Lie Nielsen Jack Plane - No. 5 1/2

lie nielsen jack plane 5 1/2
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Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 Plane Review By: I.Ball

Category: New Jack Planes

Manufacturer: Lie Nielsen

Plane Type: Jack

Model No: 5 1/2


This Lie Nielsen plane review is about the Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 from the Lie Nielsen bench plane range.

The 5 1/2 is a 377mm (14 3/4 inch) long plane which is supplied ready to use straight from the box (minor adjustments may be need to suit individual users).

The Lie Nielsen number 5 1/2 plane has a stress relieved ductile iron body which is ground flat and square. Ductile iron is a very tough material which can handle a lot. The stress relieving process helps ensure the tool remains to be flat and true through its long life.

lie nielsen plane 5 1/2

The plane is equipped with a frog, lateral lever, depth adjuster, blade, cap iron, lever cap, wooden rear handle and front knob.

The Lie Nielsen number 5 1/2 plane is based upon the popular Stanley Bedrock 5 1/2 plane design with a few Lie-Nielsen branding and material differences.

The plane has the Bedrock shaped sides which incorporates the flattened edge on the raised part of the sides.

The Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 has a manganese bronze frog which has been made in the form of the Stanley Bedrock frog design. The frog design allows the user to adjust the frog position without the need to remove the plane blade and cap.

Moving the frog position in effect sets the mouth anywhere from a fine mouth for fine smoothing, to an open mouth for coarse work.

lie nielsen plane 5 1/2

This adjustment is carried out by turning the 'frog adjustment screw' located at the base of the rear of the frog, directly below the brass 'blade depth adjuster wheel'.

Note: ensure to unscrew the two 'frog securing screws' either side of the frog adjustment screw before making adjustments.

The standard Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 frog has a 45 degree face , therefore the blade is set at a 45 degree angle.

The frog also incorporates the flat face design which is another popular feature from traditional iron plane designs as it can help reduce chatter.

The 5 1/2 is supplied with a 61mm (2 3/8") wide plane blade made from A2 cryogenically treated steel. This treatment ensures the plane blade holds a good edge for a longer time than most lower-cost plane blades.

The blade is 3.5mm thick, which is much thicker than most traditional plane blades such as the blades on the Stanley 5 1/2 planes. This nice thick blade helps to eliminate chatter.

lie nielsen plane no 5 1/2

The blade and cap iron are secured in position on the frog with the use of a manganese bronze lever cap.

The plane's lateral blade adjusting lever is located just behind the top of the blade / at the top of the frog. This lever pivots side-to-side which in turn adjusts the cutter side-ways; this is useful for aligning the blade to ensure it is not skewed.

The plane's blade depth adjuster is a notch on the front face of the frog, just below the bottom of the lateral lever. This notch locates with a gap in the plane blade and is controlled by the brass adjusting wheel found at the rear of the frog.

The depth at which the blade is set is adjusted by turning the adjusting wheel, this in turn regulates the thickness of the shavings. Turning the adjusting wheel towards the frog raises the blade, and turning in the opposite direction towards the rear handle moves the blade downwards.

Note: ensure the lever cap is loosened before making adjustments to avoid damage.

The plane is finished with a hand shaped Cherry rear handle and front knob.

The Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 is supplied in a brown cardboard box with the Lie Nielsen logo on it 'Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Inc, Heirloom Quality Tools'.

Cautions / Notes

* Important: please refer to the 'disclaimer' at the foot of this review.
* Wearing safety clothing and eye protection is usually a good idea to help protect against injury.

- The blade(s)/cutter(s) is very sharp, take suitable precautions when using/handling/storing the plane/cutter(s) to prevent injury.

- Failure to loosen parts when making adjustments to the plane can result in damage to the plane such as cross-threading screw threads. Never force a part to move.

- Overtightening parts can cause damage to the plane and the plane threads.

Plane Construction

lie nielsen 5 1/2

Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 Plane Dimensions

Plane Length: 377mm (14 3/4 inch)

Plane Width: 71mm (2 3/4 inch)

Frog Blade Bed (standard): 45 degrees

Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 Plane Materials

Body: stress relieved ductile iron

Frog: manganese bronze

Lever Cap: manganese bronze

Handle and Knob: cherry

Plane finish: black

Lie Nielsen 5 1/2 Plane Blade / Cutter

Material: A2 (cryo treated, double tempered to Rockwell 60-62)

Width: 61mm (2 3/8 inch)

Blade Thickness: 3.5mm

Blade Bevel: 25 degrees

Top Of Blade Shape: square

Hardness: 60-62 Rockwell C

Construction Origin: USA

Plane Markings

"Lie Nielsen" - found at the very front of the plane.

"No 5 1/2" - found at the front of the plane between the plane mouth and front knob.

"USA" - found at the rear of the plane

"Lie Nielsen" - found on the blade

Optional Extras

Lie Nielsen Frog - 50 Degrees (York Pitch) - for more difficult grain

Lie Nielsen Frog - 55 Degrees (Middle Pitch) - for really difficult grain

Manufactured Dates

2004 - Today

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- Lie-Nielsen Tool Works Inc.


(i) Please always refer to and follow the manufacturer's instructions / guidelines / safety notices / cautions and similar notices as the manufacturer's instructions may contain important information on safety, personal safety and the good health of your tool, something to which this review's scope does not guarantee to extend to.
(ii) This review may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith however any such information should not be solely relied upon and should not be seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to disclaimer note (i) for information on safety, as well as the good health of your tool. In addition refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(iii) The details here are given in good faith, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please be aware the details may also become out of date due to manufacturer changes to the product, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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