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Old 02-24-2012, 01:16 AM
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Default #3 or #4 smoother...?

I've been abusing the "Add to cart" button this week at the Lie-Nielsen site.

Now I've got a bug in my a$$ for one of those bronze smoothers. My main work horse is an old Stanley 5 1/4 jack. I really like the 1 3/4" blade width. Just seems easier to push than the 2" Bailey I have. So I'm thinking I essentially want a short 5 1/4" jack... with bling.

I see the #3 LN has an 1 3/4" blade, where as the #4 is a 2". Only half inch difference in length between the two. However, the space between the tote and frog on the #3 looks a little more cramped than the #4... more so than the 1/2" difference in length would indicate. I have large, longish hands.

It would be used mostly for short, general purpose planing, cleaning up dovetails and illuminating the shop. Anyone have hands on with both of these? Is the #3 about the same in feel for size as the #4...?

Thoughts?

Last edited by bigfoot; 02-24-2012 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

I've thought about a #3 for small jobs in the past, but the #4 has usually been small enough to deal with anything I use it for..especially an old bailey, I would imagine they are less weighty than the LN version.
With that in mind, the #3 has always been thought of, as a bit of a luxury plane for me
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

One of the things that I didn't think about (until way too late) was a consistent blade width when I built up my little family of LN planes. If you wind up with a jack, a smoother, and a joiner with the same blade widths then the frogs will be interchangeable. Saves a good deal of money if you want to use different angle frogs............
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

Hi BF

The LN #3 bronze is a very sweet plane. The reason I chose it over a #4 is that the blade is narrower, and this enables it to be less effort and more nimble with the 55 degree frog.

The handle on the #3 is smaller than the #4 .... however, with the 55 degree frog there is ample room to swap for the #4 handle, which I have done.

There is competition for the #3 in the form of the LV Small BU smoother. The latter has the advantage of a wider range of cutting angles, and being lighter and easier to push (at high cutting angles), but the #3 remains a wonderful plane - and a superior performer among smoothing planes.

Here are the two ...



And here is the #3 bronze alongside the #4 1/2 Anniversary bronze (which here sports a 55 degree frog as well) ...



Regards from Perth

Derek
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

Thank you guys. Derek, thanks for the comments and the pics. This gives me some reference as to size. I may have to go with both after seeing your pair.

Kerry



~

Last edited by bigfoot; 02-25-2012 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

About that "Add To Cart" button...

Some things have started to roll in. Lie-Nielsen's new "closed throat" router plane. Cuts like butter right out of the box...



You can also see Rob Cosman's marking gauge in the pic. I was going to get the Tite-Mark, but I liked the idea of one less knob to deal with and the flat that keeps it from rolling off the bench. Very pleased with both items.



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Old 02-26-2012, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

I'd go with the #4 or #4 1/2. If I need something smaller than my #4 I use a block plane.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

Hi there Bigfoot (and hi there others around here but I'll save that for a future 'pleased to meet you' post

Totally understand how tough the choice is between the 3 and 4. Plan on getting a bronze LN too, it's a classic! Having big hands like yourself I was always convinced the 4.5 was the smoother to pick. Having tried all sizes for some time now (bought old Stanleys to get going) I'm sure it really is between the 3 and 4 for me. I'm using a Chinese 4 now as my main plane but really like the 3 for it's size so might well get the LN 3.

There's a lot to be said on this subject (understatement...) and I'm sure you'll be thrilled with both sizes considering the quality of LN but for me, getting cheap old planes to try out sizes really opened my eyes.

Good luck choosing! Bob.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: #3 or #4 smoother...?

There's a sweet little #4 for sale on SMC right now...
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