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Thread: Newbie Needs Help Picking Out L-N Block Plane

  1. The point about sharpening is a good one. If you are going to use edge tools (i.e., plane irons and chisels, for example) you must develop sharpening skills.

    Now, that being said, and others may disagree, one can get infected with the "perfect edge syndrome" which while bringing its own rewards, IMHO detracts from the primary purpose of an edge tool, which is working wood.

    I started with jigs, worried about precise angles, fretted over how much of a micro bevel, etc. until I finally went freehand, and never looked back. Once the initial bevel is set, I now just sharpen "good enuf" for what I am doing.

    My recommendation is to get yourself one of those $12 sharpening guides, a piece of thick glass (or tablesaw top) and various grits of wet dry sandpaper (the higher grits, 2k and 4k, etc.) you can get in an auto supply shop. Google scary sharp and follow the directions. Later on you can debate the merits of oilstone versus waterstone versus DMT, but in the meantime you will have more than good enuf sharp tools and as a bonus you will have made something out of wood.

    As far as the plane, LN, LV, either sells a quality low angle block that will serve you very well. For that matter, an older Stanley properly fettled will give you 95% of a LN (and folks may also disagree with me about that, but opinions are like bellybuttons, everybody's got one).

    Good luck. RN

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Portland Oregon
    I know this is an old thread, but it is a Goldie. Just wanted to say I read Derek’s review at the link on page one, and “Many thanks!” for that. I’m revisiting LV now.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Columbus, Ohio, USA

    Sharpening Tools

    I am not trying to turn this into a sharpening thread, but you said that you have nothing.

    My first hand plane was a Lie Nielsen No. 4 because I knew that I could use it out of the box; and it was the correct plane for the job that I needed to do.

    You do NOT need to spend a lot of money to be sharpening. You can sharpen with sandpaper on a flat surface; I use a flat granite block but many use thick glass. When I first saw the method it was called "scary sharp". Your hardest bit will be to get the angle right so you might need an angle guide to hold your blade.

    In a perfect world, you will find someone near you who can help you out and let you try a few things before you spend money. At least one person shows up at my house to get his tools sharp because I have lots of sharpening gear. If you lived closer

    And people have been sharpening free hand for years. I am not good at it unless I have a concave bevel, so that is how I do it because then I just go by free hand. When it is not sharp and you need help, just be sure to ask.

  4. #34
    Hey, you got a lot of good advice here,

    I just wanted to add one small thing.
    I own the LN #60 1/2. it is a beautiful plane and very comfortable to use. I think that almost universally everyone agrees that at least for ergonomics, LA is more comfortable when you use a block plane one handed.

    Lee valley has a really interesting chamfer jig that goes on their LA block planes. I never used it but I heard good things. it isn't that I'm willing to give up my LN for the LV so much as now I am tempted to own 2 block planes !
    I have tools from both makers and I have yet to regret any. I think that the LV might be slightly more versatile and I know that it come with a PMV-11 blade. much easier to sharpen

    Keep in mind that I am relatively new at this myself.

    have fun

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Itapevi, SP - Brazil

    Not exactly, IMO...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Howard View Post


    I actually went with the 60 1/2 R (rabbet) plane. I figured that it could do all of the jobs a standard block plane could do, plus the extra functionality that a rabbet plane gives you. I haven't been disappointed with it, and it is my go to block plane.

    Hope this helps some.
    I do not think "R" model can do all functions a "regular" LN 60 1/2 can do:

    1. Regular 60 1/2 can be used with a shooting board. R model doesn't. It was a severe handicap for my use

    2. R model are very prone to cut your hand and fingers according to advice I received here in this forum from some experts on theme

    I went to LN 60 1/2 "conventional" as my first plane. I loved it and motivated me for my second one, LN Jack plane, basically a bigger version from the 60 1/2.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Oakland, CA

    Such a fantastic tool! It seems like some people prefer the fit of LV or Veritas. If you're buying your first plane it's worth trying both to see which feels better to you.

  7. #37
    I have the 102, 60 1/2, and the 140 skew LN blocks. The 102 just falls to hand so easily and fits in a pouch/pocket that it gets used more. The 60 can do really fine work and is more substantial in the hand. The 140 is a special purpose unit for me and doesn’t get a lot of use. If I was going with one it wold be the 60 1/2. It just does more for me. I have gone the Rob Colman sharpening way and am very pleased with the results. I’d suggest you watch his videos. Planes that are not really sharp are basically hammers. Having used enough of them that way I know that is correct. The first time I got my LN 62 sharp it was a revelation. Thinking back on previous attempts all I can do is say, “Ah, ya dope…”

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Frederick View Post
    Planes that are not really sharp are basically hammers. Having used enough of them that way I know that is correct. The first time I got my LN 62 sharp it was a revelation. Thinking back on previous attempts all I can do is say, “Ah, ya dope…”
    As Rob Luter says, "Sharp solves all manner of problems."

    Learning about sharpness techniques continues for most people over a long time. There are many different methods, each with many outspoken advocate for each.

    They all have good points to various degrees.

    Find what works for you while staying open to new ideas.

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Northern California
    I thought I knew what sharp was until I discovered the Unicorn method (thanks Winston!). Now my dad’s old plastic handled Stanley chisels perform every bit as well as my Lie Nielsens. I’ve begun the process of carefully applying this method to my plane blades as well. Looking forward to producing nearly invisible ribbons of wood shavings.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    It's funny, but I was introduced to the "Unicorn Method" in about 1976 in high school woodshop. We used it to sharpen lathe tools. With a rag wheel buffer and some Tripoli buffing compound you could put an edge on a gouge that would make hard maple turn like it was soap. I've never tried it on a plane iron.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

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