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PostalTom -
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My next plane will probably be a smoothing plane, not right away, but hopefully not too far in the future.  I was looking at the Lie-Nielsen web site, and I noticed that their No. 4 Smoothing Plane is offered in both a bronze and an iron body version.  The bronze was $50 more.  So is there any advantage to bronze?  And if so, is that advantage of any significance to a hobbyist like me?  

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Tom, I have the LN No. 4 Bronze, it was a gift to me by a dear friend. I love it. Why do I love it? It just works beautifully, it sails through difficult grain and it has a great warmth and feel as I use it. The fact that the Bronze weighs more, for a smaller plane, is nice. Heft is important in a hand plane, especially when working with figured woods, the heft will carry you through the difficult grains with less hesitation.

Lie Nielsen also claims that they like to make their smaller planes in Bronze for that same reason, doing a little search on their website here is what I found:

 

Quote

2. Why do you make many of your tools out of Bronze?

Manganese Bronze is a very hard, strong alloy which wears very well, unlike brass and softer bronzes. We prefer this bronze to iron for small planes because it's heavier, it doesn't rust, won't crack if dropped and has wonderful warmth in the hand. We use iron when the extra weight is not welcome.

Source: FAQ's

 

Reading the above FAQ, I also notice they state when dropped, it won't crack, I had not even thought of that, it's a great feature IMHO. But using my Bronze No. 4, is a joy. I also have a Bronze No. 1 that was also a gift to me from a Wounded Warrior in appreciation for some work I performed for Warriors. It's a great plane as well, and I can only imagine if the No. 1 was made of cast iron, how light and insignificant it would feel in my hand, because it's bronze, it feels significant, and that weight translates to smoother planing IMHO again.

 

Tom, if you are strapped for cash, and could use that 50 extra bucks elsewhere, then by all means, use it elsewhere. But my attitude is, this is a once in a lifetime purchase, you'll have that plane as long as you live, and over the course of a lifetime, divided by 50 bucks, what's the big deal, and you are getting a slightly better plane, if for one fact you shell out the extra bucks, it would be that it doesn't crack and it does not rust, that alone is worth a 50 dollar lifetime insurance policy.

 

Will you notice the difference between the bronze and the iron, perhaps, if you had them side by side, but if you purchased the iron, and never picked up a bronze, you'd never know, and you'd never be the wiser, the iron will work well. It's just another one of those things, hey, if I can afford it, why not?

One great thing about LN hand planes, and any of the premier plane makers these days such as Clifton, if you ever had to for any reason, sell off your tools, those hand planes sell for nearly what you paid for them, years after. They really hold their value well.

 

Here are my lovelies. :)

LN No.4 and LN No.1

IMG_20190713_075651183.jpg

 

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17 hours ago, PostalTom said:

I don't want to try the cheap ones for fear that it might lead to a bad experience and I pass on a tool that would give me a lot of enjoyment. 

And that is exactly why many woodworkers pick up a hand plane, give it a whirl, have their first experience turn into a bad experience, and they hang it up forever. Mainly I'd say because they don't know how to use one, or the one they picked up was in bad shape, but often it's also because the plane is a piece of crap to begin with.

I used older hand planes when I was younger with average success, mainly average because I was never really taught how to tune one up. I hung it up for years, but then about 12 years ago, Matt Selier of WOOD Forums fame, introduced me to Lee Valley Veritas, and I picked up my very first high quality plane, a No. 4 1/2 Veritas Smoother, it came tuned, and ready to go out of the box, I followed the instructions it came with for blade set depth and tips etc, and the very first few swipes I took, it was a success, and I was hooked, all because my return first experience was a positive one, and the plane I used, showed me as an example what a fine plane felt like and how it should act. No doubt in my mind if I picked up another piece of crap plane, or a poorly tuned plane for my return experience, I'd have a much different shop today.

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So John, since you have experience with both the Lee Valley and the Lie-Nielsen planes, which one would you recommend for someone just starting down the hand tool road?  And for now, leave cost out of the discussion.

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3 hours ago, PostalTom said:

So John, since you have experience with both the Lee Valley and the Lie-Nielsen planes, which one would you recommend for someone just starting down the hand tool road?  And for now, leave cost out of the discussion.

