• Sunday, January 20th, 2013

The Lie-Nielsen bronze #4 has for years been one of my favorite tools in the shop, but is now even better with an aftermarket tote and front knob made by Bill Rittner. Now, this is not a situation like I have previously described with the Veritas totes. The L-N OEM tote is very good. The upgrade, however, is in another category: heavenly.

It may be hard for readers to understand my effusiveness about a shaped piece of wood without being able to reach into the above photo and pick up the plane, so I recommend visiting Bill’s website and reading about his tool making background and how he has refined plane handles. In working with Bill last year evaluating some prototypes, I was amazed at the level of refinement to which he has brought this work.

As demonstrated in the photo below, the tote does not have any flat on its side. (Check your planes’ totes.) The cross section is actually elliptical, which fills the hand satisfyingly.  The fit and finish are superb. If you enjoy and appreciate the nuanced work of a sophisticated craftsman, this is a luxury that is well worth it. Really, I find myself eager to use the plane just so I can hold it.

As I have mentioned in several other tool recommendations on this blog, this review is unsolicited and uncompensated. I just like to support craftsmen making honest offerings of great products.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses

  1. 1
    ralph boumenot 

    I had Bill make me a replacement knob and tote for my LV BU jack and I couldn’t be happier with it. After reading this post, I compared the LN and Bill Rittner totes and his feels much better. I might have to replace the tote on my LN 4 1/2 now.

  2. 2

    Thanks, Ralph. It’s a revelation when going from good to great tools.