Apparently, Hell has frozen over as I bought a Lie-Nielsen plane. I never thought I would own one as restoring old Stanley’s is my gig but, I found this at an antique mall and couldn’t resist even though I already own a Stanley No 140 Rabbet Plane.
The two planes are very similar to eachother with the biggest difference is that L-N is a low angle plane. The other differences is that L-N has a thicker blade made from A2 tool steel, a cutter on the side to slice the wood fibers when using it across the grain, and a fence. This plane’s fence was missing so, I contacted Lie-Nielsen to see if a replacement fence could be bought. They told me to send them a picture of the plane to make sure it is the current version they produce. After they saw the picture I sent, they informed me that their fence probably won’t work as my plane is the earlier version. Oh well, I never wished my Stanley No 140 had a fence so maybe I would never use it anyway.
The planes are nearly identical in size as well, with Lie-Nielsen being a touch smaller. However, the Lie-Nielsen is a little bit heavier since it’s made of bronze as opposed to cast iron. The Lie-Nielsen feels much nicer in your hand. You can tell the difference in quality between the two as soon as you hold it.
I wanted to see the difference of how each plane cuts, so I grabbed a piece of white pine and chopped a rabbet on the end. I then planed the rabbet clean with each plane.
The Lie-Nielsen cut extremely well as it shaved the wood fibers like butter. Lie-Nielsen planes are extremely well made and worth the extra money if you’re not interested in restoring old Stanley planes.
My tuned up Stanley No 140 also cut the wood fibers well. Not quite as nice as Lie-Nielsen but well enough to get the job done. You can see the shavings between the two planes are nearly identical. My Stanley No has user made bronze lever cap. It works so I never replaced it with a real lever cap. I’m cheap!
So, which is better? Lie-Nielsen wins hands down however, the price of the plane is nearly triple than that of a Stanley No 140 plane. You can find old Stanley No 140’s on eBay for around $100-150. Lie-Nielsen lists their No 140 for $385 on their website but is currently out of stock. Some used Lie-Nielsen No 140 planes have sold on eBay for over $500.
Whether or not the Lie-Nielsen is worth the extra money is up to you. Honestly, if I was a professional woodworker, I would buy Lie-Nielsen planes and depreciate their expense on my income statements. Being able to depreciate your tools is one of the nice benefits of being a pro. It’s no wonder why Lie-Nielsen tools are on backorder.