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Floats are traditional tools used to cut, flatten, and smooth or “float” the surfaces of a wooden plane.  Generally floats are craftsman-made and very personal in their construction, but Lie Nielson offers a full range of craftsman-designed float tools. 

The Lie Nielson floats are constructed of S-7 tool steel and have study maple handles.  They’re handy for all sorts of woodworking projects around the shop besides plane making.  They work a lot like a file but they are generally wider and shaped to various points to aid in making surfaces conform to a particular shape.  A cheek float, for instance, has a broad, flat wedge shape that allows easy sizing of a mortise to match standardized wedges. 

These are seriously sweet if you plan on doing anything wood-related that involves flattening, chamfering, or smoothing flat and curved surfaces.

And Lie Nielson’s tools are almost always on my top-10-cool-things-Sean-would-like-to-have-but-can’t-afford-right-now list.

Street pricing starts at $40.

Floats [Lie Nielson]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


6 Responses to Finds: Planemakers’ Floats

  1. nrChris says:

    Thanks for pointing out another gap in my toolset.

    But seriously, my father uses floats and he has gotten CNC machine quality on his joints as a result. (Also, he has saved my butt on a few things with his float set.) They also seem to be a lot easier than a traditional file or plane. Not a super top priority for me as a beginner to intermediate craftsman, but definitely on the list.

  2. Eli says:

    Yep, they’re on my list. I definitely want tool to make tool (ug)

  3. Paul says:

    OK I got to ask. How are tools selected that end up getting written about in this blog anyways? I mean do you guys keep a monkey in a darkened closet with a dartboard or something? There’s got to be some kind of a super secret highly scientific process going on here that I’ll never divine. I mean this post here appears to me to be some sort of a tool boutique outfit trying to hawk $50 files to me.

    I think the monkey in the dark closet needs a bit of recalibrating if the choices I have seen lately are any indication of selection process accuracy. $5 pegboard hooks anyone?

    I got an idea. Why not a la the recent desert island post just ask the readers what their top five tools are on all of their lists (you know we all have lists). Then collate the data from that, and post articles about the top returns? Or would that entail teaching the monkey to read and just be considered too much work?

    What I’m saying here is this site is getting just far enough out of touch with this constituent here at least as to be eligible to run for political office or something. Information comes in two varieties, useful and useless. Useless information is of no value, and is ultimately just a waste of time.

    • Stephen says:

      I want to make molding planes, a search for the technique described the necessary tools, including floats, which are different from files in many ways. I am glad tool monger is helping me learn more.

      If your not interested, move on to something else.

      I want to make planes, should I complain if the site has info about, say, sheet metal snips and breaks? That’s for sombody else and I will be glad it’s there for them.

    • Stephen DeJong says:

      I want to make planes, so I will need floats. Here I found floats, so that’s great. Should I not learn about floats because you don’t need them?

  4. Roscoe says:

    For those of us who already own a hammer, hatchet, and lots of duct tape, thanks for posting about a wide variety of tools, including specialty tools, that would be hard to find information on otherwise. I often don’t have much use for some of the automotive tools, regardless of price, but appreciate seeing them for the sake of my own edification almost as much as the wood tools I personally love.

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