Router plane scarcity resolved

For more information on the Router Plane, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

My router extender enables me to refine surfaces to keep them parallel to the outside face of my rails.

It’s hard to believe now but only three years ago I was buying Stanley and Record #71 plough planes for the school for an average price of around £10 with the original two or three cutters they came with. Through the videos I was able introduce concepts of using the router plane for tasks unmentioned before. Mostly this happened when I used my poor-man’s router to make my workbench on the YouTube series four years ago. In this case I used it for surfacing tenons, routing wide recesses and things like that; extending the sole meant truly parallel surfaces. What I introduced then did not start then. I have used the system for much of my life and it has become a sort of industry standard in today’s hand tool woodworking circles as though it always existed. This makes me very happy because I believe there are now enough amatuer woodworkers around the world using or knowing about this as a technique that it will never be lost to the ensuing generation.

The poor man’s router works just great.

The point in all of this is that I have taught this in my classes for two decades as anyone attending the classes knows, that will be over 5,000 individuals or more, with the internet and online broadcast this is literally in the hundreds f thousands now. Now this still blows my mind. I am careful here because I am not saying I invented this but simply influenced it beyond my imagination.

Now if you are looking for a bargain via ebay, or another online sales venue, it is less likely to be a great bargain, but they do come along. I bought three brand new Stanley 71s for £52 recently but they had no cutters. Everything else was there and I knew that the Veritas cutters do fit the Stanleys but might need a minor tweak with a thin flat file. In my case one of the cutters stuck just a little in the adjuster so I took two strokes with the file and resolved it for good. The Veritas replacement cutter is £10 so my bargain was still a bargain. If you have a Stanley or Record 71 the Veritas router will upgrade you and the blade will last a lifetime.

These routers are the Record versions of the Stanley 71 and 71 1/2 . They do look similar and perform similar tasks but they are not one and the same. So it is with Lie Nielsen and Veritas planes mentioned below.

Now here is the the good news. Whereas three years ago the price discrepancy between new makers and older models was markedly different, the difference today is much less. Both Veritas and Lie Nielsen planes can be had for just over £100 here in the UK and even less in the US. This makes them inexpensive tools when you think of them as lifetime tools. If you are following our videos on YouTube and you will realise that these planes, whichever one, your choice, are indispensable.

Now I say what I say careful here because in no way am I saying that these modern makers have matched all of the options available with the original Stanley and Record 71 models. They have been caught short in that they do not offer important features you can use for other aspects of routing. To find out what these are go to the router series I did last year.

9 thoughts on “Router plane scarcity resolved”

  1. Rather timely that you’ve blogged on this as I’ve recently been looking at routers on eBay.

    In the end I decided that the prices (vs the condition or missing parts) of the old #71 planes just didn’t feel like a good deal. I looked into the Veritas, found only positive reviews, and have just placed an order for one.

    I’m in the process of restoring a #44 plough plane (a better value find on eBay, albeit needing some work) so I expect I’ll have lots to learn in the coming days!

  2. Bought one for £52 (inc p&p)three weeks ago from a Vintage Tools/Collectable dealer in Devon and was as pleased as punch with it when I unboxed it. All three cutters and the fence were there but possibly more importantly was that everything was in pristine condition. Not the faintest trace of rust anywhere. Like yours Paul, the 1/2″ were too tight for the holder? so sometime over this weekend I’ll be giving it a couple of swipes with the file to make them fit.

    Although up until then I’d made do with the ‘poor man’s router’ and made my shooting board with it, there’s nowt like the real thing. With regard to the cost of the 071, I did consider the Veritas but then your words rang in my ears. “Why pay twice as much, if not more, for a tool that will do exactly the same job”. Here endeth the 2,783rd lesson of Paul Sellers’ Bible of Wood Life.

    Just have to secure a length of 6mm/1/4″aircraft ally plate now by the looks of it.

  3. A good thing about the Veritas blades is that they are longer than the Stanleys, so a bit more versatile when used with a wooden sole plate.

    1. Now that’s nice to know as I’ve found the original blade just a little short on a couple of jobs since adding the wooden sole.
      Can you say how much longer?

      1. I’m sure I found a reference once that indicated about 3/4″ but I can’t find it now. The gist I get is that they fit on the Stanley if you flip the depth adjuster wheel over.

  4. I bought a Veritas router plane on lots of recommendations and couldn’t be happier. Magic tool.

  5. i previously made a wooden allen key router which worlks well. I then had the idea of making a small version. Was initially going to use a piece of angle iron as the body, but having thought about it decided to make one using brass. My plan is to refine it as I use it and find any shoert comings. So far I have made the basic structure. ground a 6mm allen key. The base is 3mm brass plate, a 20 by 24mm piece of brass bar is attached to the rear using counter sunk machine screws. This was drilled to accept the allen key cutter. A further tapped hole at right angles to this accepts a machine screw to lock the cutter. I have removed brass so that the cutter will move up to be flush with the base. Also cut away part of the base to make the cutter visible in use.
    Needs further refining, but pleased with my initial efforts. I have a good collection of spare allen keys, so can make a variety of cutter shapes and sizes.

    have been thinking about fitting a screw height adjuster. Never used a 71 so it will be hard to compare with the real thing. The design to some extent is based upon what I had in my brass scrap box. I might consider buying a veritas cutter for it, or a future version.

  6. I have Millers Falls 67 and 77 routers (Stanley 71 & 71 1/2), and last year my dad bought me a Veritas miniature router – the iron is only .120″ (~3mm) wide! I haven’t used the little one yet, but sharing the same 1/2″ original cutter between the 67 and 77 is getting tiresome. I’m glad the Lee Valley cutters fit them; I’ll be buying some after the holidays are over.

    I still find routers on ebay all the time… but never have I seen cutters.

  7. I have a early model Stanley with no adjuster and use Veritas cutters, works fine. Having said that i would like to get one with an adjuster preferably a Stanlwy, Record or a Preston but haven’t found one reasonable yet.


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