Chris Schwarz's Blog

Lie-Nielsen to Make a No. 51 Chute-board Plane

After years of development, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is planning on making a No. 51 chute-board plane that should be released in the first quarter of 2010, Thomas Lie-Nielsen says.

Tool collectors and users have been requesting this rare tool for many years, and Lie-Nielsen has found a way to produce it by using many existing parts and a new ductile-iron body casting. A vintage No. 51 should set you back $300 to $450, according to tool seller Tony Murland. Lie-Nielsen expects the price of his new No. 51 to be somewhere in the range of $425 to $475.

The No. 51 is an unusual skew-blade plane that is designed to be used on a shooting board to trim miters or the ends of boards. The base casting is L-shaped. This shape allows the tool to be used easily and accurately on its side and to be captured effectively in a track on a shooting board.

Of course, what collectors and users are wondering is if Lie-Nielsen will manufacture the No. 52 , which is the No. 51 chute-board plane plus a heavy metal shooting board with a quadrant and a hold-down.

The answer is: Yes, eventually. Lie-Nielsen says the massive shooting board base would be tricky to make in iron, so he thinks they’ll use steel. The board by itself will cost somewhere between $500 and $700.

Lie-Nielsen says the plan is to offer plans for a wooden version of the shooting board, plus sell the quadrant and hold-down separately so that users can make their own board for less. The quadrant sets the angle of your work; the hold-down keeps it in place. Patrick Leach’s Blood and Gore site has photos and details on the vintage tool.

Right now the company is working out final details of the tool to get its weight just right , the original tool was too light, and a beefed-up version that used a 2-3/8″ frog was too heavy.

Lie-Nielsen also mentioned that he’s hired a new product-development specialist at the toolworks so he can get more new products into the pipeline faster , including the long-awaited No. 72 chamfer plane.

– Christopher Schwarz

18 thoughts on “Lie-Nielsen to Make a No. 51 Chute-board Plane

  1. Kurt Schmitz

    Economics 101. Perfect information in the marketplace regarding product quality, alternatives and pricing vs. what it is you’re willing to pay. All this in context of what else it is you could have or have to give up (opportunity cost). Ford or BMW? Your choice, but they both go down the same roads and get you where you want to go. A Titleist Pro Titanium 905R driver sells for $399 – I have a Pinseeker ($35) that gets me down the fairway just fine AND I have money left for a few remanufactured handplanes. The butchers, bakers and candlestick makers will pursue markets and products where they see opportunity, and at no expense to you.

  2. Jed Came

    I would venture to guess that Mike does not own nor has ever used a LN tool. I think if he did his opinion would be very different on the subject. I felt the prices were high at one time as well, that is until I got my paws on one.My point is, Don’t knock it till ya tried it dude!!!
    Jed from Bama

  3. Greg H.

    Mike and others,

    I find that my expenditures on my Lie-Nielsen tools are a mere fraction of what I might spend if I played golf…., and I also get to make nice things for my wife and family.

    Thomas, keep the products coming!

  4. Derek Cohen

    Using a shooting plane that runs "captured" on a board such as the #52 is an advantage over other shooting boards. This removes the necessity to similtaneously push the plane forward (to cut) and sideways (against the side of the platform). All you need to do is push forward. Not only is this less fatiguing, but is more accurate.

    The advantage of a #51 shooting plane over the #9 is that the former has a skewed blade. This makes a significant difference, lowering the effective cutting angle and adding a slicing action.

