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NCLuthierWyatt

Block Plane for making

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Hi, 

I'm starting to build my third violin and i'm looking to pick up a quality block plane for flattening the rib garlands and squaring corner blocks. Would the apron plane from Vertias or the Violin Makers Plane offered by Lie-Nelsen be ideal for this or would a slightly larger low-angle block plane from the likes of wood-river, veritas, or lie-neilsen be more ideal? Just wanted some input from people with more experience before I pull the trigger on buying a new one. Any input on the pros and cons of each brand's block plane is appreciated. 

 

Thank you very much guys!

 

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I love lie-nielsen and have most of their planes, but the so-called violin maker's plane is cute but a bit useless. Either the Veritas or LN block planes will serve you well. I would avoid the wood river. Unless something has changed it will need too much work to make it work as well as either of the aforementioned brands. Either the 60 1/2 or the 102 from LN will serve you well and long.

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While the Lie-Nielsen violin maker's plane looks very nice, I think most of us use something a bit longer for general use.  I use their low angle block plane.  Before I got it, I used an old Stanley # 102 for years, which is about the same length.

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10 minutes ago, duane88 said:

I love lie-nielsen and have most of their planes, but the so-called violin maker's plane is cute but a bit useless. Either the Veritas or LN block planes will serve you well. I would avoid the wood river. Unless something has changed it will need too much work to make it work as well as either of the aforementioned brands. Either the 60 1/2 or the 102 from LN will serve you well and long.

I bought a Wood River shoulder plane for cleaning up dados for cabinetry, and thought it was very well made; close to a work of art.  Are their block planes not made as well?

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To plane flat ribs, which I do because it is the best way to reduce and smooth them, a small block plane is OK. However to do so you need a block plane which has a wide enough blade which also needs to be sharpened at a very high angle to prevent tear out.

I use a Veritas high-angle (16 deg. rather than 12 deg. I think it is) bevel-up block plane which does the job. I also have a 12 deg. model which could be used if sharpened at a high enough angle, as I said.

Another tip when planing ribs, I would suggest, is to stick a length of sandpaper (220 grit is suitable) about the same length as the rough rib onto a flat piece of wood. That is all that is needed to fix the rib in place to plane its full length rather than clamping one end and then the other.

 

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For ribs I use a LN 60 1/2 sharpened at the stock angle and have no issues with tear out, just pay attention to the wood grain. To hold the rib stock I use a bit of double stick tape  at the end of the rib stuck to my bench top which is 3” thick hard maple and flat enough. I cut of the slightly thinner end that the tape was stuck to just make sure your rib stock is long enough. To unstick the tape just heat it up a bit with a hair dryer. 

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15 hours ago, NCLuthierWyatt said:

Hi, 

I'm starting to build my third violin and i'm looking to pick up a quality block plane for flattening the rib garlands and squaring corner blocks. Would the apron plane from Vertias or the Violin Makers Plane offered by Lie-Nelsen be ideal for this or would a slightly larger low-angle block plane from the likes of wood-river, veritas, or lie-neilsen be more ideal? Just wanted some input from people with more experience before I pull the trigger on buying a new one. Any input on the pros and cons of each brand's block plane is appreciated. 

 

Thank you very much guys!

 

For flattening the rib garland, a low angle block plane is ideal. It needs to have enough length to remain stable, and not plane a hollow between the blocks, so the violin makers plane offered by Lie Nielsen is not really much use here. Make sure the blade is very sharp, the mouth set fine, and skew the plane as you work around.

For squaring up the blocks, first split the wood so that you can see which way the grain goes, and then use this to your advantage. A low angle block plane is fine to square these up too.

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For jobs you mention, I'd go for the full-size adjustable mouth Veritas block plane with a PMV11 blade. Some people find this a bit on the large side though, so if you have smallish hands, I'd suggest the Lie Nielsen 60 1/2.

Also, I agree with Bill about Wood River. Current production is excellent (as is Quangsheng, which I think come from the same factory). Not quite as nice as an original LN, but the difference in functionality isn't huge.

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13 hours ago, Dennis J said:

To plane flat ribs, which I do because it is the best way to reduce and smooth them, a small block plane is OK. However to do so you need a block plane which has a wide enough blade which also needs to be sharpened at a very high angle to prevent tear out.

