Anything I need to do before I use my brand new Lie Nielsen Bronze No. 4 Smoothing Plane? (besides make a secondary bevel)

  • 17 Oct 2018 7:38 PM
    Message # 6776751

    I've been waiting for this day for a long time and it has finally arrived (this day AND my Lie-Nielsen No. 4 Smoothing Plane).  I've watched Rob Cosman's videos on preparing plane blades from new and have seen how to flatten the sole of a plane but was wondering if a "higher end" plane like the Lie-Nielsen still requires flattening along the sole or if they ensure that it is flat and true before it leaves their warehouse?  I know that I'll need to tune up the blade and add a secondary bevel but other than that, is there anything else (as far as maintenance/tuning up) that I should do to the plane?  It's only the third hand plane in my small collection but it will be my finest.  I also own a medium Veritas shoulder plane and a Wood River block plane.  My sharpening setup is made of Shapton stones up to 16000 so I'm capable of tuning the blade precisely.  Just wanted feedback on whether flattening the soles of new planes also applies to Lie-Nielsen planes or not.  Thanks for your feedback.  

  • 18 Oct 2018 6:50 PM
    Reply # 6795435 on 6776751

    You may want to take a look at Rob's videos, but I would:

    (1) First make sure the blade is not chipped (highly unlikely, but we all make mistakes).

    (2) Check the flatness of the sole with a trusted straight edge or cast table saw table. If it is not what you expected, LN will readily replace it if you choose to send it back.

    (3) Check the chip breaker fits flat on the plane blade. If not see item 2.

    (3) I tend to take the plane apart and wipe it down and make sure everything work. Typically, there isn't much to wipe down on a LN tool, but I do it anyway. There should not be a lot of free play (called backlash) in the blade adjuster knob. 

    (4) Do the items you've mentioned.

    (5) When putting the plan back together, adjust the lever cap to firmly but not too tightly lock down. For LN planes I don't use a tapered screw driver  blade because the Plane's screw slot sides are perpendicular to the bottom. A tapered screw driver can slip or twist out and mare the screw.

    (5) I tend to take a metal file or the trend diamond stone and lightly go over the sole's edges to reduce the sharpness. After first using the plan you will know.

    (6) Enjoy your new purchase.

  • 18 Oct 2018 8:07 PM
    Reply # 6796538 on 6776751

    That is all great great advice.  I'm going to do all of those things tonight.  I received the item yesterday but (working 12 hour shifts which regularly turn into 14 and a half hours including preparation and travel time) needed to get some sleep prior to working today.  Since I'm off tomorrow though, I'm going to be up late late late tinkering around with this gem.  That's a great tip about not using a tapered screwdriver by the way.  I just ordered a few plane socks for my other planes, the L.N. chip breaker screwdriver, and the Jojoba oil as well.  I'll find the right tool in the meantime to loosen the chip breaker and cap iron.  I'm already shopping for my next hand plane because even if I wasn't a woodworker, these things just look like art themselves and they're an investment that will last a lifetime.  The next hand plane I have my eye on needs to do two things.  I'm looking for some jointing work as well as shooting.  In the Lie-Nielsen brand, I've got my eye on the #6, #7, #7-1/2, or #8.  I don't know that I need the length of the #8 and also not sure if I want to ditch the chip breaker altogether and go for the low angle jointer (despite it's likely good performance when shooting).  I saw L.N. also makes a low angle jack plane but I the same concerns appeal regarding the low angle.  A jack plane is also in my future.  I certainly cannot afford these things as readily as many woodworkers can so in the meantime I'll just keep saving what I can and attempt to make as wise of decisions as possible in order to get the most bang for my buck and versatility.  I'll follow up with any issues I encounter once I get this #4 on some white oak and share my overall feelings.  I've never done any planing before with a bench plane so I'm in for a treat.  I have however, been watching many tutorials and have sharpened many knives and chisels before.  The Veritas MKII Honing Guide and Shapton ceramic stones, which I've purchased within the last year are the only reason I've got any confidence to purchase a L.N. plane and turn the blade into a polished razor.  Oh, the excitement!   

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