Amazing Tools #9: Lie-Nielsen planes

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 03-05-2010 09:56 PM 7808 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I think I need help. It’s happening. I cannot stop researching planes and workbenches lately. I don’t have room for a bench, nor money for any planes, but they’re just so enticing!

Lie-Nielsen has been the most attractive by far, but I find it staggering the number of planes available – 44 standards listed, with an additional 30 variants, not including left/right hand options for the few that have them (same price in each case). The bench plane model numbers (e.g. No. 5) correspond loosely to size, and go from 1 (5.5” long) through 8 (24” long), with 1, 2, and 8 being fairly uncommon, 5 being very popular, and 4, 6, and 7 being common. But then there are the halves, like 4-1/2 and 5-1/2, and there’s even a 5-1/4, and those aren’t exactly sizes sometimes. For example, 5-1/2 is about the length of the 5, but has the width of the 7. Then there are varied blade thicknesses and replaceable frogs with different angles, optional corrugated bottoms, a few different blade material choices, more for some planes than others, and even a variety of materials for the plane bodies of a few models, typically iron or bronze.

Anyway, ignoring my spinning head, I’ve been curious to know what the entire suite of Lie-Nelson planes – arguably the most comprehensive set of planes out there by a single company, many modeled on the old Stanley planes (great, in-depth resource on them here) – would cost. Would they all add up to a billion dollars? I dropped every plane listed on Lie-Nielsen’s site – even the weird ones, like the convex sole block plane, and the bronze beading tool and blade set (it’s a kind of plane) into a spreadsheet, then moved all the variants out of the way. Variants include non-default casting metal (i.e. bronze instead of iron for some, the reverse for others), corrugated base, HAF (High angle Frog) options, and for a couple of the scrapers and block planes, rodmaker’s grooves.

Adding up the 44 standard planes, we’re looking at spending $9,968. That’s actually a good deal less than I expected. It comes in under the $10k mark. I found myself daydreaming about winning some bizarre prize on a TV show that just happened to be all of these planes. I think I’m too lazy to care for even half that many. Planes require a bit of maintenance, after all.

If you’re curious, here is the full list of the standard-option planes compiled from their site:

No. 1 Bench Plane $225.00
No. 2 Bench Plane, Bronze $275.00
No. 3 Bench Plane, Bronze $325.00
No. 4 Smooth Plane, Bronze $350.00
No. 4 1/2 Smooth Plane $325.00
No. 5 Jack Plane $325.00
No. 5-1/4 Junior Jack Plane $285.00
No. 5-1/2 Bench Plane $375.00
No. 6 Fore Plane $375.00
No. 7 Jointer Plane $425.00
No. 8 Jointer Plane $475.00
No. 10-1/4 Bench Rabbet Plane $375.00
1/2-Inch Shoulder Plane $199.00
Small Shoulder Plane $165.00
Medium Shoulder Plane $195.00
Large Shoulder Plane $250.00
Side Rabbet Planes $225.00
Tongue and Groove Plane $195.00
Bronze Edge Plane $150.00
Large Chisel Plane $199.00
Small Chisel Plane $140.00
Bronze Beading Tool and Blade Set $175.00
Butt Mortise Plane $110.00
Scrub Plane $165.00
Small Router Plane $80.00
Large Router Plane $140.00
Small Scraping Plane, Bronze $175.00
Cabinet Maker’s Scraper $215.00
Large Scraping Plane $235.00
Model Maker’s Block Plane $75.00
Convex Sole Block Plane $95.00
Low Angle Block Plane $115.00
Iron Low Angle Block Plane $95.00
Standard Angle Block Plane $115.00
Skew Block Plane w/nicker $225.00
Skew Block Plane Iron w/nicker $195.00
Standard Angle Adjustable Mouth Block Plane $165.00
Low Angle Adjustable Mouth Block Plane $165.00
Rabbet Block Plane $165.00
Rabbet Block Plane w/Nicker $175.00
Low Angle Smoothing Plane $265.00
Iron Miter Plane $375.00
Low Angle Jack Plane $245.00
Low Angle Jointer $350.00

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

11 comments so far

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 5022 days

#1 posted 03-05-2010 10:02 PM

I dont think there is a single one of us that wouldn’t want Lie-Nielsen in our workshops mate your just lucky you have a $ sign and not the £ sign because what you pay in Dollars we pay in Pounds forget the exchange rate with these bad boys .

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4640 days

#2 posted 03-05-2010 10:06 PM

No problem. All you need to do is sell your car or take out a second mortgage. Very simple.

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

200 posts in 5585 days

#3 posted 03-05-2010 10:07 PM

Don’t forget about their wooden plane! It’s even affordable!

-- To do is to be

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4577 days

#4 posted 03-05-2010 10:22 PM

ROFL! Affordable wooden plane! Have to admit, it’s a bit cheaper than I thought it would be. But that list didn’t include any chisels.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View dvhart's profile


111 posts in 4346 days

#5 posted 03-05-2010 10:36 PM

I know the feeling of finding yourself driven to research something you know can’t lead anywhere good (or nowhere affordable anyway). I was doing drill presses and routers and router fences recently. I even did the drill press spreadsheet thing. I currently have a GROSS jack plane and stanly low angle block plane. Someday maybe my skills will merit a more subtle selection of planes, but for now it consists of “the big one or the small one” :-)

-- Darren

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 5240 days

#6 posted 03-05-2010 10:37 PM

Lie-Nielsen makes wonderful hand tools. I own the 4.5 HAF Smoother. It shaves with the best of them. However, one need not lust over them. You can often find equal quality tools for a fraction of the cost on EBay or I love my old Stanleys, Sargent and Union hand planes. All they needed was some TLC to get them back into shape. Save the $’s and restore and old plane and you will be just as happy.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4440 days

#7 posted 03-05-2010 10:47 PM

I hear you Gary. I was fool enough to order one of their catalogs. I think my family would actually be relieved if I had a collection of Playboys over the catalogs I have laying around here now. I’d like to get their shoulder plane. That is on my purchase list. More fun that the JC Penney toy catalog I used to look forward to when I was 8.



-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5059 days

#8 posted 03-05-2010 11:12 PM

now what I’d find interesting is what they would cost on ebay (both in mint condition and in user condition). Could you research that one for me? lol.

View LeeG's profile


40 posts in 4352 days

#9 posted 03-05-2010 11:17 PM

Very good timing on this post. I was going to be looking up all of the prices for the planes I that were part of my recent bulk purchase for insurance purposes – this saved me some effort.

They sure are very nice looking tools, but I don’t feel confident enough with my sharpening skills to try to sharpen them just yet. A fellow LJ I met at a recent LJ picnic we had has offered some hands-on experience which will certainly help.

-- Lee in Phoenix

View unisaw2's profile


210 posts in 4366 days

#10 posted 03-05-2010 11:44 PM

Yah, but after you spend the 10k, you will still need the Marking tools, Scrapers, Chisels, Inlay tools, and the Bench :)

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View MrHudon's profile


114 posts in 4541 days

#11 posted 03-06-2010 03:09 PM

Over the years Stanley produced somewhere around 600 different types of planes, if LN decides to reproduce all of them I think you’ll be close to that billion $$.

-- Mark,

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