Vintage Tool Rehab Projects #17: Rehabbing a SB Router Plane #71 Type 8

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Blog entry by Brad posted 09-19-2012 02:48 AM 9168 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: J.H. Noble No.1 Backsaw rehab-Why two carcass saws? Part 17 of Vintage Tool Rehab Projects series Part 18: How to doctor your saw handles »

My tool kit has longed for a router plane for some time. Why?

• Because my dados need their bottoms flattened to a consistent depth.
• Because my rabbets need to be trued—and to the same depth.
• Because my tenons need to be trued too.
• Because I wanted to do these functions accurately by hand versus a power router.
• Because my Stanley family was anxious to add a new brother to the mix.

But where to find one?
In the year I’ve been combing estate and garage sales I’ve never seen even one router plane. So it was to eBay I went, picking up a Type 8 [1909-1915], “buy it now” find for $35.00. The $15.00 priority mail shipping fee was a bit steep. But it arrived well-packed and undamaged to my door.

You would think that that is to be expected, but based on the number of horror stories I’ve read in the last six months from woodworkers it’s not. Apparently the US Postal Service is a shadow of its past glory, delivering hand planes cleanly broken in half, broken totes and other fates too chilling to recount here. The bottom line is this, don’t eschew high shipping costs if you confirm that your seller is going to liberally use protective wrapping along with a suitable box size for your treasure.

Here’s what I had to start with.

The rehab
The disassembled parts went into Evaporust overnight. The handles were in great shape so I just wiped them down with mineral spirits to clean them, followed by a coat of BLO then some paste wax.

The sole was not perfectly flat. In fact, it has “seagull” wings, meaning that the tips angle upward about 1/16” higher than the base in the center. Rather than sand off the original plating (nickel?) I elected to leave it alone for now.

And here’s the body after cleaning it up.

There’s always a problem child—Truing the iron bottom
In this case, the problem was the iron. After “flattening” the iron’s bottom, or so I thought, and sharpening the bevel, the bottom of my test cut slanted from left to right. The difference in depth from one side to the other was about 1/64”—very exasperating.

I tossed aside the notion to flatten the blade free hand. Instead, I came up with an iron bottom flattening jig.

It mimicks how the tool is used by placing two 1” x 4” boards parallel to each other on top of sandpaper. Then I lowered the iron until it touched the paper and—holding it so the iron tip pointed away from me—pulled the router toward me. I tried pushing it, but the iron just sliced up the sandpaper. Lapping through the grits (150, 220, 320, 400, 600, 1500, 2000) developed a portion of the bottom that is flat and square to the sole.

After that, I touched up the bevel again until it would shave hair off my arm.

That did the trick. A test cut of a hand-sawn rabbet left a bottom that was flat and square to the sides.

I’ve been using this tool on the wine glass rack I’m building. It was the last tool to touch the half laps and such. My overall impression of it is that it adjusts ok, and does decent work. But it feels more like a carpenter’s tool than a woodworker’s tool. Same goes for the Stanley #78. Yes, I can do decent work with it, but I still have to go over the rabbet with my shoulder plane if the iron is off so much as a smidgen.

I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to joinery tools—where precision is measured in thousandths of an inch—that it makes sense to buy new. So I’m eyeing the Veritas router, skew rabbet plane and plow plane.

Still, my Stanley family is happy to have a new member. The allure of a vintage tool minted about a century ago—when Dough Boys faced off against the Hun in the Fields of France is hard to beat.

Route on brothers and sisters!


-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

11 comments so far

View lysdexic's profile


5256 posts in 2672 days

#1 posted 09-19-2012 03:37 AM

A very handsome plane and ingenious method of flattening the iron.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View Brit's profile


7396 posts in 2892 days

#2 posted 09-19-2012 05:14 AM

Great read Brad and thanks for the link to the different types. I now know that mine is a Type 7…

...and I know how to sharpen the iron. I hope to restore it soon, not that it will take much.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Brit's profile


7396 posts in 2892 days

#3 posted 09-19-2012 05:26 AM

By the way, I don’t disagree with you about buying a Veritas or LN for greater precision, but I believe you can also increase the performance of your #71 by simply buying the Veritas iron for it. Check out Dave Bardin's test where he did just that.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Don W's profile

Don W

18788 posts in 2617 days

#4 posted 09-19-2012 12:35 PM

great blog Brad. Great restore as well.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2789 days

#5 posted 09-19-2012 01:42 PM

Thanks guys. Andy, that Type 7 is a beauty and looks to be in fantastic shape. Dave’s test of a Veritas iron was persuasive. But I don’t like the fact that the depth adjustment is at the limits of its extension. That’s the problem I’ve run into on replacement blades/chipbreakers for my Stanleys. I can either use the thicker chip breakers OR the iron without having to file the mouth. In either case the thumb adjustment wheel is at the limits of its extension, which doesn’t feel secure when I work it…

One advantage of the Veritas router plane is that it comes with several irons…and replacements are readily available through them. The LN comes with just one iron.

Thanks Don. I’ve found that now that I have the router plane in my tool kit I reach for it when I want to shave just a tidbit off a joinery piece.

**I flagged the jamesartko post above for the obvious spam that it is.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3201 days

#6 posted 09-24-2012 07:39 PM

Sweet “new” tool Brad!

I’ve got one and have been using it, I haven’t really dedicated the time it deserves to get the iron just right but it has come in very handy in trueing up tenon cheeks.

Sharpening it by hand is pretty tricky. I like your idea for doing it, I may have to try that.

I don’t know how much better a high end tool could do, I mean it’s such a simple tool, All it needs to do is hold a blade at a certain depth, the 71 does that just fine. Also, the surface you are working on will be hidden.

Here is mine:

I almost bought new, the reason I didn’t is that neither the LN nor the Veritas can do both closed and open throat. You would have to buy two planes. Plus I think the old Stanley’s beat both of them on style.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

267 posts in 3238 days

#7 posted 10-18-2012 07:36 PM

I’m with Mauricio—assuming your iron is well sharpened I’m not sure how much better performance you can expect from a Veritas or LN. A router plane doesn’t have a chipbreaker or a sole in front of the iron, so it’s never going to produce the sort of clean surface you’d get from a well-tuned bench plane, no matter who makes it. On the other hand, having the different shapes of irons is nice.

View John's profile


341 posts in 3847 days

#8 posted 07-21-2013 12:54 AM

Brad, I just got a type 8 in the mail today. thank you for this posting! your sharpening idea is simple genius!

-- John - Central PA -

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2789 days

#9 posted 07-23-2013 08:15 PM

John, please post some pics when you get your new router plane up and running.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Belg1960's profile


1072 posts in 3115 days

#10 posted 09-03-2015 11:09 AM

Brad love the idea of the sharpening/flat “jig”. Was wondering do you have any special jig you could share for sharpening the top side? The one I just got has a decent nick in the tip and needs considerable work. Thanks Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2789 days

#11 posted 09-03-2015 07:29 PM

Belg1960, the top I sharpened freehand.

Also, there’s a drawback to the flat jig I used. I have since learned that you want a slightly canted blade, from toe to heel. If you flatten the bottom, the blade can “skate” across the surface to be cut. And that has been the case for my Stanley blade. It works ok, but not as well as the Veritas router plane I got a year after this one.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

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