I use a Veritas high-angle (16 deg. rather than 12 deg. I think it is) bevel-up block plane which does the job. I also have a 12 deg. model which could be used if sharpened at a high enough angle, as I said.

Yes, a high angle plane reduces or eliminates tearout. It also requires more pushing force.

Dennis J also wrote"

"Another tip when planing ribs, I would suggest, is to stick a length of sandpaper (220 grit is suitable) about the same length as the rough rib onto a flat piece of wood. That is all that is needed to fix the rib in place to plane its full length rather than clamping one end and then the other."

I'm not really enthusiastic with that suggestion, since my experience has been that fine-edged cutting tools are not happy anywhere near abrasives, other than using abrasives to deliberately remove metal during grinding or sharpening.

 

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2 hours ago, JohnCockburn said:

For jobs you mention, I'd go for the full-size adjustable mouth Veritas block plane with a PMV11 blade. Some people find this a bit on the large side though, so if you have smallish hands, I'd suggest the Lie Nielsen 60 1/2.

Also, I agree with Bill about Wood River. Current production is excellent (as is Quangsheng, which I think come from the same factory). Not quite as nice as an original LN, but the difference in functionality isn't huge.

I  compared the Quangsheng, LN and LV and went for the Quangsheng at half the price.  I also bought a 50 degree blade for difficult grain and an extra 25 degree which I toothed. It's a very nice tool.

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41 minutes ago, Muswell said:

I  compared the Quangsheng, LN and LV and went for the Quangsheng at half the price.  I also bought a 50 degree blade for difficult grain and an extra 25 degree which I toothed. It's a very nice tool.

You haven't given a description of the way in which you evaluated these planes, but with all the money and time I've spent correcting various planes over the years, my conclusion is that it would have been less expensive in the long run to just drop the bucks on a  Lie Nielsen  or Veritas in the first place. These weren't available when I was first buying tools, so I learned the hard way and wasted a lot of time and money.

Joe Grubaugh was the one who convinced me to buy a Lie Nielsen joining plane, after he got one. We had both been using highly corrected and machined Bailey planes, from the time the Weisshaar shop commissioned a machine shop to do a run of them. The differences between the way the two work, while not "night and day",  are something I very much notice and appreciate.

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3 hours ago, JohnCockburn said:

For jobs you mention, I'd go for the full-size adjustable mouth Veritas block plane with a PMV11 blade. Some people find this a bit on the large side though, so if you have smallish hands, I'd suggest the Lie Nielsen 60 1/2.

This is my favourite tool (and I think probably the best block plane Veritas Makes). The ergonomics and machining are first rate. There are two versions: a low and high angle. I like this one better than the fancier one.

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36 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

You haven't given a description of the way in which you evaluated these planes, but with all the money and time I've spent correcting various planes over the years, my conclusion is that it would have been less expensive in the long run to just drop the bucks on a  Lie Nielsen  or Veritas in the first place. 

Second this - the cost of the tools needed to fix up an old Stanley + the time to do it can be more than buying a new LV or LN plane. Makers today are very lucky - there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tool selection and availability 

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Agreed. I spent more time, frustration and money than I'd care to mention in the past, fixing up Norris, Spiers, Preston & Mathieson planes. With anything that has lived a life or two in workshops, there are going to be some issues, not all of which are easy to sort out.
Back then, Lie Nielsen and Veritas were new to the English market and I did not know much about them. There is a lot to be said for something which is excellently made, guaranteed, and works straight out of the box after a quick hone.

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26 minutes ago, Urban Luthier said:

Second this - the cost of the tools needed to fix up an old Stanley + the time to do it can be more than buying a new LV or LN plane. Makers today are very lucky - there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tool selection and availability 

It took some time, but tool makers have responded to the demand for precision tools. Also with CNC, production machining costs have come way down allowing for a better, more affordable product.

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1 hour ago, Muswell said:

I  compared the Quangsheng, LN and LV and went for the Quangsheng at half the price.  I also bought a 50 degree blade for difficult grain and an extra 25 degree which I toothed. It's a very nice tool.

I can't comment on their larger block and bench planes, but the shoulder plane surpassed my expectations, and I thought the machining and finish were very well done.

