As I get comfortable using only hand tools in my woodworking hobby I’m beginning to have a lot of fun. I suppose that’s why people do it. In years gone by I used to have a full power tool shop where I could knock out large, complex woodworking projects in no time at all. That was 25 years ago in Ferguson, MO, with a good size basement that I could use.
Today I’m in a 10′ x20′ apartment with limited resources and space. I can still enjoy the thrill of making things with my hands and be proud of the finished projects. I just need to scale down and utilize my greatest luxury, time. I have every minute of every day for the rest of my retirement life to get stuff done. As long as I’m still enjoying myself, I’ll continue in that line of work.
To that end I continue building my tool set to make projects easier and more precise with a few very good hand tools. I’ve been doing my homework concerning bench planes I can use for shooting boards to exact dimensions, totally square & straight. The longer the plane the better the results when using a plane shooting board, a homemade jig built to use a hand plane. Three manufacturers are in the running for my money, Woodriver, Veritas and Lie-Nielsen.
The Woodriver #62 Low Angle Jack Plane is 14″ Long, 2″ Blade, 4.6 lbs and sells for $200. It’s made in China.
The Veritas #62 1/2 Low Angle Jack Plane is 15″ Long, 2.1/4″ Blade, 5 lbs 12 oz and sells for $245. It’s made in Canada.
The Lee-Nielsen #62 Low Angle Jack Plane is 14″ Long, 2″ Blade, 4.55 lbs and sells for $245. It is made in Warren, MA USA.
Both the Veritas and Lie-Nielsen planes are high quality tools with the edge going to Lee Nielson. Here’s how they break down.
The Woodriver planes are highly touted by a number of online woodworking YouYube sites such as Rob Cosman at http://www.robcosman.com, and Shannon Rogers at http://www.renaissancewoodworker.com. I respect the opinions of both these traditional woodworkers with decades of experience. Both run woodworking schools and review tools on their YouTube sites as well as on their online home pages.
Veritas is a Canadian company making and selling a large variety of tools for woodworkers. Their bench planes are of a very high quality and their plane blades are second to none. They are held to a high standard demanding a premium price. http://www.leevalley.com/us/HARDWARE/page.aspx?cat=1&p=41182
Lee-Nielsen tools are heirloom quality, made in Warren, Maine by American workers that pride themselves in their designs, craftsmanship and quality. I have already purchased a low angle bronze block plane as well as a small router plane from them. Both are wonderful tools. I’ve gotten excellent service and fast delivery times on both products from this vendor.
So, which way am I leaning on my next big purchase? I buy American and love quality workmanship and customer service. The Veritas and Lie-Nielsen Jack planes are identically priced so that means for the $45 difference in price between the 3 competitors I’m sticking with Lie-Nielsen.