This past Christmas my girlfriend bought me the plane I’ve been wanting to buy for myself for years, a Lie-Nielsen Bronze #4 Smoothing Plane. After using it for the past six months I couldn’t be happier. I have to admit, I’m in love with all tools made in Bronze. I find the color warming and feel of the metal as if it was forged to be placed in human hands.
Besides all the romantic notions of this tool, how does it perform? In a word – excellent. That however is dependent on the user. Some time ago I learned that if you don’t keep your tools sharp, it doesn’t matter how much they cost. At the end of every project I take note of the tools I used and add them to my list of items to either tune-up or sharpen.
With the plane blade finely sharpened, this plane is a dream come true. The weight is perfect. The handles feel good in your hand. In the end there is nothing more rewarding than the glass smooth finish it leaves you.
I tend do work a lot in Mahogany and Walnut, but I’ve also worked in Oak on many projects in my woodworking life. Before I start my next project in Oak, I will take a serious look at purchasing the 55 Degree High Angle Frog for what’s referred to as a Middle Pitch that is 5 Degrees higher than a York Pitch. The steeper the angle the easier it is to smooth difficult woods.
Of course, if I won the lottery, I might have one in all three Pitches. But to dream.