Juuma Vs Lie Nielsen Rebate (Rabbet) Block Planes?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

vaj

Established Member
Joined
27 Oct 2022
Messages
68
Reaction score
32
Location
Ireland
Hi all. I posted about retrofitting a very problematical Clifton no. 5 with a Juuma frog assembly early in the year. Separately I've just now ordered a Juuma rabbet block plane from Fine Tools in Germany for €72 - it hasn't arrived yet: JUUMA Rabbet Block Plane | FINE TOOLS

What caught my eye is just how similar (identical?) it is to the Lie Nielsen equivalent (which is fitted with nickers not offered on the Juuma) which sells in the UK for €265/£230 and upwards - see pics below and here: No. 60-1/2 Rabbet Block Plane with Nicker I'll fit the Juuma with nickers should the need arise - the cutters are available as marking gauge spares from Veritas and the machining to do so is minimal. (I have a light milling machine)

I'm committed one way or the other, but out of interest does anybody have any direct experience of both tools or know what the story is? Do the circular nickers work well on the LN?

It's possible that the Juuma is a very close copy, or that LN are sourcing castings or more from Quangsheng/Luban. (Juuma is Fine Tools' in-house brand bought from the latter so far as I know)

Depending on tolerances and metallurgy one could be junk and the other the real deal - but the Quangsheng/Luban planes get very decent reviews and Fine Tools tend to do good stuff so it was hard to pass on the Juuma.

It's sad in one way in that LN (and Veritas) have done such a wonderful job of making top quality planes and other tools available again - this sort of competition must be a threat to their survival. Especially since the Eastern makers seem to be going after even less than mainstream tools like these as well as the standards.

A lot will hang on what the Eastern makers do (or are pressured into doing by Western importers hell bent on seeling cheap) - price competition in the post WW2 period reduced the quality of most mainstream plane brands to junk....
 

Attachments

  • juuma rebate block plane 5-23.jpg
    juuma rebate block plane 5-23.jpg
    620.2 KB · Views: 0
  • ln rebate block plane 5-23.jpg
    ln rebate block plane 5-23.jpg
    249.5 KB · Views: 0
LN are definitely NOT sourcing castings from Quangsheng/Luban! Quangsheng/Luban are making the castings from moulds of LN planes. That is why they can make a similar plane so much more cheaply. If you purchase their planes, you support their infringement of LN efforts.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 
I know Derek that LN have been doing this type of plane for quite a long time - there was an early one included in the list for the David Charlesworth auction. This means that it's likely that the Quangsheng/Luban item is a copy.

There's a much bigger picture than that in play however - it's a matter of fundamental economic cycles. Manufacturers find a way of doing something better than before, get their time in the sun/grow based on that. Eventually a competitor comes along that does it better (perhaps only in specific areas) and takes over the market or part of it.

The difficulty is usually that the original player has built the business around a particular set of methods and capabilities and is committed. The new guys have the benefit of fresh thinking and a fresh start - they presuming they have the required expertise and investment can potentially leverage new technologies, new processes and methods, new organisational forms, more cost effective sources and so on to jump ahead.

There's also the basic reality that we in the West have failed to invest sufficiently in genuine wealth generating capability (the money has since the 70s gone to financial finagling instead) and created business environments which are horribly expensive and difficult for a manufacturer to function in.

It's clear where your heart and your interests lie, but speaking from experience and presuming the Juuma item is good there's much more involved in the ability of the Eastern manufacturers to put a plane out at moderate cost than 'copying' - including manufacturing and engineering capability, availability and cost of the required materials, cost of labour, energy and overheads.

The cost of patterns is actually not significant - not when reasonable volume is involved. LN anyway did the same - they most of the time put out improved versions of previously existing tool designs.

My thought given the similarity of the components down to surface finishes etc was actually that LN were perhaps sourcing castings and doing the critical stuff themselves - potentially a valid strategy in circumstances where having enjoyed minimal competition for many years they are now facing real challenges.

I agree with you inasmuch as I hope as above that we're not heading into a period of price competition which as post WW2 will see most tools reduced to junk. I hope also that niche tools will continue to be available.

I for what it's worth have spent €1000's on Veritas planes and feel that anything much below that standard is not worth having. I on the other hand am retired, am not wealthy and was happy to take a chance on buying what will be an occasionally used tool at a moderate price.

A lot will hang on whether the Eastern competition can match LN/Veritas standards in terms of mnetallurgy, tolerances, design details, ability to make niche models pay etc. If it can then LN and the like will have to come up with plan B - because then my not buying a Juuma plane as King Canute discovered is not going to hold back the tide.

