I received this question in episode 3 of the Ask Brian Boggs Show:
What is your favorite bench plane, the Lee Valley, Lie-Neilsen?
Well, actually, my favorite bench plane is a one from Konrad Sauer, the Konrad Sauer plane. It’s a little smoothing plane, which is a dream to use. If you can afford to get one of his planes, they are absolutely delightful. Years ago I was asked to demonstrate at a wood working show, and talk about the differences using Lie-Nielsen, and Veratis, or Lee Valley Tools. They’re both really fine tools. I have a lot of respect for both companies. They do a lot to ensure really good quality for both of their planes.
The difference primarily, I think, is Lee Valley has done a lot more innovative things to their planes that are aimed at making it more friendly to the user. I don’t find that any of those innovations have yet really made the plane cut better. They’ve made the plane perform differently for the user interface with the tool itself, not the tool’s interface with wood. That’s a big distinction for me. It’s primarily important that the tool cuts wood well. All of those planes do that. I like Lie-Nielsens. They’re the ones that I use more. I like the way they look. I like the way they feel. They perform well. To be honest, I have issues with every plane that I’ve used, except Konrad’s, of course. Rain and Nelson also makes a fabulous plane.
If you have a chance to get a look at Daed Toolworks, Lee Valley and Lie-Nielsen there’s a usually a difference in price. Lee Valley being less expensive. Lie-Nielsen being a little bit more. I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed with either one of them. The Lie-Nielsen seems to perform a little bit more like the way that I work. That’s what’s on my bench.