Veritas vs. Lie Nielson.


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I'm look at getting a smoother and a block plane clean up the dovetails on the wall hanging cabinet. The only plane I own right now is a Buck Bros. #4 from Home Depot which I've spent may hours tuning with OK but not great results.

Aside from cost, what are the big differences between the Veritas and Lie Nielson planes. The #4 design seems pretty different between the two.

The planes I'm looking at right now:

Also wondering people opinions on low angle vs. normal smoothers and flat vs. corrugated soles.

Thanks,

ERik

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IMHO you can't go wrong with either company. I've got a Veritas low-angle block plane and skew plane and a LN #4 and a #6 plane on the way. The quality of both out of the box were outstanding and customer service for both are also top notch. Believe this or not but I try to spread my hand tool budget equally between both companies because I've had unbelievably positive experiences with both so I try to support both.

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I don't think you could go wrong with any of those planes. If I had to advise someone on a first and most useful plane I'd suggest the Lie Nielsen Bevel Up jack plane. With a variety of irons, you can use it as:

a jack plane to chork off a lot of wood (30-degree A-2 blade)

a regular smoother, eliminating the need for sanding (25-degree O-1 blade)

a high-angle smoother for difficult-grain woods (35+ degree high-angle blade)

a low-angle shooting board plane to trim up end grain perfectly square (20 degree O-1 blade)

The Veritas bevel-up jack does this too, and a lot of people love it, but the handle doesn't seem as comfy. I've got the Veritas skew blocks and the fit, finish, function, and craftsmanship are excellent. The machining alone is worth the price but they really put a huge amount of thought into those planes. They're also very useful, versatile planes those skew blocks, for rabbets, dovetails, getting into corners.

If you want to get a block plane, do it in person and make sure it fits your hand nicely. I like a smaller block like a 60 1/2 style; I think a block plane should be easily manipulable in one hand (you should be able to hold the work in the other hand). But other people have bigger hands and favor a 65 style size block plane. I also prefer the regular lever cap instead of the knuckle-joint lever cap. The latter seems to pop up on me at the worst moments.

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I don't think you could go wrong with any of those planes. If I had to advise someone on a first and most useful plane I'd suggest the Lie Nielsen Bevel Up jack plane. With a variety of irons, you can use it as:

a jack plane to chork off a lot of wood (30-degree A-2 blade)

a regular smoother, eliminating the need for sanding (25-degree O-1 blade)

a high-angle smoother for difficult-grain woods (35+ degree high-angle blade)

a low-angle shooting board plane to trim up end grain perfectly square (20 degree O-1 blade)

I don't see all these irons listed on Lie Nielson's website. Do you use other brand irons or grind your own bevel on the Lie Nielson ones?

If you want to get a block plane, do it in person and make sure it fits your hand nicely. I like a smaller block like a 60 1/2 style; I think a block plane should be easily manipulable in one hand (you should be able to hold the work in the other hand). But other people have bigger hands and favor a 65 style size block plane. I also prefer the regular lever cap instead of the knuckle-joint lever cap. The latter seems to pop up on me at the worst moments.

I tried searching around a bit and can't find a description of a regular versus knuckle-joint lever cap. What's the difference?

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The LN bevel up #5 also has the toothed blades avalable, for some really wicked grain. I would seriously reccomend this plane as it is quite the multi-tasker. The extra weight, length, and precision would destroy any competion from my stanley #4 and the low angle makes it useful on it's side too. This one plane by itself is a great tool, add some extra blades sharpened for diffrent tasks and you won't put it down.

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The one thing that everyone seems to be ignoring here is the feel of each company's tool to YOU. Both LN and LV are superb tool makers and the tools will perform fabulously out of the box but you have to try them in YOUR hands to see what works best. If it doesn't feel good you will not use it for long and, with either of these guys, you're looking at a lot of money. Like many others, I have planes, saws and chisels from both LN and LV. Usually, I prefer the LN plane totes as they fit my hands better. I don't know why, they just do so most of my bench planes are LN. Given that, I chose a Veritas Scrub Plane because that seemed to fit my hand better. With shoulder planes, I prefer Lee Valley's design even though I do own a LN medium shoulder plane--the LV one just feels better for some reason.

Now I am lucking in having a Lee Valley store where I live and can pop by and try out their offerings. I own several LN bits of gear from trying them at trade shows so I have a very good idea of what they produce but I always try, if at all possible, to do a physical comparison before I lay down my cash. Several of my friends have LN and other tool manufacturer's tools so I will ask to try out something "new" to me. For instance, I chose an Adria Tools large tenon saw over the LV or LN offerings because I tried all three and the Adria fit my hand like a glove.

Enough rambling on, good luck Erik with your choices.

Cheers

John

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I don't see all these irons listed on Lie Nielson's website. Do you use other brand irons or grind your own bevel on the Lie Nielson ones?

From their website:

The blade is shipped with a 25° flat bevel. Using higher angles up to 40° gives excellent results on difficult grain. This can easily be done by honing a small secondary bevel at the higher angle. An extra blade on hand prepared this way is very handy.

I tried searching around a bit and can't find a description of a regular versus knuckle-joint lever cap. What's the difference?

