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JOEL Joel's Blog

Wisner Tool


Wisner Tool 1
Sometime in the early 1980's Thomas Lie-Nielsen, who worked for a short time at Garret Wade, the famous toolshop started in the 1970's in New York City, took over Wisner Tool company from the founder Ken Wisner and moved back to Maine to start the great and wonderful Lie-Nielsen Toolworks that we all know and love today. I have always been told that the first product of LN was a bronze copy of the Stanley 95, an edge plane. Here is a link to a PDF of a 1978 Wisner Signature Tools brochure where we learn that in addition to the 95 Wisner offered a modern copy of a Stanley 66 Scraper plane as well as a corner chisel.

The interesting thing about the Stanley 66 is that LN does make a fairly close cast copy of the 66. The Wisner version wasn't a casting, it featured a bent metal body which I have never seen in the flesh. I have no idea how well it worked but it is a really interesting design approach. My guess is that very few made it out the door but that could have been for bunches of reasons.

Another interesting factoid about this brochure is that it was distributed by "The Tool Works" another NYC tool company that I have never heard of. Apparently Garret Wade didn't have an exclusive.

Download the brochure here.

Join the conversation
09/28/2016 Seth Hensel
I have a Wisner 95. He signed them. Back in the 70's when absolutely no one in the States was making quality tools, Wisner's 95 was a Unicom.
09/28/2016 Christopher
That $64.50 for the plane in 1978 translates to $245 in today's dollars, making L-N's similar plane today a bargain at only $150.
09/28/2016 Ken De Witt
What I find is a common thread.
Read some where a while back that Chris Schwarz also worked for Garret Wade for a short time.
09/28/2016 John
I have two of the square chisels pictured in the Tool Works catalog. I purchased them from Tom Lie-Nielsen in the mid 1980's at his shop in Warren Maine. Never used them much.
09/28/2016 James Gallie
Wow I can remember dreaming about these tools while sleeping in my West Coast Sloop in Santa Barbara Harbor back in 1978. Reading Medical Books by kerosene lamps While going to and eating at SB City College and living as a Harbor Rat building Star Boats for 2.38/hr I could never afforded planking tools of this quality. Great memories many disoriented with time/age and builders chemicals I now own similar R&L tool versions used making locked CHEST & 0..P
;Box construction and hardwood drawer's simple to finish without power tools. Fine woodworking and the first Wooden Boat publications carried adds for these and other awesome Makers and Tools.
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