This is the first of a series of posts I’m planning to write about my favorite tools that I use while making my guitars. Having and using nice hand tools is just one of the many great parts of being a luthier.
One of my favorite and most used tools in my guitar shop, is my Lie-Neilson Bronze Low Angle Block Plane
I first got this little bronze block plane about 8 or 9 years ago, and it was instantly my favorite tool. I use it for just about anything even remotely applicable. It holds an edge forever and is just the right size. I’m not endorsed by Lie-Nielson, however I am a huge fan of their tools.
The blade on this low angle block plane is A-2 Tool Steel hardened to Rockwell 60-62, cryogenically treated and double tempered, which to me seems to be just right for holding the edge. It has a pretty tight angle on the blade and it still holds an edge very well which is a pretty big accomplishment given the abuse I put it through. It also holds up to my everyday bad habits which include freehand sharpening (guesstimating the angle with no guide or holder) on sandpaper that’s just laying on the steel table of my belt sander. I’ve tried all those fancy sharpening stones but this is my quick and effective way to draw up a great razor sharp edge in only about 2 minuets and get back to work.
The Plane Body
The curved shape of the bronze plane body is also really perfect for my hand and the low angle and blade position is a must for what I do since it helps to plane through figured wood (which is essentially like planing end-grain). The mouth of this block plane is very tight so when I take a very thin cut it further reduces the amount of tear-out I get in figured wood or in wood with grain running in a less than ideal direction.
To be honest I can’t think of anything bad to say about this tool, I love it and plan to use it for the rest of my career and hopefully pass it on to my sons one day when I’m gone. So that’s it, I just wanted to share about this great Bronze block plane by Lei Nielson that I use everyday to make my guitars.
If you liked this post, have comments, or have suggestions for other things you would like to see me write about here, please leave a comment below, I look forward to hearing from you!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 5:47 pm
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