Doug Carlson

Lie Nielsen Skewed Block Plane

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I ordered this plane to help as I am currently trying to learn to cut dovetails by hand. 

here are my initial thoughts on this plane specifically, and a few comparative thoughts on how it compares to the regular LN low Angle Black Plane.  

The fit and finish, and overall quality, are in line with what I have come to expect from Lie Nielsen. Flawless. The blade is delivered sharp. And it’s a beautiful tool to look at.

Features:

  • The plane has an adjustable and removable fence for consistency when used for rabbeting.
  • It contains a removable side piece so it can function as a shoulder plane – where the blade comes all the way to the edge of the plane.
  • You can order this plane with the removable side plate on the right, or left side of the plane.
  • It also contains a nicker. This round cutter has a flat portion, which allows you to choose whether or not you want to use it. I really like this feature. It makes a scoring cut ahead of the blade, giving you a crisp shoulder on a rabbet.

 

Here are some differences between this and the regular LN low Angle Black Plane:

SIZE

  • The Skew plane is larger at 6-7/8” x 1-7/8”, 2.15lbs
  • The regular LN low Angle Black Plane is 6-1/4” x 1-3/4”, 1.5 lbs

MATERIAL

  • The sole of the skew plane is manganese bronze – making it heavier than the LABP -  2.15lbs vs 1.5 lbs, respectively. It also will not rust.
  • The front nob on the skew is made of cherry. It is brass on the LABP.

FUNCTION

  • There is no adjustable mouth on the skew plane. The size of the mouth opening can only be controlled/manipulated by advance or retracting the blade.

FEATURES

  • The Skew plane comes with an adjustable, removable fence and a removable side plate. The Low Angle plane does not have either of these.
  • The adjustable fence can be used as-is, or you can add a wooden jaw to it to increase it's length and effectiveness - much like the miter gauge on your table saw.

Performance:

So far the performance has been superb. I am able to cut nice, consistent rabbets with very little effort. As mentioned, the nicker scores ahead of the blade, which results in a nice, crisp shoulder on the rabbet.

On a shoulder plane, I will set the plane on its side, and release the tension. Gravity will bring it down to the benchtop, where I can re-tension, and the result is the side of the blade is perfectly aligned with the side of the plane. With the skew plane, this method is a little bit fussier, as you have to keep the blade parallel to the mouth opening. So setting the blade requires a little more attention than it does on a shoulder plane.

Sharpening:

I need to hone the blade. I haven't done this yet, and will attempt to do so in the next few days. Because of the 12* skew, I cannot simply load it into a sharpening jig as I do with traditional plane irons. I haven’t put a lot of thought into sharpening this yet. I may end up doing it on the Tormek, as that has a jig for skew chisels. Aside from that I will either have to freehand it, or buy or create a jig if I want to sharpen by hand.  

Choose wisely:

Unless you can afford to order both the Right and Left versions of this plane right off the bat, you will have to make a decision on which way you’re going to go - RIGHT or LEFT. 

I am right-handed, so I ordered the LEFT version. This means that the side plate is removable on the left side of the plane (or the ‘thumb’ side as it sits in your hand and you are looking down at it).

I would suggest that you make a list of things you plan on doing with this plane, and go through each item on that list and ask yourself “If I am using it in this way, which side of the pane do I need to be able to remove the side plate from?”

  • Another thing that might help you make the right decision here is when you use this plane – will your workpiece be laying horizontal on your bench, or vertical in a vise? And given that initial orientation, is the workpiece parallel to the bench top, or perpendicular?

Again, if you go through and simulate the ways you will use this plane and count how many situations call for the right side vs the left side being removable, you should be able to arrive at the correct option to order pretty easily.

Overall I absolutely recommend this plane to anyone who is considering it. Lie Nielsen has a solid reputation for delivering quality, and this plane is no exception.  

 

skewed_block_plane.jpg

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I have the LN 140 as well and it's my go to for any tenon work. Cleaning up tenon cheeks with it offers a good smooth cut and doesn't blow out the back side like  a strait cut plane will. I think for rabbets and tenon cheeks this is a far better plane than a shoulder plane as it's easier to hold this guy flat. Shoulder planes get unstable unless you are working on the shoulder of a tenon. For shoulder work i still have excellent results just using a sharp chisel.

Using a plane like this for rabbets doesn't seem like it's best use. It will work ok for larger rabbets but for small ones it's a lot of plane hanging over the edge. Unless someone works with a lot of wide rabbets i don't see the point in getting the alternate skew. Pick the skew that works with your dominant hand and that's the plane you will almost always use.

For sharpening i just free hand the iron. It needs to be sharp but it's not a smoothing plane and almost every surface it's cutting will be glued on or covered with something.

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@Chestnut thx for lending your opinion. Good stuff as usual. The last few m&t projects I've used a bullnose rabbet plane to fit the tenons. I'll look fwd to using this for that purpose the next time I cut that joint.

I'll respectfully disagree with you on suitability for cutting rabbets. That's the primary purpose that drove by decision to buy this plane and so far at least, the fence makes it ideally suited for the task. Without it, I'd have clamp a straight edge across the work piece -a process I try to avoid if at possible because of slippage and general putsiness. 

Granted the rabbets I've been cutting have been in the 3/8-1/2" range, so they're not exactly tiny. Just my opinion though.

For sharpening, I picked up the veritas skew registration jig for the mkii. Good points about the ultimate visibility. The rabbets I've been cutting have been in the 1/32" range so I want to keep this sharp as can be. I've started dabbling in free hand sharpening, but Im not comfortable enough to have to rely on it yet. 

Take care, sir

DC

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On 8/9/2019 at 6:19 PM, Doug Carlson said:

I'll respectfully disagree with you on suitability for cutting rabbets. That's the primary purpose that drove by decision to buy this plane and so far at least, the fence makes it ideally suited for the task. Without it, I'd have clamp a straight edge across the work piece -a process I try to avoid if at possible because of slippage and general putsiness

It does the job great but once you tumble down the rabbet hole of specialty planes i think a dedicated rabbet plane with a fence might work a hare better.

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I have that plane and I like it. It does remove a lot of material with each pass but it has a tendency to dig, especially when cutting with the grain. I use my shoulder planes to even things up every 3 or 4 passes of the rabbet plane.

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