Lie-Nielsen - Tool Review of Lie-Nielsen Floats for Joinery and Plane Making
Lie-Nielsen’s new line of floats (essentially single-cut files with coarse teeth) help with joinery and plane making
Lie-Nielsen recently introduced two styles of floats: joinery and plane-making. Joinery floats are made for fitting joints (photo above); plane-making floats are designed for making wood planes.
|Plane floats. An edge float is ideal for widening the mouth of a wooden plane.|
Floats are essentially single-cut files with coarse teeth. As you might expect, the coarse teeth remove material quickly, much like a rasp. But unlike rasps, floats produce a surprisingly smooth surface.
Both float styles come in several shapes and sizes and you can choose either a push or pull design. All have 8 teeth per inch, with 80° rake angles, and are fitted with comfortable maple handles. They come from the factory sharp enough to use, but I found they worked even better after filing each tooth with a triangular saw file. The filing process is easy, and depending on the size and shape of the float, takes between 15 minutes and 45 minutes.
Lie-Nielsen makes its floats from S-7 steel, hardened and tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 50–52. As a result, the floats hold a keen edge.
I put the joinery floats to work on a range of joints. They removed wood quickly, leaving a pile of fine shavings rather than dust. What’s more, they left a smooth finish in their wake.
|Joinery floats. These do a good job trimming tenons and squaring the ends of mortises.|
Floats aren’t likely to replace my chisels or shoulder planes, but I can see where having a few around will open up new possibilities when facing challenging joinery tasks.
The floats sell for $40 to $60. Go to www.lienielsen.com for a closer look.