    Now my Ultimate Shooting Board would be a ramped version of the #52! (Perhaps the LN plan may be adapted thus?) A slight (4-5%) ramp does not create a true skew cut, but it does enough to smooth the cutting action (going from a flat to a ramped board will quickly demonstrate this). The best cutting action is when I use my #51 shooting plane on my wooden ramped shooting board (further emphasizing the advantage of a skewed cut). Still, I return to the #52 shooting board since it makes the process of shooting much, much easier.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  5. rick

    Lie-Nielsen says the plan is to offer plans for a wooden version of the shooting board, plus sell the quadrant and hold-down separately so that users can make their own board for less. The quadrant sets the angle of your work; the hold-down keeps it in place…Pleas make it work with…The Iron Miter Plane is based on Stanley’s No. 9. I am guessing a narrow track would be the only difference,

  6. Christopher Schwarz

    Mike,

    I’m always bewildered by comments such as yours. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If others feel the same way, then Adam Smith’s hand will slap the good people of Maine for their transgression.

    One thing to keep in mind from someone who has covered this business for a long time: People laughed at Lie-Nielsen when he came out with a $125 block plane. I mean who would pay $150 for a the most common as dirt tool in the world?

    Then they laughed at him when he came out with bench planes. These are a dime a dozen!

    Will the market support him? I don’t know. Let’s find out.

    Chris

  7. www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkSn0wy6ikZuJjz8QR5TWpyLHnZkLocIhY

    I realize that LN must introduce new products to keep his business going BUT do we really need this plane or its $425 – $475 board to use it on? A thousand dollars to shoot miters, shoot me if I spend this much money. I mean, give me a break. TLN is smoking too much of his shavings; as are the folks laying out their money for these extravagances. Maybe LN should concentrate on lowering his prices a bit instead of focusing on a new product no one really needs (like a $90 hammer). These tools and their even more expensive, as in multiples of thousands, are purely vanity tools. there is no way to just a pay back on their cost. Too many woodworking magazines are way to enamored with LN to say the "emperor is wearing any cloths".

    Mike

  8. Dennis

    I’m just so happy there is an outlet for me to indulge in a $90 hammer. This development is too much for me to bear.

  9. Derek Cohen

    Dano, rotate the plane to to the left. It is currently lying on the sole (which, when in use, lies vertical to the left of the plane).

    Pity I can’t post images here …

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. Dano

    Is the photo of the ‘prototype’ reversed?

    Seems all the pictures of #51s I’ve seen had the sole to the left of tote in use.

    Or perhaps my memory is failing. 🙁

  11. Patrick

    Hi Chris, this sounds great, but I would have thought that more requests would have been forwarded for a resurrection of either the #39 dado planes or #50 plough/beading plane. Perhaps just my wishful thinking.

    Regards
    Patrick

  12. Derek Cohen

    Hi Chris

    Very exciting! I have a #51/52, and I recall discussing the proposed design of the LN version of the #51 with Thomas LN a few years ago. As I understand, the frog was going to be taken from a #6.

    For those that are not intimate with the #51/52, the heart of the plane is the frog. It is not simply that this is skewed – it is that the traditional design/concept by Stanley of this plane did not overcome the stresses in this area, and the design was poor. There are many #51 floating around with busted and welded frogs (like mine, which works very well now, but did not when I got it). These frogs cannot be replaced with parts from other Stanley planes as this frog was unique to the #51. LN’s response to this is very reassuring in that it will be assured to last. It also strikes me that this is perhaps the first modification that LN have made to a Stanley design ..?

    Any idea about the dimensions of the LN #51 plane? Perhaps I can buy the plane to use on my existing #52!

    If anyone is interested in the ins-and-outs of the Stanley #51/52, there is an article on restoring it on my website.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  13. Greg

    I have talked to the Lie-Nielsen people on the phone when I have placed recent orders,and have also been told that they are working on a plough plane. I was also told that a set of dado planes are also being developed. I look forward to these new items.

    Greg H

  14. Bill Satko

    Recent rumors of a plough plane and now this. I keep visiting their website to see if they have the "coming soon" 1/2" tongue and groove plane available yet. Apparently "coming soon" is measured in months not weeks as I first thought. They really know how to torture someone with anticipation.

  15. Lyle

    Neat! However, I will stick with my existing 4 1/2 smoothing plane for shooting. I do plan on making a shooting board so the the quadrant and hold-down will come in handy. Any idea as to when those would be available?

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