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Lie Nielsen 40 ½ Scrub Plane… Initial Impression

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Midnight

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As this was my first “direct from the manufacturer’s website” purchase, I spent a rather nervous week last week contemplating all the “what if’s” that could go wrong with this order; I needn’t have worried. Saturday’s post had a note from the local parcel office to the effect that the package was here, and following payment of the VAT and inspection charge, it would be delivered forthwith.

The packaging was efficient without being over the top; any voids in the box being filled with what appears to be a paper based wadding rather than those annoying polystyrene chippings. Nestled inside the shipping box was the proper box for the plane, along with some teasing / depressing literature (depending on your perspective) of other tools in the range. Going through the range, mentally checking off the models I already own was reminiscing of a kid with football cards, the only problem being finding someone willing to swap my surpluses for models I don’t yet have.

The plane itself was wrapped in Lie Nielsen’s traditional packaging; a sheet of blank newsprint (a.k.a. chip shop wrapping paper) over a sheet of Ferro-Pak rust inhibiting paper. Unwrapped for the first time, my initial impression was “Awww Cute…!” Although it shares the same 10 3/8” length and cherry handles as my 4 ½ smoother, that’s where any common aspects end, the 40 ½ being a slender 1 7/8” wide. The blade measures 36mm in width, 4.8mm thick and 164mm long, and as is customary, is ready for use straight out of the box. Being accustomed to working with their Bedrock pattern bench lanes, I found the mechanical simplicity of the 40 ½ rather surprising; I didn’t exactly know what to expect when it arrived, but finding that it has only three moving parts contributed to the initial visual impression. By this time, I’d a faint questioning voice asking….. “Have I made the right move here…?” Just one way to find out…..

I just happened to have a slab of rough sawn elm already clamped to the bench for flattening; a 5 minute “suck it an see” with my #5 gave the impression that this one was gonna take a while as the board had both cup and bow to remove. While free of any large knots or wild grain, the pattern of the grain resembles a saddle back ridge, grain running towards the centre from wither end.

Setting the blade without the customary Bailey adjuster was childs play as I discovered; slacken the thumbscrew until the blade slips freely beneath the lever cap, sight down the sole for blade depth, and re-tighten the thumbscrew; easy…

Cute….. was blown out the window with the first pass across the board. As I’d set the blade to reveal the entire arc of the blade, that first cut had my poor bench rocking like it was being subjected to 9.6 on the Richter scale. A quick readjustment later saw the second pass being slightly more civilised, although it barely lessened my initial shock. Diminutive this plane may be, but I tell ya….. it doesn’t take any prisoners. Waste flew in all directions as it ploughed it’s way through the cup in the board; the wood never really stood a chance. Three passes along the board working across the width had the 10mm cup all but gone leaving a surface that bore more than a passing resemblance to a freshly ploughed field than a hand planed board, but as I found out, even that was a bonus. Smoothing out the “furrows” with my Stanley#5 didn’t take more than a couple of passes, again working across the board. After hand brushing the waste and shavings off the board, I checked the bow with my builders level; although the bulk of the board was dead flat, the ends revealed there was still some bow to plane out. Winding sticks confirmed that the cup across the board was toast. Checking my watch, I was surprised to see that I’d only been in the shop for 20 minutes. Had I been using my prior technique (using the #5 with a radiused blade as a scrub) I’d still have about 5 hours work ahead of me to reach the same point.

To date, I’ve spent no more than 2 hours working the board so far, I figure that another half hour tomorrow with the #7 should just about finish it.

Although I’ve yet to test the board on anything that’d previously been considered difficult, I’ve little doubt that this wee plane could more than handle it. Compact, yet comfortable to work with, unleashing it on a board has more than a passing resemblance to Taz running amuck; controlled yet devastatingly effective. My previous concerns about whether I’d made the right move buying this have been blown out the window; I reckon this tool could pay for itself in a week given the chance, provided my bench doesn’t shake itself to bits first. As for regrets, I have but one….. I shoulda bought this plane years ago; what a difference it could have made…….

One word of caution to anyone contemplating using a proper scrub plane; I’ve deliberately avoided calling the waste this plane produces “shavings”. I don’t know what the proper name for it would be, but wispy thin curls it isn’t. Sweeping them off the board with the back of your hand WILL result in a long session with the tweezers. Additionally, the absence of a chip breaker deflecting the waste to the front had me a little concerned with regard to eye protection; I reckon safety glasses are a must wear with this tool.

