Joy of Joys my Lie-Neilsen is here!








If tools were put into hardware store window displays, may face print would be all over that window in front of the Lie-Neilsen #4 smoothing plane. Now, joy of joys, I own one!  I have been dreaming about owning one of these babies for years and now my dream has come true!

Here are the stats; “The No. 4 Smooth Plane is a full size smoothing plane, 9 1/2 long, 2″ x .125″ thick blade, 4 lbs. in Iron. Capable of taking the finest shaving from the most difficult woods. In addition to the A-2 cryogenically treated, double-tempered Tool Steel blade, this makes for a very solid tool that will give excellent results in the most demanding conditions. Ductile Iron body, hand-finished Cherry knobs and handles, soles are ground flat to .001″, the sides are machine ground square to the sole for shooting. Precisely made, fit and finished, these tools are ready for use right out of the box.” OMG, I think I am in love! Of course my wife and daughter’s think that I am absolutely nuts, but I am happy to say that my 17 month old son took an immediate interest in it.

I wonder if women woodworkers love their tools the way men can love theirs?


About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Joy of Joys my Lie-Neilsen is here!

  1. Y,

    I really enjoy reading your posts. I know how much time it takes to deal with pics, write and edit. I go for days and see that people have read my stuff and even downloaded photos of my work… but nobody comments. Then somebody writes a comment that sounds so stupid to me I cringe, so basically I don’t publish any comments at all.

    I have been posting to forums and e-mailing for a long time, lived in Silicon Valley when all this technology was being invented and nobody even knew what the web was. Many times the stuff one writes just sits there in black and white. There is no voice with inflection or a face to know what the connotation was or is. You can say something half joking and the humor falls flat.

    If I make a comment on someone’s blog and they don’t publish it… it ain’t gonna break my little heart or wound my ego.

    Anyway, when I was contracting and making a lot of money, I was a tool junkie. I never hesitated to buy any tools or equipment. I had all kinds of rational reasons, like an investment in the business. After a while, I amassed a pretty big shop full of stuff. It cost some money for the tools and equipment so sit there. It needed to earn me money or it was just some kind of expensive hobby. Or worse, I was buying a job at a pretty steep price.

    After the DotCom bust I decided to move and shed all but very basic stuff. Now I can’t buy a tool unless I just can’t do with out it. Mostly, my shop rent, sharpening and consumables, glue, abrasives eat any spare cash I have. I’d love to have a timesaver or some kind of wide belt sander, a bigger band saw and thickness planer. But, I can design stuff that I can build with what I’ve got. Just to have the capability to do different operations is not enough justification.

    I’m looking at my MIG welder and metal working tools. It was a dream to put together that setup. I have the capability to fab a broad range of things and expand my palate of creativity… or build shop fixtures that perform like no wood could. I’m thinking that I might have to sell that stuff to trade it for a big resaw. I would use a band saw way more than a welder… but there are too many tradeoffs to try and calculate which capability will pay off better in the long run. In the long run, having both is the hot setup, but my shop is small, space while inexpensive because it is small, is at a premium.

    I used to race motorcycles. Woodworkers, I don’t care how obsessive don’t have anything on car and bike guys. I used to blow money on new bikes, tires, chains, trick parts, track time, race schools… on and on… and I was just an amateur having fun. I was a piker in comparison to some of my riding buddies that had literally money to burn, as in gas a rubber.

    After a few years off all that, I realized that only the old guys were fast. All the young cats that were new to the sport got the latest, fastest machinery, the color matched leathers, boots and helmets. Like me, they didn’t get that all that stuff didn’t make them fast guys. As I got older, I learned how to ride fast and had experiences that taught me race craft.

    My friends and I would show up with beat old bikes we bought cheap with salvaged titles, then set them up to handle. We stopped putting money into expensive horsepower and whipped the young cats on the latest fastest machines, because we knew how to set them up and ride them fast. Bikes are just like tools… if you can’t ride them, it doesn’t matter how cool they are.

    None of this is a commentary on you or your new toys. I’m just thinking out loud here. This is a tough time to be in business, run or start a business. I have nine neighbors in the loose collective of shops in the building we are in. One of my neighbors, Steve Knight used to make hand planes out of tropical hardwoods. He developed a line of really nice tools that were bought by artists, craftsman and collectors. He worked long hours and made very little for long time.

    Steve inherited a bit of money and bought a nice milling machine to make brass and metal planes too. He made some prototypes that were very cool, but realistically couldn’t compete with say Lie Nielson. The next thing he did was to buy a ShopBot CNC machine. It took him a couple years to build the table, rearrange his shop, go through three dust collection systems and vac systems to hold down materials.

    Steve had an idea to machine parts and sell his wood planes as kits. He spent time to learn how to program the machine and write apps to manufacture different things… as well and much R&D time to make expensive mistakes.

    One of the things that happened was that as Steve put together this amazing tool, work came to him because he had a capability that no one else around here had. Sure there are shops that have CNC machines in their production, but charge twice what he does for machine time. Steve will do other things like assembly and finishing that the big shops won’t. He got into doing work for sign shops this past year, as well as making blanks for snow skis out of bamboo ply… and a bunch of other crazy one off stuff.

    Steve and I are very different guys. But we are the same in that we both like to be creative and it doesn’t really matter to us what the medium is… it is the act of being creative. I came up playing music and went to school to learn music, played professionally and taught too. Too bad it is even a harder business to be in and a real ego punisher to boot. I totally stumbled into carpentry, contracting and woodworking 35 years ago. Never dreamed that I would be involved in this at all.

    Steve did a job last week where the machine was making custom beer tap handles for a local micro brew. Man, Portland is beer drinkers heaven. I don’t drink very much, so it is wasted on me. His machine was cranking out X dollars every minute it was running, so he was grossing a grand a day. While that may sound boring, it allows him to do things that satisfy his creative urge.

    If I had any brains, I would try to figure out some way to harness that capability. It’s already bought, set up and tweaked so I don’t have to invest in it, except to dream up a product that will compete in the market place. Ain’t that the trick in any case?

    I’m not trying to hype Steve’s stuff, I just thought this would interest you. Just for the halibut check him out:

    • yaakov says:

      Thanks for reading my blog! I do sincerely appreciate it, and I appreciate all the time you took out of your day for the interesting comment. I did check out the link you sent me. Great looking stuff and a very professional website. Hopefully the economy will perk up one day and his business will really blossom along with yours.

      Thanks again!

  2. Lazy Larry says:

    Not as lengthy as the last comment…
    You just gotta love the LN #4 and all the LN gear…

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