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Thread: Help me prepare my new Lie Neilsen planes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    48

    Help me prepare my new Lie Neilsen planes

    So I have finally broke down and purchased two new planes I have been wanting for some time, both from Lie Nielsen:

    Low Angle Jack
    Rabbeting block

    For Christmas my MIL got me a LV shoulder plane and after trying to prepare the plane iron that came with it I posted a question about the MKII honing guide and what I had done to prepare that blade out of the box. Well to my surprise I received many comments in the thread about the fact that I undid much of the good work that LV did to prepare the blade before shipping it to me !!! In an effort to not repeat that again I would like to ask for suggestions on how you would prepare these two planes for their first use?

    Do I need to flatten the back?
    Do I need grind a primary bevel or just try to put a small secondary bevel only?
    Do I do nothing and use as is out of the box?

    Here is the sharpening equipment I have in my shop:

    300 Grit Diamond plate
    800 Grit Diamond plate
    1200 Grit Diamond plate
    LV MKII Honing guide including narrow blade holder
    Tormek T8 with just about all of the jig attachments
    scary sharp paper (various grits) and glass plate

    Thanks in advance for any suggestion you can give me

    TomD
    Last edited by Tom DiBiasio; 02-28-2020 at 7:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,462
    I have a similar set of planes and sharpening equipment. I would buy a cheap plane and practice. I found my LN planes worked pretty well out of the box.

    I would lightly flatten backs near edge. I just use a primary bevel only. I am not a big hand tool user so my advice just what works for me. There are many who take sharpening to the nth degree and get super sharp edges.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    7,242
    Hi Tom

    Do not touch the planes! Why does everyone want to do this before using them? Using any plane? Use it, then decide if it is not working optimally. In the case of your LN's, they should be fine with just a blade preparation.

    Now blades are another story. Why do people assume that a blade can be used out of the box? It cannot. Even blades from Lee Valley/Veritas that come with a 4000 grit bevel need to be prepared further.

    The question is "what do you plan to do with the planes?. The LA Jack could use a 25 degree bevel on a shooting board (end grain), but on face grain that would be a disaster. I would aim for a minimum of a 50 degree cutting angle (= 38 degree secondary bevel) and even a 62 degree cutting angle (= 50 degree secondary bevel). For the shooting board, keep the bevel straight; for face/edge grain, give it a slight camber.

    Read this article: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Woodwor...aneBlades.html

    The rabbeting block is probably best used with a 35 degree secondary bevel for a 47 degree cutting angle. That will be a good general purpose user. Keep this bevel straight.

    The 1200 grit diamond stone is too coarse to finish on. You may be able to get by with Lee Valley green compound rubbed on hardwood, but a 8000 grit Shapton might be a better alternative as an intermediary stone.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    2,428
    Good advice already. For the back of the blade, I usually give a new iron a few swipes on my finest stone (in my case a very fine shapton). In your case, maybe 2000 or 3000 grit sandpaper. That will tell you if you have any low spots near the cutting edge. If so (and I doubt youíll have an issue with a LN iron), then move up to a coarser grit to flatten...then back to the finer grits.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    438
    Last August I attended David Charlesworth's week-long Tool Tuning course at his shop in Devon. I shipped about 35 KG of my tools, which included three LN planes, eleven LN bevel chisels, and seven Blue Spruce dovetail chisels, to use during the course (and the following Dovetail course).

    I thought my LN planes were great out of the box, and used them for quite a while with only sharpening of the irons as needed. I was wrong. All three planes needed some work, and the #4 needed a lot of work on the lever cap to make it work properly. As is sometimes said, the enemy of good is better, but I was surprised at how much better the planes performed after the tuning, and after I unlearned some bad techniques. To each his own, but for me, the improvement was well worth the cost of the course and travel.

  6. #6
    Even though it is not part of the Hippocratic oath it is good advice to "First do no harm" or put another way (Texan) "don't fix what ain't broke". The back of LV irons are flat, flatter than you can make them. LN's are almost as flat. Don't mess them up, just a light hone/polish unless you can see a problem. The bevel depends on use, slight camber or straight, and cutting angle somewhat on metal and use but again mostly a light hone/polish with a high grit until you can see something that needs fixing. Other than those items put the suckers to work and tune as needed.

    ken

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    1,044
    All LN and LV planes I have just needed the blade honed to 10,000 grit and they work just fine, except the combination plane but thatís a different story.
    My LN scrub plane sitting in 4Ē of tornado flood water for several days needed some work! Thatís not shiny anymore. Wonder if LN & LV can spell Ďsacrificial anodeí.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    On the edge of Pisgah National Forest
    Posts
    148
    You already spent $1,000 on everything you need to make a $10 yard sale Stanley perform surgery, now spend a Buck Two-Seventy Eight on a box of storm candles and rub one on the sole of that lovely Lie-Nielsen before you do anything else to it.

