Lie Nielsen No. 4 Bronze Bench Plane

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Lie-Nielsen Large Shoulder Plane

Body Material: Ductile Iron
Length: 8 1/4"
Cutter Width: 1 1/4"
Price: $225
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Wow, I'm not sure if this plane should be in my living room or my shop. This thing is a work of art. My wife doesn't exactly see eye to eye on the beauty of such a tool so mine sits on a shelf in my shop when not in use, not in living room. Hey, it looks better than most chachkas.

What makes this plane a work of art also makes this a great plane to use. The heavy ductile iron body is machined very flat and square. This works great when trimming a tenon or cleaning up a rabbet. The adjustable mouth allows the smallest shavings to be trimmed from the wood with much less risk of chip out. The adjustable mouth is a great example of the close tolerances of this plane. Although invisible on the photo there is a hairline about half an inch high on the front of the plane where the the tool slides to provide adjustment of the mouth. When I first purchased the plane I was confused how I was supposed to adjust the mouth because the fit of the two iron pieces is amazing.

The design of the plane should look somewhat familiar. It is based on Record 073 which in turn is based on a Preston shoulder plane. When something works there is no need to change it. The minor problem I have with the design is the hand position. I've never found a way to hold this plane that seems as natural as an old bench plane. I understand that a bench style tote would interfere with the usage of the plane so I suspect that there really isn't a practical way to improve upon it.

If I could only own 4 or 5 planes this would definitely be one of them. If you were to only own one or two this would not be the plane. However, if you cut lots of tenons there is no better way to trim .005" or less from a tenon cheek.

Overall Rating 5 out of 6.

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