I’ve had a Lie-Nielsen 140 for a few years now, and have used it well. It’s an older model, without a nicker. It is a solid tool, and it excels at its tasks. When I saw the new Veritas skew block plane, I was intrigued to try it out and compare it with the venerable LN. So I thought I would prepare a comparison of both.
First - my disclaimer - I have no association with either Lee Valley or Lie-Nielsen, and I have bought and paid for both planes myself. I am a very satisfied customer and user of both of these fine companies. Second – I am an amateur wood butcher. My skills are modest at best, and my knowledge limited. I have no degrees in engineering and claim no expertise, other than being an enthusiastic woodworker.
So out of the box:
The Veritas blade – I selected 01 steel, is pretty sharp. It can do this out of the box on a piece of pine:
It took five or ten minutes to hone it on a couple of oilstones [Washita followed by black Ark.] followed by green compound on MDF. It got very sharp, rather easily.
Side by side, here are some images:
Lie-Nielsen top, bronze
Veritas below, ductile iron
The fence rod on the Veritas has a larger diameter, 0.31” and has threads on its end to screw into the body of the plane. If lost, it will be harder to replace than the LN, which can use standard 0.25” rod. On the other hand, it attaches very solidly. I’ve stared at the beds. The LN looks like a bit more area to me. Whether this is significant or not, I don’t know. The LN applies pressure through the locking knob via a small raised dome, the LV has a round disc, like the head of a C clamp, which distributes pressure over the disc of the Norris adjuster.
LN 140 OA length 6 ¾” OA width 2”
Veritas OA length 6 7/16” OA width 1 ¾”
The fence on the LN adjusts with a bolt and needs a screwdriver, the Veritas is hand tightened. The LN is a bit more rigid, but both function well. Obviously, the bronze fence will wear less with use, but may also slightly darken lighter woods as it rubs against them. It will be an easy matter to change, adapt or replace the wooden fence on the Veritas, and the LN fence is drilled, if one chooses to attach a wooden fence to it.
The next view demonstrates a major difference in the two – the LN relies on its thick left sidewall to maintain integrity of the mouth, while the Veritas has an arched side. I don’t know if one design is significantly or meaningfully stronger than the other, but I do feel more secure with the Veritas, especially if while the sideplate on the 140 is removed, it gets a sudden summons from gravity.
One can see the Veritas nicker below. It has a locking bolt adjusted from the plane’s toe, and it works well. As my LN is without nickers [poor lad] I can’t comment.
In order to perform a rabbeting cut, the sideplate on the LN must be removed. The Veritas is ready to go as is. One may want to adjust the nicker.
Here is a view of both toes. One can see the locking bolt for the nicker on the front of the Veritas. One can also see that the fixed side of the LN [shown on far right] is quite thick and sturdy. The LN knob is fixed. The Veritas knob turns in order to adjust the throat.
On to the throats. There is a big difference here. The Veritas is adjustable, the LN is fixed. In keeping with its other designs, the Veritas has a small bolt by which one can limit how far back the throat closes, so as to protect the blade, and to restore the previous position if moved. To adjust the throat, one loosens the front knob a bit. Here are some images of the soles, and the throats. The Veritas throat could be closed more. I did my best to show them with the blades set to take an approximately equal shaving:
Some additional comments, I have small hands, The Veritas fits mine better. The LN seems to have a lower center of gravity.
The LN has no lateral adjuster, the Veritas has both a Norris style adjuster and three bolts, just as on other Veritas planes, which help to accurately set the position of the blade laterally. These are shown below:
There is a tiny set screw which keeps the Norris style adjuster in place. The LN has about ¼ turn of backlash. The Veritas is more like 1/8th turn.
One needs a big flat bladed screwdriver to adjust the fence, and remove the sideplate on the LN. To attach the fence rod, the Veritas needs a ¼” open ended wrench, but no tools to adjust the fence. For the Veritas, one also needs a small flat blade screw driver to adjust the nicker, the blade setting bolts, and to set the limits of the adjustable mouth [but not to adjust the mouth opening].
Like so many areas of woodworking, this will come to a final personal choice. The LN is a very solid performer, executed with excellence, and with a long history of use. The Veritas is a newly engineered design, very solidly built and executed with excellence, and comes with innovative features that provide more options for set up and use. Bottom line for me - I sold my 140.