Adriana got me one woodworking gift for Christmas this year, but it was a really good and useful one. I had been asking for a hand plane that I could use in corners. She splurged and got me the specific one I had hoped for, a Lie-Nielsen Rabbet Block Plane with Nicker, Number 1-60-1-2R-N. Boy, what a mouthful. But it's a beauty, and for the price, it works just as you would expect. I did touch up the sharpness out of the box, but I really didn't need to.
As with all of Lie-Nielsen tools, they're traditionalists. Unlike Lee Valley, they don't seem to feel the need to improve on the classics. It's got an impressive heft, and it's wicked sharp. The blade is a custom shape with flanges on each side to extend out into the rabbet corners at each edge. The nickers are round blades screwed into each side of the blade. As shipped, they come with a flattened section facing down so you're not apt to cut yourself when first handling it. One of the only criticisms I could really come up with for this tool is that it is a bit tricky to loosen the screw and tighten it down in a way that the sharp edge is down.
It's clear from the shape that this is intended for lighter planing that the use to which I initially put it. I know there are larger planes for doing full, long rabbets, but I had a job for it, namely cutting rabbets on the case back of my jewelry armoire project. The block plane size was a bit small for this application, but it will be perfect for smaller details and doing smaller parts, such as boxes and drawers.
It's adjustment controls are slightly awkward to use, but held in place firmly when set. I was able to quickly set the blade for, first, a rather thick cut so I could get down quickly to my intended rabbet depth. Then, when necessary, I quickly adjusted it so it was creating paper thin finishing cuts. As with all Lie-Nielsen planes, it does paper thin cuts that are worth of the finest Japanese steel.
The best part of the whole thing was realizing the it fit perfectly into an existing slot in the plane till in my wallhanging tool cabinet. Sweet! A place for everything in its place. So now I've got the bronze block plane, the rabbet plane with nicker, the No. 5 with the high frog and the medium shoulder plane. I guess the Boggs spokeshave could also count. If I'm not careful, my well-considered agnosticism between LN and LV will go out of whack in favor of the boys in Maine. Maybe my next Christmas list needs a nice LV low angle No. 7. Yes. Yes, I think so. . . . :-)