Thursday, April 26, 2018

Plane Rehab - Record #071 Router

I like it.
I have a project coming up that has sliding dovetailed crossbattens in hard wood. I am a big fan of doing things like this with minimal tools (i.e. only a chisel), but I thought I would treat myself to a new old tool:

A router.

I about had a heart attack when I started looking for routers on eBay. The last time I looked, they were a dollar a dozen. Not anymore.

I had considered buying a new Veritas or Lie-Nielsen, but I already have one of those in Munich. (Just wait, I bet I'll have been back to Munich and had the opportunity to fetch it before I get to the project with the sliding dovetails.) Also, few retailers in Europe happen to have them at the moment. I bet I could sell my Lie-Nielsen here for a healthy profit, if I could get to it.

I was able to find a router on British eBay, and the seller was willing to ship it to Spain for a reasonable price. This one was more than I really wanted to pay, but because it was Record and not Stanley, I saved fifty bucks.

After a short wait, this arrived in the mail:
I was happy with it. It looks better than I expected.
The plane was in remarkable shape. I would say 95% japaning is intact. 105% if you count the yellow paint. Some of the parts turned rough, and there was a small amount of surface rust that I wanted to get rid of.
Broken down. Time to clean it up.
I decided to turn my attention to the knobs, first. My thought was this was the hardest part of the rehab. It turned out to only take an hour or so. I went through the grits with sandpaper, 120-240, then burgundy and gray 3M pads.
Wow! Not bad.
I was worried as most of the "experts" on YouTube do this on their lathe, or with some other power tool. I was just careful, and sanded the least amount possible. I couldn't tell before, but now I see the wood is actually stained beech. There was only a few little spots where I sanded through the stain. I had considered staining them again, but decided since I have no stain, I'll just go with what's there.

I finished them with a dunk in my home-made BLO, and topped it off with my home-made beeswax and orange oil wax. What a nice finish. Nothing stinks.
Before and after brass knob bolts.
I considered polishing up the brass screws, but decided in the end to only clean them up with a bit of liquid scouring goo and a toothbrush. This eliminated all the dirt, but left the patina.
In situ.
This didn't take much time, so I next turned my attention to the metal bits. Since there was no heavy rust, I cleaned everything with the same scouring goo and a toothbrush. What needed it got a soft wire brush. I've always liked this way of rehabbing planes, as 1) it's easy, 2) it is not invasive - it leaves the plane in the condition it was found in, only clean, and 3) it's easy.
The hardest thing I did with this plane was sharpening the blade. That only took 20 minutes, and it's not perfect. However, it should service. The more I sharpen the blade, the better condition it will get over time.
071, or o71? That is the question.
This is a solid plane, and I expect it will work just fine. I like the depth stop on my Lie-Nielsen better, but I like that there is a front "foot" on this one. The LN probably adjusts in finer, more accurate increments, but I expect with a little fiddling, this one should work just as well.
I think it turned out nice.
I look forward to getting to know this tool, and when I am eventually re-united with my Munich shop, I might sell one or the other.
I kept the yellow paint. It's part of this tool's history.
Or, I might not.


  1. Too bad about the yellow paint. Maybe you could think of it as a racing stripe. Any tips on sharpening the iron so that the edge stays perfectly parallel to the sole?

    1. Hey Matt! I don't mind the yellow paint. I bet I could get it off if I put my mind to it, but I think it's kind of cool. Especially the sloppy way someone let it drip all over the place. Some shop teacher somewhere needed to get that done before Miller Time.

      As far as the blade, I haven't really thought about it. My philosophy with these things is once you get them sharp, just keep touching them up. They are kind of a pain to grind. I did have a user-made router once with a blade that wasn't parallel, but it turns out the base of the blade was bent. I think it was a basket case. Maybe I'll take a look at it again.

  2. Hi,
    I saw a method where a couple of equal spacers that are higher than a stone are on opposite sides of the stone. The blade is lowered to the stone, locked, then honed until the contact is all the way across the blade.

    Then the bevel is sharpened until the edge reaches the back of the flat established in the first step. The edge is not necessarily square to the body of the blade but it is parallel to the sole of the plane.

    Hope this helps. I like the yellow too.

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for the comment! I'm sure your method would work. The only problem is, grinding a router blade is a PITA. Luckily, this router blade still had the factory grind on the bottom, so it likely was relatively flat already. All I did was bring the bottom to a polished state with as little removal of material possible. In other words, the best way to flatten a blade to even the depth of cut is to not mess with it much in the first place. :o)

      Looking closely at the blade on this router, it is likely I will have some grinding to do on it someday, as it looks like there are some small cracks in it by the front near the edges. But, I think I'll wait until I can do that on someone's machine.


