In the great battle to make the best router plane (what, you weren’t aware of the war?), Lie-Nielsen has raised the stakes by introducing two new closed-throat routers.
For those of you who don’t follow router plane minutiae like I do, the throat of a router plane can be either open or closed. Closed-throat routers, as shown in the photo above, are ideal for working on the edges of boards. Open-throat routers, see them here on Lie-Nielsen’s web site, don’t work on edges but they do offer a bit more more visibility in front of the tool.
Until now, Veritas offered only a closed-throat router; Lie-Nielsen offered only an open-throat one. (Side note: Stanley offered both kinds of routers during the time it made this plane.)
So your choice of tool was dictated by whether you wanted an open-throat tool or a closed one.
Now you have more choices.
The two Lie-Nielsen routers are virtually the same as the closed-throat version, except the throat of course. It still includes a rarely used fence – just like the Veritas – and has all the same controls and uses all the same size blades and adapters offered by Lie-Nielsen.
For me, these new routers made the choice between Lie-Nielsen and Veritas a real toss-up. I’ve always preferred closed-throat routers for the occasional time I needed to clean out the end of a stopped groove in a rail or stile. But for years I preferred the depth stop on the Lie-Nielsen because it was faster and simpler. But this year Veritas introduced a new depth stop that works extremely well – you can upgrade yours for free here.
So it’s now a dead heat – make your choice based on your brand loyalty or on aesthetics.
The new Lie-Nielsen routers will be available starting in January 2012. I don’t have any information on pricing yet.
Coming soon: Plow plane wars.
— Christopher Schwarz
Hey, get a resolution for the new year. Allow me to recommend one: Learn to sharpen your handsaws and backsaws. It ain’t hard. Housewright Ron Herman has the best DVD on the topic, “Sharpen Your Handsaws,” which you can get here in the store. And I have it on very good authority that he has a follow-up DVD coming on tuning your saws.
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