If the Eastern guys prove unable to match their quality then our then favourite makers may find themselves becoming even more specialised and higher priced premium manufacturers targeting a particular segment of the market....
 
Last edited:
I’m afraid that the word infringement is not correct in this case.

Although I respect Lie Nielsen’s effort to bring back to life the tried and tested old tools at the end of the day the company’s products are mostly copies of the old Stanley tools with, arguably, a way better machining and tighter assembly tolerances.

In my view LN invested in better build quality but little, if any, in Research and Development to create something new. Therefore there is no patent protecting their tools from being copied. If the LN tools were patented I’m sure that we would know about it.

As a result, following the free market rules (or lack of them) anyone can produce similar items and claim a part of the market share offering lower prices. That’s how the economy works worldwide, I’m always amused when people start to moan only when the unfairness knocks at their door.

On the other hand I have yet to see a copy of a Veritas plane because apparently they are innovative enough to be covered by patents, something that doesn’t seem to happen with their marking gauges.

As a conclusion I think that the decision between LN vs Juuma vs Whatever Maker it’s down to anyone's financial and other circumstances. Personally if I want to buy a new plane I will lean towards the Quangsheng route because the LN and Veritas ones are way out of reach for my budget.

As for the knickers on the LN plane I have no experience, but judging from my (little) experience on the knickers of my Stanley 13-050 plane I will prefer a knife line any day.
 
I had a LN 102 low angle block plane, it was excellent and literally flawless quality, you need to get one in your hands to really appreciate how well made they are, the problem we have now is they are eye wateringly expensive, I'd have to pay almost double what I originally paid for the 102 and just could not justify it.
 
I’m afraid that the word infringement is not correct in this case.

Although I respect Lie Nielsen’s effort to bring back to life the tried and tested old tools at the end of the day the company’s products are mostly copies of the old Stanley tools with, arguably, a way better machining and tighter assembly tolerances.

In my view LN invested in better build quality but little, if any, in Research and Development to create something new. Therefore there is no patent protecting their tools from being copied. If the LN tools were patented I’m sure that we would know about it.

As a result, following the free market rules (or lack of them) anyone can produce similar items and claim a part of the market share offering lower prices. That’s how the economy works worldwide, I’m always amused when people start to moan only when the unfairness knocks at their door.

On the other hand I have yet to see a copy of a Veritas plane because apparently they are innovative enough to be covered by patents, something that doesn’t seem to happen with their marking gauges.

As a conclusion I think that the decision between LN vs Juuma vs Whatever Maker it’s down to anyone's financial and other circumstances. Personally if I want to buy a new plane I will lean towards the Quangsheng route because the LN and Veritas ones are way out of reach for my budget.

As for the knickers on the LN plane I have no experience, but judging from my (little) experience on the knickers of my Stanley 13-050 plane I will prefer a knife line any day.
The problem with your approach is that there will only ever be a downward spiral to the bottom. If it wasn’t for LN reintroducing these classics in a high quality format the low cost copies you are advocating would never have appeared. If LN can’t stay in business then there will ge no ‘new’ LN planes and nothing for the low cost copiers to copy. I won’t buy a direct copy based on price. You are if course free to spend your money however you like but your argument is fundamentally flawed, these Chinese copies are killing companies like LN.
 
I’m afraid that my argument is fundamentally flawless. But as I said before people tend to see the problem only when it knocks their door.

Of course LN might go out of business, like many other companies who went that way in the past, and that will be sad news, but that’s how the economy works. Decent employers (as I believe Mr Lie Nielsen is) unfortunatelly don't have many chances to survive.

Many western companies outsourced their production in China (and other countries with cheap workforce) years ago and started this downward spiral. I think it’s a bit too late and utterly ridiculous to complain now because the Chinese or whoever else offers their own branded products and claim their market share.

And I don’t exactly advocate the Chinese copies. I am just describing a reality. If someone doesn’t have the financial ability to support LN or Veritas will turn to the cheapest alternatives, simple as that.
 
We might not all like it but Dionysios is probably right.

LN planes don’t seem to have any patent protection (LN has only 5 filed patents in the US, with one being for an improved router plane). I suspect there isn’t much available intellectual property protection around planes based on the older Stanley designs unless you make substantial changes. Veritas has a lot more patents including for features on their planes such as adjustable mouths for example.

The high price and premium market positioning of LN tools creates a potential for a secondary market, which can be filled with cheaper copies.
 
Patents are not the only form of IP protection. Trademark and trade dress are also important, at least in the USA. The first release of the Woodriver planes were copies of LN planes in appearance, today they look different. Another recent example is the new router plane of a youtuber, the inclined handles imitate the Veritas routers.
 
