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Lie Nielson Joinery Floats

A float is a tool similar to a rasp, but it cuts more aggressively, and you can sharpen it with a triangular file when it dulls. We’ve covered Lie-Nielson’s Planemakers’ Floats on Toolmonger before — now they offer a new line of joinery floats more suited for cabinet-making and furniture-building.

Their 1″-wide face floats will accurately trim tenons, tongues, and other large surfaces. These face floats feature a cranked-neck handle for trimming recessed surfaces, and they’re available in either pull or push stroke.

Mortise floats square up the ends of mortises. Lie-Nielson sells 1/4″-thick-bodied mortise floats that cut on the push stroke in five sizes: 1/2″, 3/8″, 5/16″, 1/4″, and 1/8″ wide.

Cheek floats work in tight areas, such as mortise cheeks. They’re 1″ wide at the widest point, and they taper away from the handle. They’re available in either push or pull stroke.

Joinery Float Types

Lie-Nielson makes all their floats from S-7 tool steel and hardens them to RC 50-52. All Lie-Nielson’s joinery floats except the face floats will run you $50. The face floats are a little more expensive at $60.

Joinery Floats [Lie-Nielson]


One Response to Float Like A Plane, Sting Like A Chisel

  1. Fred says:

    Floats are nothing new – but Lie-Nielsen may have re-introduced them to the plane-maker’s market. I heard somewhere that their introduction had some connection to Clark & Williams who make nifty wooden planes here in the USA.

    Other types of floats were long ago used to prepare soft metals (e.g. bearing babbit) for final scraping. Heller-NuCut (Simonds) made a line called Vixen Files with curved teeth. More recently, curved tooth files may still be available from Sandvik.

    A step down from a float are pattern-maker rasps (Nicholson still makes these) and random tooth rasps like those once made by the French Company Auriou (recently out of business after 150 years of operation). These leave fairly nice surfaces and complement a sharp chisel and block plane for doing fine adjustments and fitting work. We find that a little hand-tool work often beats out setting ups a power tool to do the same thing.

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