you plan on accumulating and never selling, and you have the time and inclination to fettle, I think Marcus's position is solid.

    Having said that, I have argued in the past and fully believe that your first fettle won't be as easy or as cheap as you think and could easily end up costing you the same as a nice Lee Valley. You will learn a lot in the process, but know what your are in for.

    Still, there may be a strong reason to go the LN rather than the rehab route. And it comes down to Total Cost of Ownership. If there is any chance you will sell your planes in the future (e.g., you are either:

    1) the kind of person who takes up a hobby, gets very intense with it for a few years, and then backs off a bit later; or
    2) the kind of person who likes to try new tools, rotate through them over time;
    3) or really have any intention of selling your tools at a later date)

    AND you can afford the initial outlay THEN there is no cheaper way to go than LNs. The reality seems to be that, since used LNs routinely sell for at or above their original purchase price, they have essentially $0 cost of ownership. If you buy LN, you can sell it later for the same amount.

    Clint Jones clearly demonstrates that you can rehab planes for profit, but he seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

  7. #97
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Windsor, MO
    Posts
    761
    Since a nice cleaned up stanley plane almost always sells for more than you paid for it, it would seem that stanleys have a negative cost of ownership. My first fettle went relatively painlessly and was done quickly. Everyone makes this out to be some righteous torture - it's not. Anyone who thinks otherwise is welcome to bring a vintage stanley over to see how it's done.


  8. #98
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Herndon VA
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    60
    John - if you are not pleased with the purchase you can return it. LN is really very good about that. It sounds like you do a nice job of tuning up your older Stanleys.

  9. #99
    Marcus –

    Just some comments from a newbie neander falling down the “buy old Stanley tools to get better value and performance” slippery slope.

    I’m sure this is all information overload to any beginning woodworker looking to go neander, but I must add my 2 cents to the pot. You have made many good points that I agree with, but I question two of your comments concerning LN’s bling and cost.

    Bling-bling (usually shortened to bling) is a hip hop slang term that refers to elaborate, gaudy jewelry and other accouterments, and also to a lifestyle built around excessive spending and ostentation – wikipedia.org

    Bling - Except for the cocobolo handle “option”, I can’t think any accoutrements on a LN plane which do not have a direct impact on its performance or reliability (whether measurable or perceived).

    Cost – To be fair, cost comparisons should be made to the Bed Rock (bedrock) series of Stanley’s. In that case, buying some clean, well tuned bedrocks will often cost more than a comparable LN (i.e. Stanley 604 Ĺ vs LN 4 Ĺ). Other original Stanley’s such as a bevel up 62 or 164 will cost you significantly more than a LN 62 or 164. Same goes for a 212 scraper plane and others I’m sure. In many cases, I’d say the LN plane is a better value.

    Now lets talk English infills……not.
    J
    JF
    Apprentice Wooddorker
    Future Amputee

  10. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gabbay View Post
    John - if you are not pleased with the purchase you can return it. LN is really very good about that. It sounds like you do a nice job of tuning up your older Stanleys.
    I am pleased with the plane. I think it does everything that could be expected of it. The ability to get a planed surface on end grain is something I can't get any other way. There is also great pleasure in owning a very finely made tool.

    I was only disappointed that there was not a level of performance above and beyond what I had known before.
    Last edited by John Schreiber; 02-05-2008 at 6:02 PM. Reason: Clarity
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  11. #101
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Windsor, MO
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    761
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Fields View Post
    Bling - Except for the cocobolo handle ďoptionĒ, I canít think any accoutrements on a LN plane which do not have a direct impact on its performance or reliability (whether measurable or perceived).
    I use it because a lot of people indicate they like the LNs because they look nice. It fits. I realize everyone at SMC uses their tools, so perhaps my comments are not for them.

    Cost Ė To be fair, cost comparisons should be made to the Bed Rock (bedrock) series of Stanleyís.
    Only if the Bedrock series offers appreciably better performance, I'm not convinced they do. We're talking about putting a surface on a board, other considerations aside. One thing people always point out is ease of adjusting the frog with the traut patent planes. This talk is hilarious to me. Once I get them set I leave them there. Good old plain jane stanleys are so cheap you can have 3 or 4 set different ways if changing the frog is really such an onerous chore.

    You can find bedrocks plenty cheap if you know how to hunt. I passed on an early 605 for 15$ because at the time I had 5 #5s and couldn't justify another one.


  12. #102
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwestern Connecticut
    Posts
    6,096
    Last summer I bought and flattened, cleaned, tuned, honed tweaked and carressed a $15 Bailey #4 1/2? bench plane for more than 20 hours over a long weekend. Glad I did it. Great fun. If I had paid myself my normal shop rate, I could have bought 3 lie neilson planes with that time. When finished, it worked almost as well as my lie neilson. Gave me a warm fuzzy feeling doing it (may just have been exhaustion), but at some point you might ask yourself am I a wood worker or a metal worker? Or both? Lie neilsons are sharp, flat, perfect finish and balance, pleasure to use, give me a warmer, fuzzier feeling than grinding down an old worn frog!

  13. #103
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Ward View Post
    . . . . Once I get them set I leave them there. Good old plain jane stanleys are so cheap you can have 3 or 4 set different ways if changing the frog is really such an onerous chore.
    So true. Wish I'd known that before. I was convinced of the superiority of the bedrock adjustment mechanism by the great accolades in Garrett Hack's book. But after I tweaked up my 603, 604 Ĺ, and 605 for smoothing, Iíve never made a significant adjustment since. If I want to hog out a bit more wood, I use other 4, 5, or 6ís that I keep with the mouth opened up.
    JF
    Apprentice Wooddorker
    Future Amputee

  14. #104
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    975
    One of the advantages of the Bedrock design is that the frogs give better support for the plane iron -- it isn't only the adjustment that is an improvement over the Bailey type frog. The LNs and Clifton's are based on that design. That's not to say that a good Bailey will not do the job!

  15. #105
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Windsor, MO
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    761
    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Goodman View Post
    One of the advantages of the Bedrock design is that the frogs give better support for the plane iron -- it isn't only the adjustment that is an improvement over the Bailey type frog. The LNs and Clifton's are based on that design. That's not to say that a good Bailey will not do the job!
    Yes I know this, I purposely ignored it because I don't think it's a necessary 'advantage'. I could be wrong, but I've never been in a situation with one of my plane janes where I said, "You know? I wish this blade had more support!"


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