The #71 ½ differs
in having a closed throat, that is, it lacks
the arched front of the sole forward of the cutter. The #71 provided an
adjustable shoe to close the mouth.
Below is a picture of my #71 ½ router
plane, which is a patternmaker’s copy in brass (lacking the height
adjustment mechanism). Such copies were quite common about 50 or so years
Brass copy of the Stanley #71 ½
An adjustable fence
was added to the #71 in 1939 (pictured above). There is no provision for
this on my copy #71 ½, which is based on an early model, or any models
earlier than this date.
One other router
plane worthy of mention is the Stanley #271. This dinky little router
plane is extremely useful in small areas.
Stanley #271 router plane (alongside #71 for perspective)
All the router
planes, #271, #71 and #71 ½ included, are capable of being used as well in
a bullnose position, that is, by rotating the clamp to the other side.
Features of the Veritas Router Plane
their router plane as “the
Stanley #71 reborn with radical improvements”.
There are a number of special
features for comparison with the Stanley version;
- The plane is
made from very durable ductile cast iron (compared to the fragile grey
iron of the Stanley planes).
blade-clamping collar is spring-loaded, which holds the blade in
position while the collar is loosened (as it must when raising and
lowering the blade). The Stanley lacks this feature, and blades will
drop out of position as soon as the collar is adjusted.
- Blade adjustment
on the Veritas travels 1/32” per turn. The blade may be adjusted for a
depth of 1”.
- Below the height
adjustment knob are two brass locking rings that are the Depth Stop
Knobs. Stanley does not provide a similar arrangement. Use of the depth
stop is illustrated further on in “Hinge Mortising”.
- The fence, which
is an optional extra, is significantly easier and more precise to adjust
than the Stanley fence. Like the Stanley, the fence is reversible, with
one side for straight planing and the other side for curved planing.
- Both planes come
with three blades – ¼” and ½” straight cutters, and the ½” pointed
cutter (or V, as termed by Stanley). The original Stanley blades were
one-piece constructions, while the two ½” Veritas blades have removable
cutters to facilitate honing.
- Both planes have
countersunk holes for the attachment of a shop-made (wooden) auxiliary
base to increase the width of support or act as a fence. Note that the
depth-of-cut will be reduced by the thickness of this base.
- The Stanley base
is 7 5/8” wide, while the Veritas is 5 5/8” wide (my measurements). The
Stanley weighs 2 5/8 lbs. The hardwood knobs on my English-made #71 ½
measure 7 7/8”. The Bubinga-handled Veritas has a wider positioning at 8
7/16”. Weight is 2 lbs.
Veritas Router Plane
My first thought on
unpacking the router plane was just how jewel-like it was. The blend of
shiny iron, bright stainless steel, black paint and brass knobs together
with a compact, yet heavy body was quite striking. The finish was
faultless. All edges had been chamfered. I like the look of Bubinga,
although I was not mad about the shiny finish. I would remove the lacquer
and finish with oil and wax.
The plane comes with three blades, identical to the Stanley. They comprise
a ¼” and ½” straight cutter and a ½” Pointed (I prefer the Stanley “V”)
cutter. They are slightly tapered in thickness, increasing towards the
rear of the cutter. All blades were sharp enough out of the box to be used
– but of course no sensible handtooler would do that, and all blades were
honed to 8000 waterstone prior to use.
Both the straight
½” and the V blades have removable cutters. These attach to the shaft with
a hex-headed bolt that sits flush within a recess. A hex key is supplied
with each blade.
The ¼” cutter is
not removable and, while I am unsure whether there are plans afoot for
this blade, I cannot see any reason why it should not be constructed any
differently to the other blades, that is, that the bladed section be
removable from the shaft (perhaps with a smaller hex-headed bolt with a
similar sized hex insert?).
join is orientated by a series of serrated-like grooves, which may just be
made out in the picture.
Do the LV blades fit the Stanley
This is the question
that all owners of vintage Stanley and Record router planes are asking!
The answer is yes - they do fit. There is a qualification, however. The LV
blades are ¾” longer than the Stanley blades I have (Note: mine were made
St James Bay,
although I expect them to be faithful reproductions).
