Sharpening Router Plane Blades

Routers for most people conjure up a range of different images ranging from face shields and dust extractors to dust masks ear plugs hearing protection and other head gear resembling and American football team player or a SWAT team member. The blade can also be used in an outboard configuration, with the blade extending past the body, for bullnose applications. The plane is very seldom found with all its parts (bull nose, regular sole, and beading attachment). Router planes are great tools for working shallow mortises – hinge gains, inlay, doorlocks, trimming tenons and the like. The most desireable planes will have the Stanley logo stamped on the cutter, which gives the collectors a warm and fuzzy feeling over its originality. It was designed to plane broad wooden surfaces such as bowling alleys, ship decks, floors, or whatever.

I like both router planes but love the Preston because of it’s larger platten and low profile, vertical handles which give greater direct inline thrust where you need it most, at the base. Of course, this is pure speculation, but it does seem strange that an iron plane slinging company would take to making a plane that sure has a goodly amount of wood as part of it.

The nicker iron should have some life left in it. If the points are short that’s OK- most nickers were left soft so they can be sharpened with a file. The spring-loaded blade-clamping collar holds the blade in position when the collar is loosened and provides tactile feedback for controlled blade depth adjustment. Selling as a pair as there is only one blade which is interchangeable with both.

There are some early American planemakers whose mark makes even an ordinary molding plane wroth thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. As you progress in your skill level you’ll encounter projects that require specialty hand planes (or may just make a project easier), and you can conduct further research at that time. This plane is often found with parts missing – most often it is the depth stop and/or fence.

The cutters supplied with the attachment are identical to those supplied with the #69 The cutters scrape a bead, reed, or flute on a flat chamfer after that is cut by the plane using one of the normal soles. Once last piece of advice: Keep your router plane’s irons sharp and touch them up often. They comprise a ¼” and ½” straight cutter and a ½” Pointed (I prefer the Stanley V”) cutter.

The plane’s original cutter is sometimes lost, and replaced with one from a common block plane. Those include the vintage Stanley No. 289 Moving fillister plane and the modern Veritas moving fillister plane (called the Skew Rabbet Plane). Having released the clamping collar, the iron is advanced by applying pressure on it’s top, whilst letting it down in a controlled way with the adjuster. You can also buy vintage wooden router planes (called Old Woman’s tooth” or Grandma’s tooth”) here on eBay or at a flea market.

The plane can also be found with the sides of the sole chamfered to reduce the surface area in an attempt to cut down friction. Once ground to shape, I rehardened the blade by heating it to a cherry red, quenching it in water, and then gently reheating it to draw the temper to a yellow/bronze. See Larry Williams DVD for an excellent example of how to sharpen and tune this plane.

The middle portion of the cast iron tool is semi-rectangular in shape and has two handles, sorta gullwing-like, which flank the ‘rectangle’. The main casting is nickel plated, and has 3 thumb screws threaded into it. There are two screws that hold the blade in place; the blade slips into two slit-like slots cut into respective swellings of the main casting. It’s also possible to find the plane with the section of the sole ahead of the bull nose bed snapped off. I prefer Stanley Bailey or Stanley Bedrock planes made prior to World War 2, when the quality standards were higher.


The hex-head screw that holds the blade on the router plane shaft does not loosen IME. Stanley No. 6 Fore Plane : A traditional size for a fore plane, which is used to flatten the surfaces of boards. A square blade holder meant the spacers between the front and rear bars can now just be easily cut. I would have preferred to use the pointed knife in the router plane but mine was not sharp. Stanley No. 5-1/2 Jack Plane : For historical reasons, some people categorize this plane as a good multi-purpose smoothing plane, but I’ll just leave it under fore planes. I drilled and countersunk the blade with 4mm and 10mm masonry drills, then sawed off the end with a tile saw.