I'm very partial to Lie Nielsen, for the traditional Stanley Bedrock style, tried and proven. The Veritas are great planes, but IMHO they are kind of too futuristic for me, a few more moving parts on the Veritas planes, and IMO the fit and finish of the LN's are incomparable, when I reach for the No. 4 I am going for my LN Bronze, always, my Veritas never gets used. Also the lateral adjuster on the Veritas feels small and delicate, unlike the robust style of the LN Bedrock. I cannot say for sure, but I do believe the LN's are heftier too, I like heft.

 

I have several Veritas's, the No. 4, the No. 7 Low Angle, and their low angle block. This discussion we are having here has prompted my mind to put those Veritas's up for sale and use the proceeds to help purchase LN's. I have made a commitment in my life to only own tools that I use, I am not a collector, I only want what I need, and nothing more, and that is also kind of aligning with a minimalist way of life I have started to adapt a year ago, acquire only what I need, and keep only what I'll use. No collections, I'm done with that mindset. That's just me.

 

Stay tuned folks for some Veritas planes in the classifieds!

 

I think one of the biggest things that turns me off from Veritas planes Tom, are all the moving parts they have developed for their designs, I just feel fewer parts, the better, and more reliable.

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9 hours ago, John Morris said:

And that is exactly why many woodworkers pick up a hand plane, give it a whirl, have their first experience turn into a bad experience, and they hang it up forever.

 

I think you are right John but it only take a little reading to learn how to tune up that cheap plane (ok cheaper or used) and make it a good plane and have a good experience with it. I have had good luck with older Stanleys but some I have changed the blade and that can make a huge difference. I have a Hock in one and Pinnacle in another and they perform excellently. So maybe sometime is is the sorry blade that is a problem.

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3 minutes ago, Gerald said:

I think you are right John but it only take a little reading to learn how to tune up that cheap plane (ok cheaper or used) and make it a good plane and have a good experience with it. I have had good luck with older Stanleys but some I have changed the blade and that can make a huge difference. I have a Hock in one and Pinnacle in another and they perform excellently. So maybe sometime is is the sorry blade that is a problem.

Most definitely, it's mainly innocent ignorance on the new users part, I like well tuned older Stanley's Gerald, they hum along just fine. At this point though they feel really light to me after using the LN or Veritas, when I pick up a Stanley and run it across a board, the dang thing nearly flies out of my hands! :lol:

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Honestly, all I see in a wood plane is that it is a holder for a blade. Why should I spend all that extra money for a blade holder? I am very satisfied with Stanley, Bailey, Craftsman, and several more different brands I use. I have found that they all do a good job for me. If I spent a bunch of money on an expensive brand, I would want to brag on them too.

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3 minutes ago, oldwoodie said:

Honestly, all I see in a wood plane is that it is a holder for a blade. Why should I spend all that extra money for a blade holder? I am very satisfied with Stanley, Bailey, Craftsman, and several more different brands I use. I have found that they all do a good job for me. If I spent a bunch of money on an expensive brand, I would want to brag on them too.

Woodie, every time this subject pops up you show up with the same statement, we been down this road with you at least 2 or three times. We get it, you don't like the new planes, ok, you made your point, here, again.

We enjoy our new planes, they are not expensive, we been down that road too, taking inflation into account, I did the numbers for you in a similar topic, the cost of a new plane today, is almost down to the penny the same as a new plane cost in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

This topic is about a couple guys who are chatting about their hand planes, that they enjoy, and yes they are new.

 

Bragging? Who is bragging, show me an example of where anyone on this board, period, is bragging about their new hand plane?

 

Thanks Woodie :)

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I guess there really isn't a reason to purchase a new table saw, ever, because the table saws made 80 yrs ago are just as good, after all, it's only a motor with an arbor that holds a blade, why spend all that money on a new one? Heck, why would anyone buy anything new, ever.

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31 minutes ago, John Morris said:

I guess there really isn't a reason to purchase a new table saw,

I dunno, if I ever win the lottery or a wealthy relative leaves me a large sum of money, I might buy a new one...Maybe.:)

 

I am enjoying reading how you guys have he various versions of planes and such.  And the rehab work Steve Newman and others have posted, excellent!  Really liked Herbs work with the mass production of masterpieces he ran awhile back.

 

Do I use them, umm no.  My wrist pins have spoken and they were not happy about that motion...at all.  :BangingHead:

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1 minute ago, Woodbutcherbynight said:

My wrist pins have spoken and they were not happy about that motion...at all.

ouch!

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15 hours ago, John Morris said:

Are we going to tell a man that he wasted his money buying his 2019 Pickup Truck

Well I would have Recommended a Toyota. :JawDrop:

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