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