Tool specs:- http://www.lie-nielsen.com/tool.html?id ... 5963918641

Care & Instructions :- http://www.lie-nielsen.com/instructions ... 5963918641
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Mike

Thank you taking taking the time, I loved your review.

From your description of the waste it sounds as though it could be enhanced with a dust extraction port. :wink:

Cheers
Neil
 
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Anonymous

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Hi mike

Very interesting review - you had me clcking around the LN site and very close to ordering :)

Then I remebered I have a P/T and no spare cash :(

Thanks for the reveiw

Tony
 

Philly

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Hi Mike,
Cheers for the review, very informative!
I'm begining to worry about the membership here-how long before we start dressing up like the folk at Colonial Williamsberg? :lol:
regards,
Philly :D
 

SimonA

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Nice review Mike.....sounds like a good plane, but then again would you think other wise from Lie-Nielsen?

Did you find it much cheaper to import it from the States once you had paid postage and tax or was it just because you couldn't get on e from this country?

SimonA
Who still hasn't mahaged to get his buttocks out into the workshop and use the #112!!
 

Mike.C

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Excellent review Mike. You couldn't phone SWMBO could you, just to convince her how much better my work would be if she released the funds for a Lie-Nielsen or two?

Regards

Mike.C
 

Alf

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Heh heh. Good review, Mike. Fun these scrub planes, aren't they? But as you say, a tester for the workbench. :roll: I think I'd describe the "shavings" as chips - chunky, hand-cut, beef steak style chips... :shock: :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

johnjin

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Hi Mike
A great review, and informative as well.
I expected to see Alf written at the bottom of it and got a bit of a shock seing your name. Carry on like that and you will be giving Alf some serious competition in the plane review stakes.
A well written review.

Best wishes

John
 

Midnight

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KeithS wrote
Sounds like a "must have" to me; now all I've got to do is save up and find some more space on the wall to keep it.
Keith.. if your primary stock is roughsawn as opposed to 2S2 or 4S4, this should be a MUST have tool... it's not about finesse... it's about producing a surface that's flat(ish), level(ish) and doing it quickly.... the speed that it can take cup out of a board is impressive... I wouldn't put it too high on your wall, you'll be reaching for it often...

Newbie_Neil wrote
From your description of the waste it sounds as though it could be enhanced with a dust extraction port.
Neil.. I kid you not.. the size and heft of these chips (nice term btw Alf :wink: ) would trash your average DC's impeller in no time, not to mention the havoc they're wreak with the bag. definitely a job for the Mk1 handraulic brush...

Tony wrote
Then I remebered I have a P/T and no spare cash
Tony... I reckon that even in a totally Normites' shop <glances at Neil> there's a strong argument to have a decent scrub plane. Taking the worst of the defects out of a board prior to letting it loose on the power toys would not only save the blades some abuse, but get the job done faster too....
Go onnnnnnnnnnnn ya know ya want oneeeeee.... :wink:


Philly wrote
I'm begining to worry about the membership here-how long before we start dressing up like the folk at Colonial Williamsberg?
Philly... buddy... if wearin knee length knickers an white stockings makes you a better woodworker... you go right ahead bud... Ahem.... :wink:
< bettin his eyes water when the garters let go with a snap...

SimonA wrote
Did you find it much cheaper to import it from the States once you had paid postage and tax or was it just because you couldn't get on e from this country?
Simon... to be honest, I didn't really hunt around for alternative suppliers; when I saw that Axminster didn't stock them, I went straight to the L-N site not only to get the Scrub plane, but I wanted a couple of improved chip breakers too. All told, purchase+shipping+VAT&inspection charge, I still had change from £170.... I reckon that if Axminster started to stock the whole range, the prices would be comparable.

Mike.C wrote
You couldn't phone SWMBO could you, just to convince her how much better my work would be if she released the funds for a Lie-Nielsen or two?
Mike... I doubt I'd have more persuasive powers than you, but I reckon that my improved techniques and understanding are directly attributable to working with tools that are "fit for purpose". I started out with a Record and a couple of Stanleys.. got nowhere with em and for the life of me I couldn't figure what the prob was; couldn't tell how much was bad tool and how much bad technique... even tuning them didn't help much. That doubt went out the window with my first L-N. Simply knowing that the tool is more than capable of doing the task at hand is a massive confidence booster, not to mention time saver as it takes all the guesswork out of the equation. To date, every one of my L-N's had backed up this theory, the quality in the boards I'm able to produce thesedays is evidence to that.

