Lie-Nielsen - Floats for Joinery and Plane Making - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Floats for Joinery and Plane Making

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

$40 to 60 (As of 5/1/2008)

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Editor's Review:

by Chris Gochnour

review date: May 1, 2008

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.

Lie-Nielsen Floats for Plane Makers    Lie-Nielsen Floats for Plane Makers

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.

Lie Nielsen Joinery Floats   Lie Nielsen Joinery Floats

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 for a closer look.

Editor Test Results:

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Lie-Nielsen
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-327-2520

Good, easily maintained tools for finessing hard to reach surfaces (I'd rather use a plane where practicable) Takes a little while to get the knack. Treat them like a coarse wide rip saw, so light pressue to start. To maintain a flat surface, I find it easier to move from the ankles, like sharpening. I find them especially effective on dense woods (ebonies, rosewoods)

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