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Thread: Complete set of Lie Nielsen bench planes

  1. #1

    Complete set of Lie Nielsen bench planes

    Some aficionados here haunt the antique auction sites. Some buy premium brands, either Lie-Nielsen or Veritas. Some buy functional knock-offs, like Wood River. Some buy seriously inexpensive hard to tune brands. I fell in with Lie-Nielsen 20 years ago and have been satisfied with the quality overall. So the question I want to discuss is the “complete set”. What do you consider to be the complete set of whatever camp of tools you adhere to? I am a 2, 5 1/2, and 8 short of a complete set of LN bench planes. I need 2 or 3 block planes for a similar complete set, maybe 2 joinery planes. I need a smoother and a jointer from the bevel up group. After a while, it is like coin or stamp collecting, filling out the set. Do you succumb to the collection-addiction or do you claim some super power?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    I’m susceptible to collecting.

    But you know I use my tools daily also to make a living. Some more than others.

    Hand tools namely planes I have resisted collecting. The collector in me feels much like you do. Tormented to not round out what I have. Truth be told I use the #4 smoother the most the the socket head chisels. Believe it or not they are my beaters. We’ll beaters kept perfectly sharp I’ll also use for semi risky tasks or let travel out of the shop.

    The LN stuff is great as good as it needs to be and highly functional. I also have a number of Japanese tools, planes, nomi hammers and some vesper stuff. None leaves my home shop other than the vesper squares. I keep them all razor sharp for when you need something extra sharp and extra perfect and don’t wanna stop to sharpen.

    I bet someday I have one of everything LN but probably not as being a machine woodworker I’m never gonna use a jack plane.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    Some aficionados here haunt the antique auction sites. Some buy premium brands, either Lie-Nielsen or Veritas. Some buy functional knock-offs, like Wood River. Some buy seriously inexpensive hard to tune brands. I fell in with Lie-Nielsen 20 years ago and have been satisfied with the quality overall. So the question I want to discuss is the “complete set”. What do you consider to be the complete set of whatever camp of tools you adhere to? I am a 2, 5 1/2, and 8 short of a complete set of LN bench planes. I need 2 or 3 block planes for a similar complete set, maybe 2 joinery planes. I need a smoother and a jointer from the bevel up group. After a while, it is like coin or stamp collecting, filling out the set. Do you succumb to the collection-addiction or do you claim some super power?

  3. #3
    I also have/have had a problem with slowly acquiring more handplanes than I need. A mix of Lie Nielsen and Veritas as well as HNT Gordon stuff like hollows and rounds, side-rebate, snipe-bill, etc - planes not available as LN or LV. I use most of them but could get away with a lesser number.

    I have gone through periods of mild anxiety about the appropriateness of owning so many and at first I thought it was due to the high cost / monetary investment. Upon deep reflection I think the real reason I felt a bit embarrassed to buy more was that there is a real cost to the planet of utilising more scarce natural resources than required, which has very little to do with the arbitrary monetary cost. I realised that to minimise my footprint I should; try to limit my holdings, take very good care of what I do own so it never has to be replaced and can be passed on to someone else in the future (thus not being consumed and wasting the resourced to make it), and buy high quality that lasts much longer and has a lower cost to the planet than cheap tools that need to be replaced more often. For example the real cost of a $20- hardware store saw may be the same as a $500- badaxe 'lifetime' saw that I can also resharpen and will be meticulously looked after.

    I guess my point is, even if I can monetarily afford it, I will try to resist buying more. If I do, then I will look after whatever I get and sell/pass it on when I no longer want it - thus effectively renting the resources not consuming them.

    Sorry I didn't mean to preach and I am certainly guilty of over-indulging in tools. I do try to minimise my impact in other, more resource intensive, areas like cars, fuel, flying, meat, clothes etc though. No judgement on anyone else whatsoever - I'd be an absolute hipocrite if I did.

    Oh, and the addiction is real. I do want to add a 4 1/2 or 3 despite having a perfectly good LN bronze 4 (although I think i'd prefer an iron). I will try to resist. I certainly don't think anyone needs the set from a functional perspective. I think you only 'need' 1 smoother, maybe a second tuned for final smoothing or figured timber, 1 jack (5 or 5 1/2) and 1 jointer (7 or 8), and a block plane, maybe a bench rebate. Then a large shoulder, plow, skew rebate, router, T&G (pair) and maybe a dado plane. If doing moulding then also hollows and rounds etc. So still quite a few lol, but not the whole set.

    Whatever you end up with, use them, enjoy them, look after them, and pass them on/sell them when you don't IMO.

    Cheers, Dom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
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    223
    I have been able to mostly resist, but I do hear the siren song. Mostly I have a beginner complete set of stuff and am only adding things as I need them for a specific task. But I also just picked up a really nice 5 1/2 Bailey that will be ready to go in maybe thirty minutes if I ever need a 5 1/2. I have a 5 and a 6, and a 4 1/2 but it was a really good price and it doesn't need much beyond wax and hone, and I haven't seen a single other 5 1/2 in Fairbanks before, so I am not immune. The 5 1/2 was a very good price on the local market for the small amount of work it will require. If I find a good deal on a 7 or 8 I will probably get it, but I don't need both and I am not looking for a resto project.

    If you can afford it without getting worried about being homeless before your 401k runs out, go ahead. If you do complete a set, maybe let your executor know to contact Jim Bode or Patrick Leach or similar before letting your collection go for a song at a posthumous yard sale. I am not the only man afraid my widow might sell off all my toys for what she thinks I paid for them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    There is an LN #2 currently listed in SMC Classifieds.