A Stanley 65 type plane has a knuckle cap. To secure the blade you slip the cap under a screw and push it down. It acts like a spring/cam mechanism to keep the blade secure. The Stanley 60 1/2 has a cap that secures with a cam. Lots of LN and LV have a cap with a screw that secures the blade with a sort of lever action. They all work, I just like the 60 1/2 type better. Lots of people adore the knuckle cap because it's quick and initially less fiddly. I don't because for me it's like a plane with a comical, harmless bear trap on it that could pop at any moment. Google "Patrick's Blood and Gore" and check out all the types. Another you may want to look at is a 9 1/2 or that style. I also have a small, very simple inexpensive one I use all the time for carpentry projects around the house around windows and doors.

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I'm in the same dilema as yourself, Erik. So I'm taking in the good advise found here. I've also seen similar discussions on other forums (I'm a great lurker), and the consensus seems to be that bigger bevel up planes are more pragmatic. Multiple blades, with differing secondary bevels (they're almost always 25° primary bevel) is cheaper than multiple planes. I've also seen (videos) that a slightly cambered edge has some real advantages too (but not necessarily for shooting).

Over on the UKworkshop forum, Alice Frampton (aka Alf) keeps an interesting list of reviews http://www.ukworksho...inks-t7777.html - although it might seem lacking on the Lie-Nielsen side, she wrote most of the Veritas reviews, frequently comparing them with their Lie-Nielsen conterparts. She's very thorough, the Veritas low angle Jack, for example: http://www.ukworksho...pic.php?p=23326

HTH

John

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I'll echo JohnnyVee's suggestion of trying them out to see which feels better to you . We can read till we're bursting with information but nothing takes the place of that hands on feel. Maybe you can hook up with some fellow woodworkers in your area to get some first hand experience with them . If your in my area your more then welcome to come over and try what I have out .

LN does hand tool events through out the country , you can test the entire lineup till your hearts content . LV makes the rounds in the US at woodworking shows . You best bet like I said is a fellow woodworker close by.

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LN does hand tool events through out the country , you can test the entire lineup till your hearts content . LV makes the rounds in the US at woodworking shows . You best bet like I said is a fellow woodworker close by.

Good suggestion. Anyone out there live in the Bay Area and own any of these planes? Hit me up, I'd love to come check them out.

Thanks,

Erik

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Erik,

While the feel is important, I find that the plane best fitted to my hand is the one which had a broken tote, requiring me to custom-shape one. I like the tote a bit wider and really got to shape it how I like. My point is that the feel of the tote can (or should?) be changed. However, the overall feel and balance of the plane can't be changed. And there really isn't much value in a corrugated sole. It's just different. Also, it's something else to get caught on an edge, etc.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Has anyone used the Veritas Low angle block plane with the knob and rear handle as a #3 smoothing plane? How does that work? Do you just change out the 25 degree blade for a higher angle? I have been thinking about this combo set over a low angle block and #4 smoothing plane for a while but obviously there are always trade offs.

Since Erik was asking about the Veritas low angle block and the Lie-Nielsen #4 smoothing plane, I just figured I'd ask...

-Jim

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Has anyone used the Veritas Low angle block plane with the knob and rear handle as a #3 smoothing plane? How does that work? Do you just change out the 25 degree blade for a higher angle? I have been thinking about this combo set over a low angle block and #4 smoothing plane for a while but obviously there are always trade offs.

Since Erik was asking about the Veritas low angle block and the Lie-Nielsen #4 smoothing plane, I just figured I'd ask...

-Jim

I haven't, but send Matt Vanderlist an email or check out his podcast. He did a quick review of one in there somewhere. All hail the PodFather!

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  • 1 month later...

I held off on getting any plane's till this weekend's Lie Nielson show in Oakland. Had a great time playing with all their tools. Walked away with a #60 1/2 block plane, a #62 low angle jack, and the #8 jointer. Man that #8 is a hefty thing of beauty! I was able to take the block plane home but the jack and jointer are on order. Waiting not so patiently till those come in.

Cheers,

Erik

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I held off on getting any plane's till this weekend's Lie Nielson show in Oakland. Had a great time playing with all their tools. Walked away with a #60 1/2 block plane, a #62 low angle jack, and the #8 jointer. Man that #8 is a hefty thing of beauty! I was able to take the block plane home but the jack and jointer are on order. Waiting not so patiently till those come in.

Cheers,

Erik

Wow, good deal. I'd love to try any/all of those. Lie-Nielsen has a TBA by the upcoming show in NJ. I've been checking impatiently to see where it will end up being.

Question, was there any special pricing at the show? I've read some people saying yes and other saying no.

Congrats on the new tools. Don't forget the pics and review when they arrive :)

-Jim

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Question, was there any special pricing at the show? I've read some people saying yes and other saying no.

There was no special pricing at the Oakland show. They did offer free shipping on planes they didn't have in stock as well as giving out a free DVD of your choice from their catalog with purchase. Since I was indecisive about the #8 and went back and ordered it the second day of the show I made off with two DVDs (Schwarz' "Building Furniture with Hand Planes" and "The Workbench: How to Design or Modify a Bench for Efficient Use")

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