Products marked with this symbol come with a sharpening pass, which entitles you to two free sharpenings. If I reposition the depth adjuster so that there is no downward movement of the blade holder possible, the depth does not change during use. Also make sure that the plane hasn’t twisted- sight down the sole of the plane along the boxed quirk and make sure there is no deviation. When cutting rabbets, a dedicated rabbet plane is superior to a combination plane, especially if it has a skewed (angled) iron for cross grain cutting. The chisel plane , which removes wood up to a perpendicular surface such as from the bottom inside of a box.

This plane is identical to the #72 , except that it has an additional attachment for molding the chamfers. This pivoting portion has a turned knob, which is gripped in the other hand, and a clamping mechanism to secure the blade. The blade wouldn’t reach to the bottom of my 1 inch deep mortise that I’d chiseled on a 17th century jointer plane I was building. The plane has two beds for the cutter – one positioned for normal work, and the other for bullnose work. A jack plane is around 14 inches (360 mm) long, continues the job of roughing out, but with more accuracy and flattening capability than the scrub.

Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between the blades from St James Bay (with which I have been happy in the past) and those from Veritas. My philosophy when tools get finicky is that 90% of the time it has to do with the sharpness of the blade. The Lie-Nielsen Tongue & Groove Planes are based off the Stanley No. 48 and No. 49 planes. Most manufacturers seem to grind at 25deg and recommend a honing angle 5deg greater, making this 30deg. The finger plane , which is used for smoothing very small pieces such as toy parts, very thin strips of wood, etc.

I hope this helps get your plane prepped, so it is ready for all the action I anticipate you’ll find for it. You don’t want to grind the iron unless you absolutely have to because that’s a difficult operation. 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 blade is slightly wider than the sole of the plane and projects out both sides. Hi Paul… I am looking for the diamond plates you use as I want to see if your method of sharpening chisels is better than my present set-up. The common profiles and plane types discussed below are usually fairly inexpensive in comparison to more complex planes.

Thomas LN loaned me both the LN router planes a few years back when I was preparing an article for the Australian Wood Review (The router plane in the woodshop”). One is to insert the rod and use the router in narrow housings and grooves, the rod keeping the cutter aligned with the groove being routed out. Stanley No. 3 Smoothing Plane : This small-ish smoothing plane is perfect for some tight spots & difficult grain, and fits in adult hands. Most old tools are also rusty, so now is a good time to use file, sandpaper and sharpening stone to remove the rust and hone the edge. Later improvements used a thumbnut traveling on a threaded rod fixed in the plane body to adjust the position 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. I’ve also used the Stanley No. 148 Come & Go” Tongue & Groove Plane , but didn’t like it quite as much as the Stanley No. 48. Good think too, because they’re rarer & a bit more expensive. Handplane Central Information for all types of hand planes, including wooden planes, infill planes and Stanley type planes. This first joint I made with the LV Router plane was a simple mortise for a saw tang.

The iron is the same as that used on the #8 sized bench planes, but the cap iron is unique to the plane as it isn’t cut out to accept an adjusting fork; the iron is adjusted manually. These cutters don’t generally need the same level of sharpness say the smoothing plane iron generally demands, but they sharpen easily on diamond plates and I keep a two-sided EZE lap for this purpose. I really liked the depth adjuster on the LN. This is a square ring that slips around the blade and is adjusted with a screw. This sale is for the STANLEY no. 271 Router Plane only, at front in the first picture.

The router plane , which cleans up the bottom of recesses such as shallow mortises, grooves, and dadoes (housings). So, as long as all the parts go together, few of the dimensions except the 45° frog angle and the distance between the blade stay and the plane iron are critical. The key to using different blades was to be the arrowed spacer blocks, different sizes of these for different allen keys.

You can also use it as a Fore Plane”, to flatten board surfaces if you don’t want to purchase a dedicated No. 6 Fore Plane Wood bodied jointer planes are excellent if you want to spend the time making or refurbishing one sufficiently. The redesign also called for a spring, located behind the front knob on the opposite face, to cushion the blade and eliminate chatter. My concern is that the backbevel will increase in size over time and that this will increase the cutting angle. Dados are equipped with a double-pointed nicker that sits in front of the blade.