Lie-Nielsen at 25
Woodworking entrepreneur rekindled an interest in serious hand tools
Synopsis: Tom Lie-Nielsen started his business in 1981, making a single model of bronze edge-plane on his kitchen table. Today, some 70 employees at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks make than 50 high-end planes, plus dovetail saws, tenon saws, chisels, and workbenches. Tom Lie-Nielsen sits down with Fine Woodworking on his company’s 25th anniversary to talk about the business of making hand tools.
In 1981, Tom Lie-Nielsen had a fledgling business making a single model of a bronze edge-plane, doing the assembly work on his kitchen table. This year, the company’s 25th, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks makes more than 100 models of high-end hand tools. I recently toured the factory and talked to Lie-Nielsen about the evolution of his company and of hand-tool use over the last few decades. “My father had a wooden-boat-building shop in Maine where we had a small machine shop and made all the hardware for the boats—custom hardware, mostly out of brass…