Alf wrote
Fun these scrub planes, aren't they? But as you say, a tester for the workbench.
Fun...... yea.... :lol: but it's a vicious lil pipper Eh..?? I really gotta get somethin done about that bench though.... I reckon easily 50% of the effort I'm puttin into it is lost through chasin the damn thing up an down the shop... :roll:

johnjin wrote
Carry on like that and you will be giving Alf some serious competition in the plane review stakes.
John.... thank you......and ALL of you for the kind words... but I canna see the day when I give Alf a run for her money... I doubt I'll ever have that kinda depth of experience beneath me, much less that size of colle.... er .....selection behind me...
But if I can help someone avoid the same mistakes I've made in my ignorance by giving a grunts' eye view of things handraulic.... that's thanks enough for me.... It's kinda enlightening in a way, discovering the capability in these tools and realising that back in the days before elictrickery ruled the shop, them auld guys... they knew a thing or two...
 

Alf

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Midnight":37ep9e9d said:
to be honest, I didn't really hunt around for alternative suppliers; when I saw that Axminster didn't stock them, I went straight to the L-N site
Tilgear stocks virtually all the range. I've never quite understood why Axminster doesn't.

Midnight":37ep9e9d said:
but I canna see the day when I give Alf a run for her money... I doubt I'll ever have that kinda depth of experience beneath me, much less that size of colle.... er .....selection behind me...
Ha! So that's what I've been treading in; my depth of experience... I thought that was just all the rust. :shock: :lol: S'funny really; I knew sweet FA not that long ago, and I could strongly argue that things haven't changed much! :roll: Anyway, Mike, you're Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of me in your colle - er, selection of L-Ns. :p In fact, better start reviewing all the others eh...? :twisted:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Over here the term for the "shavings" is Fritos which are thick, curly corn chips.

Good review, Mike. I knew you'd love the plane.
 
A

Anonymous

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My woodworking classes were over 30 years ago, and I'm familiar with jack and smoothing planes - but I've never come across a scrub plane before!

Andrew
 

Alf

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HandyMac":b31pme9h said:
My woodworking classes were over 30 years ago, and I'm familiar with jack and smoothing planes - but I've never come across a scrub plane before!
Andrew,

I'm not surprised, 'tis the 'Murrican influence again I think. It's roots are more continental I believe, and although they were offered for sale in this country there just isn't (wasn't?) the tradition of using them so they're not that frequently found. Certainly not the metal ones, although you do occasionally find the wooden "Bismark" type. I've always put it down to us having gone through the times of plentiful wood when the adze was the stock reducer of choice, and by the time the scrub came on the scene wood supplies were much lower so we've tended more towards sawing boards to size, rather than wasting wood by scrubbing them down. It's a theory anyway. :)

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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Tilgear stocks virtually all the range
Alf...
A quick search showed that TIlgear's absence of a (proper) website is legendary.. how do I contact them?? Do they have a catalogue...????
 

Alf

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Mike,

They do indeed have a catalogue. You can call them on 01707 873434, Monday to Friday only IIRC. They're also legendary in their old-fashioned approach to commerce... :roll:

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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They're also legendary in their old-fashioned approach to commerce...
They do have Visa......right..??????

<starting to think it's easier dealing with HM Customs...
 

Chris Knight

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Midnight":19r58qff said:
They do have Visa......right..??????
Yes, but only recently!

To be fair to them, they do have some good prices and their mail order service works well. Their shop is fun to visit and they have stuff there you never knew you needed until you see it!
 

Midnight

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they have stuff there you never knew you needed until you see it!
Ahhhhhhh... one o' them stores huh..??
I have another that fits that description here; Grampian Power Tools, a veritable Aladin's cave of treasure. Maybe it's a good thing there's a bit of distance between Tigear and here; SWMBO would cruicify me if I came back with a haul like Adam's..

I'll get in touch with them, get a catalogue ordered and see how their prices are..
 
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