Lie Nielsen No. 4 Bronze Bench Plane

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Lie Nielsen Boggs Spokeshaves

Overall Length: 10"
Blade Width: 2"
Price: $125 each
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Lie Nielsen Boggs Spokeshave Review

If you are a spokeshave snob like me, these are a great addition to the collection. This pair of flat and curved spokeshaves works great and looks the part as well.

These spokeshaves were designed by chairmaker Brian Boggs. He is famous for his ladder back and woven chairs.

Manganese Bronze Body
The body of this plane is made of manganese bronze. It is used for the weight and hardness it provides. However, I'm sure that the good looks have something to do with it as well. While this alloy does not rust, it will tarnish. If it does tarnish you can use brass cleaner but I'd suggest you leave it on the tool so it looks like your tools are more than just decoration.

The bed of these spokeshaves are machined flat. This is a huge benefit to the user. No longer do you need to flatten the bed of a new tool. These are ready to use right out of the box. This compares to about 1 or 2 hours it might take to get a modern Stanley into decent shape.

The weight the bronze provides gives these tools a good heavy feel. This weight seems to keep the momentum of the shave going through more treacherous grain.

The mouth of these planes are very small. This is generally a good thing as it supports the wood being cut to virtually eliminate tear out. However, if you try to hog off too much material you will clog the throat with shavings. If you were so inclined, you could take a small mill file to enlarge the mouths of these shaves. I prefer to take light passes, so the mouth is just fine as long as I don't get greedy.

The sole of the curved spokeshave is said to be cut for a 5 inch radius. When you look at the sole of the spokeshave you'll realize that is a very gentle curve. For tighter curves the smaller all bronze spokeshave is a better option.

Hickory Handles
Before I used this spokeshave, I had some concern regarding the shape of the hickory handles. The handles are round. I thought this might not encourage good hand position. As it turns out, it's actually quite comfortable compared with the contoured metal handles on most Stanley or other common spokeshaves. A contoured handle only works if you are holding it as it was meant to be held. The wooden handles provide ample grip for these tools. Keep in mind that these tools are not flattening wide boards so flexible hand position is a good quality for a spokeshave.

Lie Nielsen does sell these with rosewood handles as well. If you feel the need for the extra expense, go for it. For me, hickory works just fine. Hickory is a very hard and shock resistant wood, these qualities make it great for all sorts of tool handles.

The blades are made of A2 cryogenically treated steel hardened to a Rockwell of 60-62 . This steel is very popular among tool manufacturers these days. I've had good experiences with this type of steel so I can only share my empirical evidence and can't back it up with any science, so lets just say that A2 is good steel. The blade is 2" wide and 1/8" thick. The thickness really separates this from my chattery little Stanley 151 spokeshave. These tools feel rock solid in use.

These tools do not disappoint. They are ready to use right out of the box. Even when compared to properly tuned up planes, these are beyond compare. Sure, they each cost as much as 4 or 5 inferior spokeshaves, but having a numerous inferior tools doesn't equal one good quality tool. I can only use one tool at a time so it may as well be the right one.

Overall Rating 6 out of 6.

If you like this spokeshave also look at the Lie-Nielsen Small Bronze Spokshave.

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