    It is more of a collector piece signed, numbered with rosewood handles.

    My 'accumulation' has been mostly Stanley/Bailey planes. My first LN plane was a #1 because of the price difference of an original Stanley/Bailey.

    Plane Wall.jpg

    All the sizes from a #1 through a #8 are there. There is also a #10-1/2 and a LN #62 plus block planes and over on the left there are molding planes. There has also been a drawer added on the left since this image was taken.

    There are a few more planes on a bench to the left in this image.

    It can be habit forming.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    1,574
    To me, a complete set is a kit that all get used and cover all the bases. Until a couple three years ago, I had an abundance of vintage planes and many that never got used. I found myself wanting occasionally, but for reasons of utility. I divested myself of most of them and assembled a proper user kit based on what I did with them. At this point:

    LN #102, LV #60 1/2, Stanley #3, LN #4 Bronze, LN #4 1/2, LN #62, Stanley #7, and a Veritas Shooting Plane. All get used regularly and no changes are planned for now other than maybe exchanging my Stanley #3 for a LN Bronze version.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  7. #7
    I have a complete set of #1 through #7, of various brands and ages. I have 2 block planes and several specialy planes. I'd like to own an LN #2 and an LN #4. But since I already have a perfectly functional "lesser brand" of each, so far, I have been able to resist. But I definitely understand the collector impulse.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Connecticut Shoreline
    Posts
    50
    I'm not really a collector. I've been an accumulator though, in the past. Just recently I've been thinning the herd down to what are the essentials, at least for me. I've moved my entire shop into a storage unit and set up a small room as a hand-tool-only shop in my new apartment. The first thing I decided to do is build a Dutch Tool Chest. As I build in, I bring from storage only the tools I need for each given operation, breaking down boards, surfacing, cutting to size, joinery, assembly and trimming, etc..

    For bench planes (so far) I've brought over a No. 4, (LN) No. 5 Stanley, and a No. 7 Stanley.

    For specialty planes I brought a Scrub (LV) 2 Block Planes- a Stanley 18 and a LN (102), a set of Matched Planes (T&G) by Clark and Williams, a large shoulder plane (LN) and a Stanley Router Plane.

    To me, for general case work that's pretty much all I'll need. Except for a Stanley 78 that I'll bring home soon for fielding panels.

    These are the planes that I'll store in the chest. The rest remain in storage. I have a pretty full set of Stanley bench planes still there, along with a lot of wooden planes and other specialty planes I bought while I was accumulating. I'll likely get rid a bunch of them eventually.

    DC

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    When you have only a path wide enough to enter, but not turn around - sell the extra stuff.

    When your bench becomes storage, because the shelves are full - sell the extra stuff.

    When you buy a duplicate of a tool you forgot you already owned - sell the extra stuff.

    A #4, jointer and 3/4" shoulder plane will manage most tasks on flat projects.

    I took a few basic training courses to discover what few tools are really needed. In that setting I met plenty of newbies with expensive kit they never actually used.

    This question often arises - it has been covered repeatedly in this forum.

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....ot-hand-planes

  10. #10
    For me, the bare minimum would be 4,5,7, low angle block, and a flat bottom spokeshave.

    Then, router and shoulder plane.

    I suppose it depends what you make a lot. I am slowly learning the virtues of a draw knife. I think it'd be higher on the pecking order if I could sharpen them easier.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    For me, the bare minimum would be 4,5,7, low angle block, and a flat bottom spokeshave.

    Then, router and shoulder plane.

    I suppose it depends what you make a lot. I am slowly learning the virtues of a draw knife. I think it'd be higher on the pecking order if I could sharpen them easier.
    Maybe look into the Galbert draw sharp. It makea sharpening a draw knife really quick and easy.

    Cheers, Dom

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    I took a few basic training courses to discover what few tools are really needed. In that setting I met plenty of newbies with expensive kit they never actually used.
    There are different trains of thought on this.

    The wisest may be to only buy the tools you need as you need them. This is especially kind to one's wallet and spousal relations.

    One that is kind of fun is to purchase every tool one can and try to avoid too many duplicates as long as one can see a logical use for it.

    If one is going to specialize in a particular field such as building chairs then their need for molding planes and dovetail saws is next to nonexistent.

    If one wants to build cabinets and picture frames they likely do not need a travisher or a scorp.

    My tendency is to purchase tools that will get used or can be sold at a profit. Though my tool selling hasn't been very active lately.

    Not too many of my tools go without being used.

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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Florida
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    I don’t think it’s a problem unless you’re one of those that freaks out at the idea of tossing the box. LOL

    i have 6 LN planes so far and a set of bench chisels and tossed all the boxes as when I bought them I planned to use them. I’d like a few more items but don’t feel the need for every plane. To each their own though.
    Last edited by Greg Parrish; 02-04-2020 at 4:11 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Michiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Parrish View Post
    I don’t think it’s a problem unless you’re one of those that freaks out at the idea of tossing the box. LOL

    i have 6 LN planes so far and a set of bench chisels and tossed all the boxes as when I bought them I planned to use them. I’d like a few more items but don’t feel the need for every plane. To each their own though.
    I keep all my boxes . If I ever have to move they'll make for great packing material.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    I keep all my boxes . If I ever have to move they'll make for great packing material.
    Rob, I know you’re not alone and I was only teasing you. I’m probably the minority for tossing mine but i do find it interesting how folks focus on the box for LN stuff. Guess some see resell value and others more practical needs like storage or moving. I simply didn’t have space to keep all my boxes.

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