Lie Nelsen Chisels Guide: Chisel Planes, Block Planes And Router Planes

Lie-Nelsen is a US based company which has been manufacturing hand tools since 1981. Their goal as a company was to provide high quality tools with designs appropriate for different working environments. Since their establishment, revolutionizing the products of their concerned field has made them a mainstay among chisels.

In April 2009 Senator Olympia Snowe honored Lie-Nielsen Toolworks with a Congressional Record. Lie-Nielsen Toolworks also received the state of Maine’s Governor’s award for business excellence. This award is given to a company which has demonstrated excellence in every department such as work environment, quality of products, services and other such criterion that can be associated with a company’s working standards.


Chisels produced by Lie Nelson are all based on the 750 bevel edge socket chisels which are recognized for their durability and exquisite balance.  These 9 in. long socket chisels are typically expensive as high quality material is used for their production, which is rare in today’s market.

The 750 bevel edge socket chisels are square-edged and narrow, making them ideal for reaching corners and edges in crevasses.  The backs of the chisels are finished at 400grit and are ground to be flat, while the bevel is set at 30°.

Handles of all Lie-Nelson chisels are made of hornbeam, also known as ironwood, which is tough and durable.  Cocobolo handles are also available on several models of chisels, and consumers can specify what form of handle they prefer upon purchase.

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All chisels are constructed of A-2 steel which has been hardened to Rockwell 60-62 and then cryogenically treated.  Afterwards it is tempered twice to ensure the highest quality possible.  These manufacturing details are all part of the reason why Nielsen chisels are considered top of the line.

Popular Lie-Nelsen Chisels

When a company is as famous as Lie-Nielsen there are reviews of their products scattered throughout the internet, magazines, and newspapers so you can easily check out the new models and get ideas about quality and durability of the product you are interested in.

The following are just a few of the most popular chisels produced by the company:

  • Fishtail chisels
  • Bevel Edge socket chisels
  • O-I Tools Steel chisels
  • Corner chisels
  • Drawer Lock chisels
  • Mortise chisels
  • Skew chisels
  • Long Handed chisels


There are several planes also available from Lie-Nelsen of the same high quality.  The following are four main sub-categories of planes and recommendations made by pleased Lie-Nelsen plane users:

Chisel planes

A chisel plane is different from a standard ordinary plane mainly due to the fact that the support ahead of the blade is not present. It is very effective at what it does including removing glue efficiently, cleaning corners of rabbets and is good at trimming dovetails flush and plugs. Lie-Nielsen mainly provides 2 types of chisel planes:

  • Large chisel planes
  • Small chisel planes

Recommended Chisel Planes

Small Lie-Nelsen planes are recommended as they able to reach some of the most impossible and unimaginable locations in projects.  At $140 per chisel they are particularly expensive, however are noted for being reliable and lasting through a lifetime of work.

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Bench planes

A workshop without bench planes is like a car without wheels. Therefore the company makes all sizes of planes from no.1 to a no.8. The size is mainly the user’s own choice, but the size no.4 is commonly used as a smoothing plane and the size no. 7 or 8 are used for jointers. Apart from these two a no.5 size jack plane is also very useful to those who work with their hands.

Recommended Bench Planes

The no. 4 bench plane is raved as a beautiful tool that is extremely functional.  There is no sharpening needed and it is a comfortable tool to use for any job.  While it is considered relatively expensive at $300 it is considered a well worth purchase that everyone should make.

Block Planes

The Lie-Nielsen block planes have a blade bevel up. The angle of the blade in low angle block planes is 12°. The Lie-Nielsen blades are grinded at 25° flat bevels and they work perfectly well in daily work environments. By introducing a secondary bevel of 30° to 40° the cutting angle can easily be increased for different tasks. A higher cutting angle is sometimes required when dealing with difficult woods, but the company provides options for the installation of secondary bevels free of charge.

Recommended Block Planes

The Lie-Nelsen low angle jack plane is loosely based on the Stanley version 62. However consumers rave that it is even better than the Stanley version as it has more uses and is much more durable.  The adjustable mouth is easy to use and has a great finish.  Not to mention that the iron is thick and does not need any sharpening after several uses.

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Router Planes

Router planes are excellent when dealing with shallow mortises e.g. door locks, hinge gains etc. The Lie-Nielsen version is an adoption of an early Stanley model, except the blade is securely fixed. The blade is not covered from above so you can easily see what you are doing, this is called an open throat design. Two types of router planes produced by Lie-Nelsen include large and small router planes.

Lie-Nelsen Dovetail Saws

As dovetail is a very detailed operation in which the kerf runs with the grain the Nielsen saw teeth are filed to a rip profile which you cannot find from another manufacturer in this field. It provides the desired finish with high speed.

Consumers claim that the $125 dovetail saw provides quality work at an affordable price. The dovetail has been deemed able to blow away other saws, cutting straight lines at any angle.  Consumers claim all they have to do is place the saw on the line and go, making it one of the easiest saws to operate on the market.

Overall Lie-Nielsen dominates the woodworking tool (chisels, planes, saws etc.) market and is a powerhouse that is proving to be very hard to compete with.

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