Lie Nielsen No. 4 Bronze Bench Plane

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Lie-Nielsen Small Bronze Spokeshave

Overall Length: 6 3/4"
Blade Width: 1 3/8"
Sole: Curved
Price: $75
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Lie Nielsen Small Bronze Spokeshave Review

I used to always look at this diminutive spokeshave and wonder what the heck could this be used for. After trying one at a local class I must admit I'm a convert.

This was Lie-Nielsen's first spokeshave design. It is designed after an old Edward Preston and Sons spokeshave that is no longer made.

Spokeshave Materials
This tool is made from manganese bronze. That includes the body, cap and the thumbscrews. This material is chosen for its strength, weight and beauty. Yes, I said beauty. While many tool users won't admit to purchasing tools because they look good, with this spokeshave it's just hard to avoid. If you are uncomfortable admitting to buying a tool with this much "bling", I suggest you justify it by saying that the shiny bronze is easier to find in your dirty shop.

The sole of this spokeshave is curved to a 1 1/2" radius. That is considerably tighter than the Boggs Spokeshave and allows for very tight inside curves. The handles are formed by essentially metal hoops. These are quite comfortable for the type of work expected of the tool.

The 1 3/8" wide blade is made from an 1/8" inch thick cryogenically treated A-2 blade. Given the small size of the plane, the blade thickness seems to be more than adequate to keep chatter away from this tool. The blade is sharpened to a 25 degree bevel angle and it is bedded at 40 degrees. The blade is oriented bevel down as in most metal spokeshaves. Right out of the box this blade is sharp enough to use but could use some very light honing.

Using the Spokeshave
This spokeshave is meant only for more precise work. The tight radius of the curve allows the user to cut inside curves that would be impossible to do with larger spokeshaves. This comes in very handy when working on small projects. The mouth opening on this spokeshave is almost unnoticeable. This helps control chip out by supporting the front of the wood during a cut. However, this does require you to keep the cutting depth very small. Any attempt to get greedy and hog off some wood will quickly be met with a clogged mouth. This is a little frustrating at first, but remember this is not for hogging, this is for delicate work. Use another spokeshave or a drawknife first if you want to hog off some wood.

This is a great little plane for detail work. Like other specialized tools, it is terrible at tasks it was not designed to do. However, if you do small detail work with tight or gentle curves than this is a great tool for the job. I used this on my last bandsaw box project with great success.

Overall Rating 6 out of 6.

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