I’m afraid that my argument is fundamentally flawless. But as I said before people tend to see the problem only when it knocks their door.

Of course LN might go out of business, like many other companies who went that way in the past, and that will be sad news, but that’s how the economy works. Decent employers (as I believe Mr Lie Nielsen is) unfortunatelly don't have many chances to survive.

Many western companies outsourced their production in China (and other countries with cheap workforce) years ago and started this downward spiral. I think it’s a bit too late and utterly ridiculous to complain now because the Chinese or whoever else offers their own branded products and claim their market share.

And I don’t exactly advocate the Chinese copies. I am just describing a reality. If someone doesn’t have the financial ability to support LN or Veritas will turn to the cheapest alternatives, simple as that.
yes but LN are not that mass produced, they make far less of them at higher quality than the chinease copies, this is why they cost more, on top of being made in a first world country where people need to be paid more per hour, that is why I'll support companies like LN, clifton and veritas more than some others if I need a high end premium tool.
 
In my view a more interesting comparison is between LN and Veritas as another contributor implied. Whilst recognising the quality of what they produce, I have never had much time for LN because, with one or two minor exceptions, they have only ever copied exisiting designs but just made them better. Surely, all woodworkers should be trying to encourage innovation and advances in the tools we use, which is at the heart of Veritas' philosophy. They may not always get it right (ergonomkically misguided upright plane handles) but when they do, the results are brilliant. An example of this is their skew block plane which is infinitely superior to the deeply flawed LN copy of the old Stanley design. I had the LN because there was nothing better, but sold it and bought the Veritas when it was announced.

It very much depends what you want; I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford the best and regard investment in the best as a good one. I am far from the most skilled of woodworkers but am very well aware that top quality (in design and making) tools help me get the best from the skills I have, not to mention the pleasure to be derived from using them.

Jim
 
I guess it all depends...

I suspect that LN and Veritas may be disadvantaged by virtue of their offering a very wide range of products - many of which presumably sell in small volumes. As well as adding operating complexity and hence cost it leaves them open to the possibility of the competition cherry picking the volume items and ignoring the rest.

Against that a rebate block plain isn't exactly a mainstream item..

It's hard to know without seeing numbers, but there probably IS a significant dimension of trying to do the right thing in what both LN and Veritas have been doing. Against that their prices these days seem to be moving beyond what many can afford.

It'd be a great pity if the quality makers were to go down the tubes, but as before a significant part of their problem is probably the high cost of the economies in which they are located - and the long standing reluctance of our political and financial wizards to invest in manufacturing and education in the expertise and skills which underpin it.

Also the associated collapse in real incomes in our badly mismanaged Western economies.

It'd be interesting to see whether or not sales volumes are holding up in the de-facto recessions in most Western markets.

Something is probably going to have to give.

They hopefully are not chasing declining volumes by jacking prices - it's typically a self defeating strategy. Experience says that the market determines the achievable selling price for a given volume of sales - that it's up to the manufacturer after that to find ways to hit a competitive price point with an acceptable product.

We lost most of our manufacturing in the West years ago through collective unwillingness to change in response to the competition which after some delay eventually followed the freeing up of world trade post WW2 - businesses became uncompetitive and failed. Which in large part contributed to the flight of capital overseas.

Might selling direct help? There's an awful lot of importers and re-sellers raking off fat margins for doing little more than running a web shop.

We as matters stand need competition in markets

The reality of most manufacturers in general is that if we all magically were to decide to ignore competing products and truly commit to buying only brand X we'd find ourselves in no time paying triple the price for junk - at least until the day comes when people will go into manufacturing a product for the greater good, and are intrinsically motivated to do what is best for the customer as well as for the business.

It's also I guess fair to say that if people do the work and make the commitment required to achieve a competitive advantage (and deliver an acceptable product at a greatly reduced price) then they deserve to be supported.

Lots of angles and time will tell all. I'll report on Juuma when I've had a chance to go through it properly...
 
Last edited:
Patents and copying aside I dont see what the attraction to rebate block planes is about. A rebate plane would likely do a better rebate. One with a skew blade would be best but even a Stanley 78 would be an easier option.
Regards
John
 
PS - thanks for the thought on the nickers Dionysios.

I'm buying the rabbet plane because I surmised that it'd be nice to have something wider and more balanced than a shoulder plane with which to take a skim off a tenon or a rebate - including getting right into the corner.

The circular nickers have a flat ground on to the bottom flush with the sole of the plane - the idea is that you loosen the fixing screw and rotate to bring them in and out of use.

How practical that might prove versus careful use of a knife is the question...
 