LV at top and Stanley below
Stanley Blade (left), Veritas Blade (right)
Notice how the depth adjustment knob is maxed out on the Veritas blade.
It only just fits!
Honing the blades
I have mixed emotions about the solutions
Veritas have arrived at here. There is clearly some innovative thought
here, but there are also a few missed opportunities.
It appears that honing is expected to be done freehand.
A Blade Holder is provided onto which the removable ½” and Pointed (V)
cutters are attached for better handling. This is reasonably satisfactory
for those that are comfortable with their handskills, but there are a few
points that could be improved.
The Pointed (V)
cutter is bevelled at 45 degrees at each rear corner to enable it to be
attached at the same angle as the forward (V-ed) bevel, and enable it to
be honed in a forward direction.
Straight Cutter and V Cutter
cutter is at an awkward angle to hone, and the only solution is to raise
the waterstone to a height such that the blade may be held underneath to
achieve the desired bevel angle.
a honing guide:
Bearing in mind that LV manufactures a terrific honing jig (the LV
Honing Guide Mk II), it is reasonable to expect that LV might have
developed a link between the Router Plane and the Mk II. When
I attempted to use the Mk II I encountered a few minor (but nevertheless
When either the ½”
or the pointed (V) cutter was screwed into the blade holder, the blade
holder would not sit flat in on the Registration Jig of the Mk II. The
problem is that the screw provided was too long and projected beyond the
base of the Blade Holder. This was an easy fix – just file it down.
matters is the fact that both cutters are not parallel and flare slightly
wider at the business end. Consequently, the Blade Holder cannot be used
to register the blade for squareness. A line could be scribed across the
Registration Jig at the point where the Registration Stop is positioned
for a 25° bevel, and the edge of the bevel aligned with this (or one can
do this by eye).
Aligning the ½” cutter by eye.
Since the back of
the cutter now sits on the projecting lip of
the Blade Holder, which places it
above the Registration Jig, the angle that it hones at is
not the 25 degrees on the Jig. I estimate that it is probably closer to 27
Aligning the V cutter by eye.
The Pointed (V)
cutter can also be honed in the Mk II but, again, with similar
compromises. With the front of the bevel against the stop (or scribed
line), and at the 25 degrees setting, the bevel is honed at about 23
degrees. The following picture illustrated
honing the ½” straight cutter on a waterstone using the Mk II.
LV Honing Guide Mk II and ½” cutter
In my view the
sharpening system has not been thought through sufficiently. There is a
promise of some really creative thinking in the form of removable cutters,
but it just falls a little flat when the issues
are broadened out. Note: The V cutter does not
fit into the LV Honing Guide Mk I blade angle setting jig (the cutter and
Blade Holder are too short), but otherwise may be used in the Mk I honing
guide as long as you build a blade projection jig (to re-set the bevel
Working with the Veritas Router Plane
So the questions remain, “what is
the Veritas Router Plane like to use”?
And “Is this a necessary tool for the workshop, in other words, why
should I own one”?
I have included
below a selection of projects or joints that use the router plane, and
will discuss my experience as we progress through these.
The router plane
should be seen to be a specialist handplane. It will not be used in
isolation, but together as part of a team of tools – I almost wrote
“handplanes” for “tools” but the fact is that the router plane fits in
well with power tools as well, such as cleaning or fine tuning up the
floor of a dado that has been trenched with either a dado blade on the
table saw or a power router.
There are also
other handplanes that overlap in function, such as a plough plane when
grooving (e.g. Record #044) and dadoing (e.g. Stanley #46). However, these
planes are unable to work into stopped ends, such as a stopped groove for
the bottom of a box or a drawer. One does not generally associate a router
plane with cutting tenons – and it is true, it cannot cut a tenon –
but it can do a fine job of planing the tenon face parallel to the face of
A Simple Mortise – a good first
This first joint I made with the router
plane was a simple mortise for a saw tang. I had been thinking about
replacing the handle on my Z-saw dozuki for a while. This seemed like a
good opportunity and I had a piece of Camphor that appeared ideal. Here
are the components and tools used.
