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Small Router PlanesOur router planes are loosely based on Stanley models, but many revisions of router planes have been made over the years.
The Lie-Nielsen 271 small router plane arrived inside the usual brown cardboard Lie-Nielsen Toolworks box. There was no instruction leaflet included with the plane which is not typical of products from Lie-Nielsen. The little Lie-Nielsen router plane shares the number 271 with the small router plane once produced by Stanley in significant numbers (Fig. The Lie-Nielsen 271 actually bears a striking resemblance to the Phelps small router plane (Fig.
The composition of the plane body and the blade is not specified on the Lie-Nielsen website and the absence of any instruction leaflet with the plane means that these details remain unclear. I measured a mass of about 210 grams when I weighed the fully assembled plane on my kitchen scales (hardly the most accurate instrument in the world).
The design of the Lie-Nielsen 271 is such that there is no sole area whatsoever along the centre line of the plane (Figs. Four blade configurations are possible with the little Lie-Nielsen thanks to the square blade post. Figure 12 shows that with the plane set in the bullnose configuration, the sole of the Lie-Nielsen 271 projects further than the tip of the blade.
My first test for the Lie-Nielsen 271 was to cut a recess for a 25mm brass butt hinge on the edge of a 12mm thick length of Tasmanian Oak. Balancing the little Lie-Nielsen router on the 12mm wide edge of the piece of wood did not present a problem.
Surprisingly, to me at least, the open mouth configuration of the plane proved advantageous while cutting the recess. The little router allowed me to complete a recess of accurate depth in a much more controlled manner than the chisel wielding methods I had previously employed.
Cleaning up the bottom of a shallow mortice, cut lengthwise into the edge of a piece of 19mm by 42mm radiata pine, was the next task to which I put the little router plane. With the scrap clamped in place the plane was an effective tool for quickly cleaning up the bottom of the mortice.
In my opinion the single blade hole of the Lie-Nielsen 271 is an improvement over the Stanley 271. Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Maine will sell you one of their small router planes for the sum of US$75. Readers of this review will have to decide for themselves whether or not they think that the Lie-Nielsen 271 is worth the money.
For those of you whom are not already familiar with the router plane, I’m sure the name could easily paint a picture of a tool with a spinning bit, possibly propelled by a hand crank.


The router planes, with smaller footprints, are very useful in smaller scale work, both in small joinery or inlays. All derive from the traditional, wood-bodied routers often referred to as the old woman’s tooth. Unusually, the plane specific printing that ordinarily appears on the end of a Lie-Nielsen plane box was in this case replaced by a sticker stating the model number of the plane. This method of wrapping appears to have replaced the Ferro-Pak paper wrapping that used to be the standard for items shipped from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. I can only assume that the Lie-Nielsen 271 shares DNA with other Lie-Nielsen hand planes and has a ductile cast iron body and an A2 tool steel blade.
The Lie-Nielsen 271 was then put into action removing the waste material to form the recess, working across rather than along the piece of Tassie Oak as shown in Figure 13. I completed the recess using three passes of the router plane, resetting the blade deeper after each pass until on the final pass the blade depth matched the thickness of one leaf of the hinges.
The curve of the handles guided my thumbs to a position towards the centre of the plane and my fingers to a position closer to the edges (Fig.
With the Lie-Nielsen you only have to loosen the thumbscrew to change the blade configuration from normal to bullnose. In my case I am confident that it will be a useful addition to my hand tool kit and will perform the tasks I had in mind for it when I placed my order.
The Lie-Nielsen and the Phelps are not identical, but the designs of the two planes are undeniably similar.
With the plane sitting on a flat surface, the distance from that surface to the underside of the little arch that forms the open mouth of the router is 8mm. This was a fairly quick and easy operation because the blade was quite well finished from the factory and its relatively small size meant that there was not much blade area that had to be worked on the stone.
When you consider what some second hand tool dealers charge for vintage small router planes I think the price of the Lie-Nielsen is quite reasonable, of course you could pick up a vintage Stanley 271 or Record 722 for a lot less via eBay or at a flea market or car boot sale. I am a bit of a fan of Lie-Nielsen hand tools, and own a few of their products, but I have tried not to let this cloud my judgement. Inside the box were the plane, a small leaflet stating that this particular plane was one of the first 100 No. With the plane sitting on a flat surface and a hinge leaf placed beneath the front and back as shown in Figure 14, setting the depth of cut for the final pass was a simple matter of releasing the blade clamping thumbscrew, lowering the tip of the blade onto the flat surface and re-clamping.
The open mouth means that this chip, which would interfere with the passage of the second cut of a closed mouth plane, does not cause any interference at all. This task highlighted what I think is one of the disadvantages of the open mouth configuration of the plane.
271 router planes produced by Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and an even smaller leaflet explaining the dangers of brass and bronze due to the lead present in both alloys (Fig.


The only picture I have seen of the yet to be released large Lie-Nielsen router plane (Fig. Finally, the blade can be oriented at 90 degrees either left or right of the center channel (east and west), although usage of the plane with the blade in these positions would be quite limited. Prior to the third cut of the pass it was necessary for me to remove the raised chip because by this stage it had become too large to pass through the open mouth of the plane.
You will recall that there is no sole area whatsoever along the centre line of the plane and that the width of this unsupported area is 18mm.
The design of the Lie-Nielsen eliminates these problems without the more complicated drawbolt arrangement of the Record 722. This allows me to advance the blade in very small increments, using a very light hammer, and controlled tapping. This is due to the extra material in front of the blade, allowing the plane to rest on the board, both in front and behind the blade. After removing the chip, I simply pulled it off with my fingers, little raised dags were still present but these could pass though the open mouth without hindering the smooth passage of the plane.
The 19mm thick edge into which I had cut the mortice meant that there was virtually no support for the plane to do its job. Therefore, my guess is that one of the reasons Lie-Nielsen designed their 271 the way they did is so that there will be a family resemblance between the large and the small Lie-Nielsen router planes. I found that the most comfort and control was achieved by pushing the plane when the blade was set in the normal position and pulling the plane when the blade was set in the bullnose position. Another method of setting the blade depth, is to use shims under the plane body, on both right and left sides.
This makes it so the body of the plane will ride on the two outside-boards, acting like an out-rigger, preventing the plane from accidentally tipping forward. I would expect the design of the Stanley 271, with two small sole areas across its centre section (Fig.
10), and to a lesser extent the Record 722, which has one small area of support across the centre (Fig.
If you need help sharpening these blades, please look back at the article relating to the Large Router Plane setup.
11), to be able to complete this task without having to clamp scrap in place to provide support.



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09.12.2014 | Author: admin



Comments to «Lie nielsen small router plane review»

  1. iblis_066 writes:
    Fun, and perfect for those freezing temps so the pipes do not freeze you must.
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