Patents and copying aside I dont see what the attraction to rebate block planes is about. A rebate plane would likely do a better rebate. One with a skew blade would be best but even a Stanley 78 would be an easier option.
Regards
John
Are these planes patented? I'd be surprised as they are all closely derived from earlier examples going back a long way, and involve no innovations at all.
I don't think the Chinese would need to "copy" a LN or whatever, they are quite capable of making their own patterns and castings to any degree of precision. But so what if they did - these are simple low tech devices and the designs are anybody's I would have thought.
 
I had a LN 102 low angle block plane, it was excellent and literally flawless quality, you need to get one in your hands to really appreciate how well made they are, the problem we have now is they are eye wateringly expensive, I'd have to pay almost double what I originally paid for the 102 and just could not justify it.

The money spent on Veritas kit is, in my opinion, money well spent. Not sure about the Chinese manufacturers' stuff as I've never bought any of it, but if I can afford Veritas I wouldn't hesitate to pick their option over any others.
 
To get back towards the woodworking.

There's actually a bewildering number of rebate capable planes about - everything from the likes of the Stanley 78 through shoulder planes, fence equipped skew rebating block planes as the Veritas LH and RH pair, simple rebating block planes and rebating jack planes.

I don't have experience of any of these except shoulder planes, but suspect that there's a rather large range of tasks potentially in play too.

Everything from raising panels and cutting rebates entirely by hand at one end to my situation which so far has been about fine tuning machine cut joints and rebates. The size/length of the piece must play a part too.

It'd be an interesting topic for a magazine article or similar (anybody here?) - for somebody who knows their way around this family of planes to set out the where/why/limits of the usefulness of each type.

It tends to be blindingly obvious what's needed when a specific task arises, but it's not so easy to predict future requirements or to think through a tool buying/use strategy in advance.

It's of course clear as day once you've been there....
 
Last edited:
Are these planes patented? I'd be surprised as they are all closely derived from earlier examples going back a long way, and involve no innovations at all.
I don't think the Chinese would need to "copy" a LN or whatever, they are quite capable of making their own patterns and castings to any degree of precision. But so what if they did - these are simple low tech devices and the designs are anybody's I would have thought.
You are correct but you are not factoring that the cheaper tools are being made to look exactly like the LN versions they are copying. Flattery? Nope. They are likely trying to draw in people that think they are buying the same tool. How would it sit with Ferrari if someone copied their cars exactly and sold them for half price. The automotive world would go nuts. It doesn't happen with our tools though. They could easily make some subtle improvements to the shape, a logo or finish that would set them apart as their own but they don't.

Pete
 
Is that really true Pete? Is anybody truly trying to pass their product off as LN or Veritas?

The designs for the (good) reasons discussed above are similar if not identical. Unsurprisingly so - they have long been highly optimised. Imagine also the reaction of our notoriously conservative tendency if the new arrivals had set out to sell highly innovative products.

Despite the visual similarities the Juuma rebating block plane is clearly branded. Their bench planes are in addition visually different as a consequence of the use of different finishes and materials. Ditto for those offered under the Quangsheng/Luban/Wood River etc. brands.

We're talking about a specific competitor here. Most if not all of the stuff coming from low cost producers is also branded, but the real differentiation is that for fine use it's not even in the ballpark in respect of quality. It doesn't even come close to challenging LN and Veritas.

The Quangsheng/Luban/Juuma branded family (seemingly the same manufacturer) is the possible exception in that they seem to be trying to put out an equivalent high end product at more reasonable cost.

So far as I can tell they are close (capable of being dialled in) but perhaps not always quite there yet. e.g. it's possible to get a less than perfect example/one with one ot two parts a bit rough at the edges. Time will tell on quality of the iron/the metallurgy and similar less obvious factors

The deciding factor in these matters will I think be whether or not they (and potentially others) can achive and more to the point consistently maintain the tolerances, metallurgy etc required to challenge LN and Veritas - or at least to be good enough to satisfy the discriminating/high end tool user.
 
Is that really true Pete? Is anybody truly trying to pass their product off as LN or Veritas?
Yes. Have a look at WoodRiver Mk1. FWW magazine completed an assessment and concluded that WR used a LN plane to cast their version. There was an uproar. WR changed the design of the plane in Mk2. It came under a great deal of criticism as having a poor design - which strongly indicates that the factory is good at copying but not designing. They brought in Rob Cosman, who designed Mk3, which is the current version.

There are now a bunch of LN-version block planes look-a-likes floating around.

You are trying awfully hard to justify your purchase. It is clear that trade dress has been stolen.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Latest posts

Back
Top