The lower saw components are for illustration. The Dozuki for
remodelling is above these.
The first step was
to mark out the mortise for the tang and then score the waste with a
chisel. Note the very slightly wavy outline, which is caused by the knife
blade following the grain. Still, this will be hidden when the two sides
are sandwiched together.
Then it is time to
use the LV Router Plane to remove the waste. The ½” straight cutter is
used here – preferred for planing with the grain.
This side should
end up looking like this.
Do the same on
other side, and then glue the two sides together.
Finally, slide in
the tang, fix in place with a little epoxy, and shape the handle with a
spokeshave and a scraper. A bit of oil and wax for the finish, and the
final result is …
A Stopped Groove
in a Dovetailed Box
One of the greatest challenges in building
a box made with through dovetails are not the dovetails themselves (yes, I
know they are supposed to be the be-all to end-it-all). The greatest
challenge is really the stopped groove that holds the box’s tray bottom.
In a box made with half-blind dovetails it is possible to hide the open
ends of a complete groove in the dovetail itself. But one cannot do this
with a through dovetail since a full groove will leave gaps in the box
ends. The router plane is the ideal tool to create a stopped groove.
router plane is capable of removing the waste without the aid of a guide,
it is advisable to use the fence as well. The end
piece on the left, below, shows how I gouged the sidewall. With the
fence in place, the router plane will make shavings to rival those of a
spite of the slip above, the groove proves to be a nice fit for the bottom
here is the finished box (and no groove holes!) …
have not finished here yet, and will be back a little later.
Cutting a sliding dovetail is basically
just a variation of a dado. A more complex dado, oh yes!
Basic plan of action - The tail (male) section is made with a saw and
chisel, then cleaned up with either a #140 skew block plane (or shoulder
plane) or a specialist dovetail plane (which has a sole angled to match
the tail profile).
1. Mark the outline
2. Cut the shoulder
3. Chisel out the
4. Clean up with a #140 skew
against an angled fence
or use a dovetail plane
now on to the pin (female) section of the joint.
5. First mark
out the pin from the outline of the tail.
6. Then cut the shoulders to depth with a
backsaw against to a guide angled at 1:6
7. Cut through the centre to make
to remove the waste.
8. And now remove the waste with the
router plane. You are going across the grain, so use the V blade.
9. If the pin section needs to be widened
use a Stanley #79 side rabbet plane.
10. Finally fit the tail into the pin…
After the sliding dovetail, a straight dado
is rather easy.
Mortise and Tenon joints
The mortise and tenon joint is probably one
of the most commonly used in furniture. It is not one that I immediately
think of using a router plane to create but David Charlesworth does write
about this, so I have included it here as well.
The router plane is used on the tenon, but we have to have a mortise first
(one always forms this before the tenon)...
here I am mortise chisel in
2. Making the tenon begins with marking
3. The shoulders
are too shallow
to saw off,
so I plane them off with a Stanley #140
4. The router plane has sufficient
registration that additional support is not required.
But if it were,
then screw on an outrigger of the same thickness as the tenon.
The #140 is my preferred way of cleaning up sawn tenons, but I discover
that the router plane has an advantage of producing perfectly parallel
faces. The router planes faces are not as smooth as those finished
by a #140 and the tenon slides in with gentle
The final demonstration of the router plane
is hinge mortising. I find this method produces a perfect flush fit for
hinges, something that is important when building fine furniture.
1. For the example, let us fit this hinge...
3. Mark out and chisel the waste as
4. Now is the time to set the depth stop
for the exact thickness of the hinge.
Be careful here –
tighten the rings too much and they will be extremely difficult to
loosen with fingers alone. A few times I resorted to inserting the
hex keys into the holes in the circumference. It helps to back
off the Depth Adjustment Knob slightly.
5. Now remove the waste…
leaves behind a clean and even mortise.
7. The final fit is good.
mortises like this are relatively easy to make. It is much more difficult
to do tiny hinge mortises, such as the ones on the box I made earlier in
this article. It is tempting to just rely on a chisel (and often I do just
that) because this is now a very fiddly job. Nevertheless, the router
plane, even one the size of the Veritas Router Plane,
can make for a better fit.