    2. I think I found a relevant blog post by Paul Sellers regarding the out-of-square cutter:

      Routing the Past Developments

  3. HI Brian
    Indeed a good find you got there for a good price.
    Just as good as Stanley, Millers Falls and Al.
    To make tight fitting half lap joints nothing beats a router (tail less)


    1. Thanks, Bob! It is indeed a solid, quality tool. A half lap, IMHO, one of the most difficult joints to make look right.

  4. Hi Brian,
    I have had a Record 071 for a year or two now and it is a lovely tool to use. Most of the parts are interchangeable with the Stanley but I believe the two companies used different screw threads in certain places. (If I remember correctly, the screw to attach the fence is different).

    There is no fence in any of your photos and so it looks like you do not have one. I have just seen one advertised on ebay for £28.00 (including p&p).The good news is that you do not need one! With this tool you are routing to a line which you have previously cut with a saw (or possibly even a chisel). So take my advice and do not buy one! (or at least do not pay a lot of money for it!) Apart from the high cost and lack of usefulness, you will need an imperial threaded screw to attach the fence to the plane; you will need to identify the precise screw thread & you can bet that the ebay price will be silly money.

    There are three different cutters which can be used with the record and Stanley 71's. You have the 1/2 inch. There is also a 1/4 inch and a 1/2 inch smoother cutter. These can also be expensive to buy on ebay. I believe the Veritas & Lee Valley cutters are compatible with Stanley & Record 071's so suggest you check when you are reunited with yours in Munich.

    Sharpening is straightforward. The bottom of the cutter needs to be flat like bench plane irons and chisels. The 071 cutter can be checked in the same way as you would for those items & once you confirm it is flat then leave that side of the cutter alone! The bevel is sharpened by holding it flat on to a sharpening stone as you would for a chisel or plane iron. Obviously a honing guide ain't gonna work but simply hang the post part of the cutter downwards and over the edge of the stone and keep the bevel flat on the abrasive surface. I have a feeling Mr Sellers explained this a while back so check his videos & blogs.

    It is a very easy tool to get used to. Watch Mr Sellers uses a hand router in one of his videos then get a piece of scrap timber and have a play. You will find that it is a very predicable tool. If you try to take too big-a-cut in one go, you will get terrible tearout; take a little at a time and it will work like a dream!

    I hope you enjoy using the Record 071 as much as I do.

    1. Hi Ken, thanks for the comment!

      I appreciate all the info you've shared here. I've thought about some of these things, but failed to include them in my post.

      No, my plane did not come with the fence, or the extra cutters. That didn't bother me, because I didn't expect to ever use anything else than what was included here. My LN router came with a fence, and the fence is rolling around somewhere in the bottom of a till in my tool chest never having been used.

      I think it was good for me to do a few projects without a router, as I think using a chisel is better for rough work of this type, and bringing in the router for the last, final touch up is my plan. The more accurate one can be with a chisel, the quicker and easier the routing is.

      Indeed, I have heard the Veritas cutter fits in this plane, but sadly the LN doesn't because that cutter is square-on, where the Stanley pattern has the "L" part of the cutter coming off of 45 degrees of the shaft.

      I really like the idea of the front foot on this router, and I wonder why LN left this off of their router. It seems essential, especially for working on the narrow edges of boards. Installing hinges with the LN router is an exercise in frustration.

      I look forward to getting to know this tool, and will report on it's function at a later date.


  5. I have ordered a Veritas router on the 20th of February [for my birthday] (via Dictum).
    "Expected" delivery end April!
    The problem would be the CITES II list which would force them to use another wood for the knobs.
    answer from Bob Lee at comment #15

    1. That must be because they used to use bubinga, right? I think some of their planes they have switched to some kind of toasted maple or something. Hopefully you'll get yours soon. FYI, the Lie-Nielsen one has always been made with maple handles, I think. That shouldn't affect them.

  6. Yes Brian you are correct, LV did used Bubinga before which is now causing headaches with CITES regulation about endangered wood species and trade. Similarly there are reports of similar difficulties shipping older tools (Stanley and etc) with rosewood and etc handles outside North America to Europe. Hopefully this will sort itself, being new regulations??

    About your router, I have and never used the fence for mine. The cutter I used the much is the spear cutter, it works great for peeling off cross grain cuts such as in dado, which is what it gets used the most for.

    Bob, who worries one day they will make vintage tools archeological finds and ban all trades... (kidding)

    1. Yes, I think the fence makes the tool a very specialized tool, one that I haven't the need for at the moment (but who knows?). I'm curious about the spear point cutter. One would think the router doesn't really need to leave too smooth of a surface, as these cuts generally aren't visible.

      Haha! I think that you should pre-emptively open a museum!