With a myriad of hand planes available for doing various tasks, there are really only two bench planes that are essential to working a board,.a No 4 smoother and No 7 jointer plane.
Yeah I know, all of you wood enthusiasts will say " Well for that kind of money it better be good" which is a misconception. I have tried jointers that were just as pricey that did not perform as well, not even close. LN gets a bad rap for what they are charging for their merchandise, but more times than not, the criticism comes from those who have never held or used one of their products.
Fact of the matter is high quality steel, meticulous castings (I have done foundry work, it's difficult!), precision machining coupled with intense quality control makes for a tool that goes from the box straight to the board, and the No.7 is no exception. The components were incredibly crafted and dead flat. The A2 steel blade was razor sharp, but I will replace that with an O1 blade. (Just a matter of preference!).
Now the goods! See through shavings were possible immediately, and with a mouth adjustment I could take monster cuts with no problem. A very weighty tool, which is exactly what you want in any bench plane to reduce the amount of pressure needed to get the job done therefore reducing fatigue.
I tested it on American Cherry and Quarter sawn White Oak. While it excelled in the Cherry in all directions, I did experience a little tear out in the Oak, which is to be expected with a figured wood. This is just a matter of honing a higher bevel, or getting a fifty degree or higher frog from LN. My choice would be to get a toothed blade to tame gnarly woods, also available from Lie Nielsen.
At $425. one may shudder to put that kind of cake on one hand tool. But for true hand tool woodworkers, that is a mere pittance for one of the most important bench planes, or dare I say essential tools period. Not to mention the fact that it is an heirloom quality tool that I hope my kids will enjoy long after I hang up my proverbial woodworking apron!