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

You haven't given a description of the way in which you evaluated these planes, but with all the money and time I've spent correcting various planes over the years, my conclusion is that it would have been less expensive in the long run to just drop the bucks on a  Lie Nielsen  or Veritas in the first place. These weren't available when I was first buying tools, so I learned the hard way and wasted a lot of time and money.

Joe Grubaugh was the one who convinced me to buy a Lie Nielsen joining plane, after he got one. We had both been using highly corrected and machined Bailey planes, from the time the Weisshaar shop commissioned a machine shop to do a run of them. The differences between the way the two work, while not "night and day",  are something I very much notice and appreciate.

I currently own a Clifton jointer and 3 Lie Nielsen planes ( and sold 2 when I stopped making furniture) so I support the idea of investing in quality.  The sole of the Quangsheng is as true as the LNs when checked with a grade 1 DIN 874 straight edge.

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3 minutes ago, Muswell said:

I currently own a Clifton jointer and 3 Lie Nielsen planes ( and sold 2 when I stopped making furniture) so I support the idea of investing in quality.  The sole of the Quangsheng is as true as the LNs when checked with a grade 1 DIN 874 straight edge.

Yes, I've also got several "quality" block planes (3 LN and a Clifton) as well as a Quangsheng. The only thing I found relatively poor in my Quangsheng was the original blade, which I replaced with a Hock. Folks on the UK woodwork forums rave about the Quangsheng blades, but I've had a few in various planes and never been happy with them.

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For squaring blocks you can`t go wrong with using a shooting board and almost any sharp plane. I use a Veritas shooting plane on a home-made shooting board with very good results, you can very accurately plane any side of the block you want to size and squaring the end grain is super easy to do this way. Since a shooting board also supports the block properly you won`t have any spelching at the end of the stroke.

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I have and use both a LN 102 and a Veritas low angle adjustable mouth block plane. When I process ribstock, I first surface the outside face (toothed high angle blade in the Veritas, card scraper, thinner scraper + equisetum) until it is free of tool marks and well burnished, then I flip it over and plane it to thickness (~ 1mm) with the toothed blade in the Veritas. I leave the toothed surface as-is inside the violin. It's pretty fast. 

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I have a Stanley 102 with a toothed hock blade and an old knuckle lever block plane with an Ashley Iles blade. They work great for me.

the 102 has no adjuster, but you get used to it. 

 

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Hold up though finnfinn...have you gotten to borrow a LN or Veritas block plane before?  Or one of the LN or Veritas planes for joining? Those are insanely good, they really are. In case no one told you: the nicer planes are a different experience for sure. I'm not good enough at joining to really know the emotions experienced by someone much more skilled who tries a #8 LN for the first time, but...uh...I can definitely say I heard about it. 

I enjoy planing ribs with the Veritas block plane much more than the "other" block plane (also a Stanley with a hock). In comparison the Stanley feels somehow clunky, weighted wrong, and obviously, not fine tuned for perfect blade adjustment like the better ones are.  I have to say, I  don't get why some people collect Stanley planes like they are some glorious relics of a lost American Golden Age of industry and craftsmanship. Just because almost everything is made terrible now doesn't make turn of the century Stanley planes wonderful. They're ok.

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2 hours ago, not telling said:

 I have to say, I  don't get why some people collect Stanley planes like they are some glorious relics of a lost American Golden Age of industry and craftsmanship. 

Just west of you a few miles was where the Santa Fe R.R.wood shop used to be located - all of those old time wooden box cars, the made with wood interiors of the passenger cars etc., a lot of that was done out there.  They closed that shop in the late 1940's and were simply going to throw all of the hand planes away. 

  With permission, one adventurous young soul took it upon himself to save the entire collection of planes and related tools for his own possession - eventually he also worked his way up to big time regional "boss" - from Chicago to possibly Arizona, I think.  I was in awe of the entire plane collection still together in his basement after all of these years.  That was about five years ago and the last I heard one hundred thousand U.S. may be enough dough to buy the entire collection.  No piecing out - pretty cool. 

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18 hours ago, NCLuthierWyatt said:

Thank you very much guys. I have pretty small hands and I've heard wonders about the Lie Nielsen 60 1/2 so I'm gonna go ahead and place my order! 

I think a wise decision - while I only use stanley and craftsman planes I did hold one smaller lie nielson block plane momentarily.  No doubt in my mind that your new plane will be at the least twice as good as the stanleys/craftsman planes. 

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