Record Handplanes

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 09-29-2010 04:30 PM 9429 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3075 days

09-29-2010 04:30 PM

For the last 2-3 months I have been researching hand planes. I’ve read one book and a lot of opinions about handplanes and I have purchased a couple of cheap used ones for the purpose of hands-on learning. I’m getting ready to buy some higher quality planes.

I would prefer to buy good quality used planes and I like the idea of buying planes that are 50+ years old. In my searching I have tripped onto some old Record planes made in England. They are sometimes referred to as Irwin Record Planes. I’m intrigued by this brand. From what I have read, they made some high quality planes primarily from 1930 to 1950. They apparently copied some Stanley planes after the patents expired around 1930.

Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of this brand? If so, would you be willing to share your thoughts on this board?

Thanks in advance because I know that, on this board, people readily share their thoughts and experiences.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

8 replies so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3059 days

#1 posted 09-29-2010 04:59 PM


I am certainly not an expert, but I have done some research on this topic. The Record planes that you mention (pre-1950) are, as you say, pretty much copies of the Stanley Bailey planes of about the same era. I think that they may have also copied some of the Stanley Bedrock planes as well, but I’m not certain about that. That said, you would find it easier to get your hands on the Stanley Bailey or Bedrock planes as opposed to the Record planes and probably would spend less money for pretty much the same product. The Bedrock planes are definitely the most sought after and therefore they tend to bring the higher cost. I had a Bedrock No. 7 that I sold in a moment of insanity and wish I had it back. The main thing, in my opinion and experience is the age. The older planes are just made better as far as I can tell, unless you want to spend the money for a LN or LV plane or similar. Also, definitely stay away from the Stanley Handyman series for any really fine work. You might use these for a scrub or for basic carpentry, but not for fine woodworking. You also don’t want planes from either manufacturer that were manufactured post 1950-ish. Below are some links that might be helpful to you on the history of both the Stanley and the Record planes. Also, in your consideration, don’t rule out the Millers Falls planes of the same era. Some of those planes were also very well made. I have also included a link for info about those as well.

Stanley Planes
Record Planes or
MillersFalls PLanes

Last thing that I would suggest is to check out the Old Tool List ( There are some very knowledgeable guys on there that can help with specific information about planes in general and even some that are experts in specific brands. Also, there are several old tool dealers that participate and often have some offerings that can be purchased at very fair prices. I have found these guys to be a very valuable resource.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2952 days

#2 posted 09-29-2010 07:32 PM

Hi Rich…this is right up my alley. Almost all of my planes are Record. I have the following Records: 3, 4, 5, T-5, 7, 8, Router Plane (Stanley 71 Copy), Flat and Round Spokeshave, Cabinet Scraper, and small Bullnose plane.

I acquired my interest in Record after seeing them as examples in a couple of books I read. I bought a number 5 jack plane first and was very impressed with its quality. All of my Records are used. They required a minimum of tune up, and worked beautifully when set up. I think they are on par with their comparable Stanleys (I had a couple of them, but sold them when I got on the Record train). The fit and finish of parts were nice. The blades are robust and hold a good edge (Record boasts “Tungsten” on their blades). The cabinet Scraper (Stanley #80 equivalent) has a much thicker blade than a Stanley.

The T-5 is a number 5 type with a modified body which has bosses drilled on each side for a side handle which allows the plane to be used for shooting board applications. I have to say, it excels at that use. However, the blade had to be changed because it could not stand up to the hard use. I replaced it with a Veritas A2 blade. All the other planes work as they should, no issues.

Mine vary in ages. Some are newer, some older. I haven’t tried to date them, but certain things are cues to the age. A couple have rosewood handles. Others have dark stained beech. My #7 has plastic handles (they will be changed out one of these days).

I haven’t seen Irwin Record planes. I have seen, and own one, Record Maples. It is my #4. It works great, they just used beech for the handles. Other than that, no difference. All have adjustable frogs like Stanley-Bailey planes and they all use brass adjusters and brass hardware for the totes and knobs. I have never seen one made like a Bedrock however. But I suppose anything is possible.

I would say if you want to use Records, you would be using good quality planes. I believe you would be getting the same from vintage Stanleys. I don’t think either has an advantage over the other. Not sure what a good source for Records would be other than the way I got mine: Ebay UK. I bought one (#7) from Ebay US. However, I live in Germany and shipping to here wasn’t too bad. To the US, the shipping would be painful. I guess there are some vendors out there that have better shipping prices, not sure. You see Records every now and then on Ebay US.

Bottom line: they are definitely good users. I am very happy with mine. Are they better than others? I don’t think so. They have good blades, but how they work and such is no better then a properly tuned Stanley-Bailey type. And of course a LN or Veritas require no tune-up (per-se), but after using both of those also, mine perform just as well as LN or Veritas because they are properly tuned.

If you need anything else answered in regards to the types that I have, just let me. I hope this helps get you going.

-- Mike

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2972 days

#3 posted 09-29-2010 08:18 PM

I’ve seen a few old Record brand planes at my usual iron shops. They seem on par with the old Stanley’s in many cases they seem to be priced a bit better, though I have seen a few that seemed to be priced more, though it may be to some “rare” aspect that I wasn’t aware of. I wouldn’t shy away from one if I found one in a configuration I needed or a price that was too good to pass up. On ebay, the majority of the ones I see are from the UK so I avoid them only for postage reasons.

-- Galootish log blog,

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4025 days

#4 posted 09-29-2010 08:45 PM

I have two Records, a No. 4 and a No. 7 that I bought new in the 80’s. They are certainly on par with the Stanleys, but are basically unremarkable. Nothing bad to report, but certainly not of the quality of the Bedrock-class planes.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View knotscott's profile


8018 posts in 3376 days

#5 posted 09-29-2010 09:12 PM

Rich – I’m fond of my Record planes and have gravitated towards them more than most others. Having owned several Baileys, a Bedrock 605, several Millers Falls, and a few others, Record planes are among my favorites. I can’t say with any factual certainty that the Records are higher quality, but they’re very good, and I like them. I’d rate them at least on par with the Baileys…they seem a little heftier to me and I like the blue color more. It’s subjective but I guess there really doesn’t need to be any other reasons to get them if you like them, and find the right deal.

AFAIK, Irwin didn’t come into the picture until much later in the game than the era you’re looking at.

There are a couple of websites dedicated to Record planes:

I’ve added several since this pic was taken about 2 years ago:

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View mvflaim's profile


189 posts in 3092 days

#6 posted 09-30-2010 03:29 AM

Record planes are no longer made so their collectabilty of them has greatly increased over the years. Some of the planes go much higher than the Stanley equivalelents for the same quality.

View BOXHEAD's profile


8 posts in 492 days

#7 posted 01-21-2017 12:37 PM

Hi Rich, I have 1 Record plane left it’s a 4 1/2 SS they were made in the 50’s and 60’s it is in x cond (new cond) with the original box, the box is a bit has some tatty corners and has the original book also 2 Record spoke shaves flat and curved soles.

If you are interested I’ll post some pics

Cheers Bob

View WillliamMSP's profile


1084 posts in 1605 days

#8 posted 01-21-2017 03:19 PM

^^^ this is a 6+ year old thread and the OP’s last post, two years ago, was in reference to selling off his shop.

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

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