  9. #9
    I would say any new iron or chisel needs to be back flattened. With the 3 Veritas planes I have all 3 pmv-11 blades needed a little work. Not horrible and flattened very quickly but where all a little out. the smaller chisels im not sure but the 3/4 and 1" showed a little out of flat. The bevel angles where all good but none had a micro bevel from what i could tell

    Im not a hand tool guy so I don't do anything aside from the initial back flatten and sharpening. I havent gotten into shaping the blade for camber I just keep them square. I dont want to ruin anything.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    7,242
    Quote Originally Posted by George Yetka View Post
    I would say any new iron or chisel needs to be back flattened. With the 3 Veritas planes I have all 3 pmv-11 blades needed a little work. Not horrible and flattened very quickly but where all a little out. the smaller chisels im not sure but the 3/4 and 1" showed a little out of flat. The bevel angles where all good but none had a micro bevel from what i could tell

    Im not a hand tool guy so I don't do anything aside from the initial back flatten and sharpening. I havent gotten into shaping the blade for camber I just keep them square. I dont want to ruin anything.
    George, I wonder how you determined that the backs of these blades were out-of-flat?

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Posts
    583
    The back should be very flat already, just needing polishing. Your diamond stones are coarse for polishing, so I'd start with fine grit sandpaper on a glass plate, maybe 1500 or 2000 grit. It should polish up fairly quickly. If you notice low spots that are not getting polished then drop down to a slightly coarser grit. Remember you only need to polish the area at the edge, not a huge area of the back of the blade.

    As for the bevel side, these planes probably come with a 25 degree primary bevel. Since this is a bevel-up plane, there is a range of secondary bevels you may want to use. I use bevel up planes mostly for end grain and cross grain planing, so I want a 25 degree secondary. For a 25 deg edge you could just hone the factory bevel, but it's a thick blade so the bevel is very wide and sharpening would be slow. What I do is grind a 20 degree primary (flat grind on a belt grinder) and then hone a small secondary bevel at 25. If you have a wheel grinder you can hollow grind the factory bevel and achieve a similar result.

    If you want to use the plane for long grain planing then a higher angle is usually desirable, more like 50 degrees. In that case just leave the factory 25 degree primary and hone a small 50 degree secondary bevel. If these are your do-all planes then you will probably want a second blade so you can have a low and high angle setup.

    Your diamond stones are a little coarse for finishing the edge. With what you have you can either use very fine sandpaper or make a mdf strop with polishing compound (anything from green stropping compound to something like Autosol metal polish will work). Maybe the Tormek can work as well but I don't know much about them. I'd recommend getting along with what you have for a while, and then consider getting 2 or 3 decent waterstones.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1,648
    Iím sure there are some on this forum that are machinists and have the equipment to accurately make and test plane irons. Iím also sure that their equipment would be as capable as that that is used by LN or LV. LN and LV have come under a lot of scrutiny about back flattening and the like. Preparing a new plane for use from either company should involve looking over the plane for any obvious flaws and final honing of the iron. If you have a problem or think you have a problem give them a call. I believe I have 17 PMV 11 irons and several LN irons. I havenít found one that I could improve with my humble collection of tools.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Lafayette, CA
    Posts
    306
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kreinhop View Post
    Last August I attended David Charlesworth's week-long Tool Tuning course at his shop in Devon. I shipped about 35 KG of my tools, which included three LN planes, eleven LN bevel chisels, and seven Blue Spruce dovetail chisels, to use during the course (and the following Dovetail course).

    I thought my LN planes were great out of the box, and used them for quite a while with only sharpening of the irons as needed. I was wrong. All three planes needed some work, and the #4 needed a lot of work on the lever cap to make it work properly. As is sometimes said, the enemy of good is better, but I was surprised at how much better the planes performed after the tuning, and after I unlearned some bad techniques. To each his own, but for me, the improvement was well worth the cost of the course and travel.
    Mike, as a fellow alum of Davidís tool tuning week, I can relate to how he knows how to dress up a L-N plane, and even my humble little 1990s Stanley block plane. I took careful progress photos and notes of every step, so I created a recipe that I went on to apply to my subsequent purchases of a Bailey and a Bed Rock, and even my spokeshaves and router plane. All four hand planes and the others now perform beautifully in my hands.

    Before the course I knew a bit, but I was unsure of both my tool care practices and my tool use technique. I could not count on repeatable results, and was never sure why. Studying tool tuning under David Charlesworth is like learning photography from Ansel Adams. He changed my hobby forever. Priceless.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    104
    I've heard the those two companies have excellent technical support. Just call and ask them. Cheers.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,641
    These are World class in production quality.

    You paid a premium for what amounts to a "fettled" plane. They should be ready.

    Have a look at setting up for an even shaving, on YouTube if you're unfamiliar with this.

    Congratulations!

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