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Lie Nielsen Tool event
plane, old tools, woodwork, galoot
On Saturday morning I was able to see, handle, and use some of the finest hand tools for woodworking that have ever been made. I went to the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I mentioned this on Monday. It more than met my expectations.

I got to use a Low Angle Jack Plane. This is one of their best-known products. Lie-Nielsen stays close to the original Stanley plane designs, but with modern metallurgy and engineering their products are actually superior to the originals. This is particularly true of the Low Angle Jack Plane: The original is often chipped around the mouth. This plane, or its Lee Valley counterpart, is the next large plane I would like to get.

There was a Christopher Schwarz video about sharpening cabinet scrapers, similar to what he presented in this article. After seeing that I watched one of the Lie-Nielsen demonstrators work with one of their scraper planes (a scraper in a plane body. She said that you sharpen the blade just like an ordinary plane iron, except at a steeper (45o) angle. No need to turn a burr. This was the sort of thing I was hoping to learn. I have an old Stanley scraper plane and was wondering what to do with it.

I watched her sharpen the plane blade. She used waterstones, and the same cheap honing guide that I have here. There are much more expensive guides on the market, but if this one is good enough for Lie-Nielsen, it is good enough for me. I did notice her technique: She only touched the blade edge to the stone while pulling it toward her. She lifted it on the return. She also used David Charleworth's ruler trick, so she did not have to flatten the entire back of the blade.

She also used a small hammer for adjusting the position of the blade. This is something I had associated with wooden planes, but apparently it can be used on some metal ones as well.

I also saw a demonstration of L-N's Butt Mortise Plane. This a very specialized tool, but there a lot of doors in the world, and this is another way to cut out the mortises for the hinges.

The night before I had watched a Roy Underhill video. Roy's guest was Brian Boggs. Brian has designed some of the spokeshaves sold by L-N. I recognized them in the tools on display and one of the demonstrators confirmed my observation. She has also met Roy Underhill and said that he is just as hyper in person as on television.

As I wrote on Monday, Lie-Nielsen tools are not cheap. Somebody asked about one of the tools on display and Mike Siemsen explained that it was a beading tool, "because when your wife finds out how much you spent on it she will draw a bead on you."

There were three demonstrators from Lie-Nielsen, all young women. The visitors were almost all older men. L-N was selling their tools at the show. As I watched one of the demonstrators ring up another sale, it occurred to me that I was watching three young women separating a bunch of older men from a lot of their money :-)>


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