Lie Nielsen No. 4 Bronze Bench Plane

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Stanley No. 4 Smooth Plane

Specifications
Body Material: Cast Iron
Length: 9"
Cutter Width: 2"
Rating:
   
 

Review

If you are going to only own two bench planes, the No. 4 size should definitely be one of them. This was Stanley's most popular size of smooth plane, and this was not by accident, the No. 4 is a very practical size. Since there were so many of these planes produced, they're inexpensive and easy to come by.

Since this plane was probably produced in the Thirties or possibly later, the condition of the plane will ultimately determine its usefulness in the shop. My plane is in good working order. The knob and the tote (rear handle) have no cracks, the plane body is flat and free of cracks and the frog is in nice working order. I happened to purchase mine on Ebay. I'd looked around at a few antique stores in the area and but I've never had very good luck finding good useable planes at a reasonable price. For some reason antique stores wanted top dollar for cracked or otherwise useless planes. I've had great luck buying planes on Ebay and would recommend it over buying a new plane made by Stanley.

Woodworkers can appreciate the wood knob and tote on planes like this. This plane was made before Stanley started putting plastic knobs and totes on their planes. I feel confident in stating that rosewood is better suited for the job than plastic. This plane unfortunately has been refinished with some heavy polyurethane on it so this this plane is essentially has the knob and tote covered in plastic.

The cutter that came with the plane worked just fine. However, since the No. 4 and No. 5 both use the same cutter, I decided to spring for the Hock blade to share with my No. 5. The added thickness and hardness of the Hock blade will definitely improve the performance of the plane.

If there is anything about the plane that I don't like, it would have to be the knob to adjust the cutting depth. There is so much play that it makes adjusting the depth a little tricky. Have you ever driven a car that took a quarter turn before it starts to turn? My plane feels a bit like that. When hundredths of an inch matter, this can be frustrating. My Lie-Nielsen version of this plane does not suffer this affliction.

With the Hock blade that I purchased for this plane it would deserve a 5 out of 6 rating, but I'm not rating the Hock blade.

Overall Rating 4 out of 6.

 

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