Bed Rocks From Abroad


How do new imported smoothing planes compare to a Lie-Nielsen or Clifton?
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 56-58

From the June 2009 issue #176
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Thanks to the success of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and Veritas at building premium handplanes, it’s no surprise that someone would start manufacturing Bed Rock-style handplanes in the Far East.

Bed Rock handplanes were Stanley’s premium line of tools, and the Bed Rocks had a number of improvements to ensure they were stable and easy to adjust.

Lie-Nielsen in Maine and Clifton in England took many of the ideas from the now-expired 1895 Bed Rock patents to develop their own premium planes. And Lie-Nielsen and Clifton also set out to improve on Stanley’s designs with better materials and machining, plus improvements to the tool’s chipbreakers and irons.

Now Woodcraft and Japan Woodworker have introduced their own versions of Bed Rock planes that look a lot like the Lie- Nielsen tools, but at less than half the price. To find out how these Chinese-made planes performed, we purchased a No. 4 smoothing plane from each catalog. I decided to test smoothing planes because they are the fussiest planes to set up and would test these tools to their limits.

Online Extra

To view a video about materials used in plane construction, click here.


From the June 2009 issue #176
Buy this issue now