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Yesterday we featured a product that can turn your a chisel into a plane; today we’ll show you a plane that you might use in some of the same operations where you’d use a chisel, like removing glue or trimming plugs. It also works well at trimming box and dovetail joints flush and cleaning up rabbets. You don’t want to use this plane like you would a normal plane though, because there’s no support in front of the blade.

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On Friday, Jan. 8, I went up to Fine Lumber & Plywood in Austin to attend a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event. it was a bit brisk — actually damn cold — for central Texas, but the Fine Lumber folks had set up heaters in their warehouse for the show, and it wasn’t too bad inside. Attendance on this Friday afternoon was light — due to the cold? — so it was easy to talk to other attendees, factory reps, and woodworking experts there.

I managed to get out without buying anything, but it was lots of fun getting a chance to try various Lie-Nielsen planes (they brought several as you can see in the picture above) with instructions and demonstrations by factory reps. I really liked getting long, almost transparent, curls off hardwood with a finely-tuned plane.

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Sean previously covered the Veritas twin screw vise with a chain drive here at TM. Evidently Lie-Nielsen thought it was such a good idea they produced their own chain drive vise. The concept behind both vises is simple: make sure the large jaw closes parallel by turning both screws the same amount.

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Here’s a free chance for anyone in the Wayne, NJ, area to drool and paw over Lie Nielsen’s finest hand tools and planes on June 26 & 27, 2009. Oh, and there’s interactive stuff there too. Did we mention the Lie-Nielson hand tools?

The LN folks have demos going all day at two interactive stations designed to help you learn sharpening and hand plane techniques while playing with the very best tools they have to offer — which as hand planes go, aren’t shabby at all. We find these demos are a great place to learn a few quick skills and pick the brains of the people in the know. It also goes without saying that at the show you will be able to purchase almost anything Lie-Nielsen makes.

Admission to the event is free, but be careful — these shows are a lot like a ghetto-style crack dealer. They entice you with the free product samples and no cover because they know once tool fanatics smell new tools they gotcha. Stay strong or leave the plastic at home if you’re weak/broke like me. 

Check the site for details and directions.

Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event [Site Details]


I can’t imagine a time when I would lose my mind enough to consider spending $85 on a cross-peen hammer — in fact, I have people standing by, ready to smack me in the head should I attempt such a maneuver. That said, these Lie-Nielsen hammers look good.

As you can see from the tool porn picture above, they all sport beautiful cherry handles and either brass, A-2 steel, or hardened A-2 steel heads. Lie-Nielsen says they’re good for tacks, brads, and fine blade adjustments on your planes. Personally, if I’m paying just shy of $100 for a tack hammer, it had better have zombie-slaying magic or be able to summon the power of Zeus or something.

If not, I’m sticking with my cheapo tack hammer and small ball-peen hammer which put together don’t total $25.

Cross-Peen Hammers [Lie-Nielsen]
Street Pricing [Google]


This odd-shaped chisel with two blades rotated 90˚ to each other allows you to cut square-sided mortises in tight places you’d never be able to reach with a conventional chisel.

Chris Becksvoort designed this modern reproduction of the traditional drawer lock chisel, and Lie-Nielsen manufactures it with 0-1 tool steel and precision-grinds it here in the USA.

You’ll pay $75 for a pair of these chisels.  We’re not sure why Lie-Nielsen sells these chisels in a set of two — from the picture we can’t see much difference between ’em.  Maybe somebody can give us a clue in the comments.

Drawer Lock Chisel [Lie-Nielsen]

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Not every woodworker needs a set of fishtail chisels in their shop, but if you’ve ever wondered how to clean out the back corners of dovetails or other recesses, you might want to take a look at these tools.  So named for the chisel head’s similarity to a stylized fishtail, the shape allows you to get into acute corners on either side of the cutting edge.

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Justin from North Carolina wrote in and asked us, “What’s the cheapest way to get a few good, adjustable bench planes without awakening the rage of my significant other because I spent a huge wad of cash.”  Well, Justin, that depends greatly on which tools you consider “good” and how much cash you can throw at them.

Construction, materials, and adjustability largely determine how much a plane will go for.  You can buy a cheap non-adjustable plane for a few bucks.  A fully adjustable high rig, like the Lie-Nielsen pictured above, can run you $300 a pop, which’ll probably lead to the rage you spoke of earlier.

In short, you’ll probably have to make some trade-offs.  If you just want something that’ll work, any number of planes will do; but if you really need the Full Monty (something like the old Stanley Bedrock) you might have to save a while.  Off the tops of our heads we can’t think of any that are super-solid AND cheap — but the Toolmonger readership might be able to help.

Do you know of any planes out there that could fit Justin’s bill?  Let us know in comments.

No. 4 Bench Plane [Lie-Nielsen]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


Lie-Nielsen fans are going to be stoked about the upcoming Hand Tool Event that’s going down December 5-6, 2008 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA.  You can get your hands on some Lie-Nielsen gear and hone your skills at some of the activities they’ll have going throughout the event.

The Lie-Nielsen site says there’ll be a ton of different types of hand tools you can play with, and most likely you’ll be able to purchase anything you have your heart set on — it is a show, after all.  Even if you don’t take home a new tool, the demos and interactive stations’ll help you learn techniques to save time and build better projects, which isn’t a bad deal either.

2008 Show Schedule [Lie-Nielsen]


For an uber-slick way to differentiate your latest wood project, try adding some sweet-looking inlay. If you’re clueless on where to start and how to make it work Lie-Nielsen offers an expensive but complete set to get you going.

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