71s Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

The Stanley 71 Hand Router is the mostly metal version of the wooden hand routers from the 18th century and beyond.  Good usable examples go for $70 or so on the auction sites every day and there is no shortage of DIYers that make their own (or attempt to) in my case.  (see My hand Router Attempt) for the gruesome details of my failure.

Anyways, while looking around one of the hand plane restoration forums on the net, I came across the this beauty??

At first I am “hummm” sort of taken aback.  It’s a little too fancy, too modern.  Especially compared to the Stanley 71 it was presumably modeled after.

They look close right?  The Stanley 71 Router was introduced to the masses in 1885 and was continually produced in one version or another until 1973! (88yrs in total).  Essentially the electric hand router replaced the manual hand router as the tool of choice when shaping wood.   Just as the 71 replaced this hand router below:

A simple wood wedge shaped block with an opening for a blade iron and a wood wedge to keep it in place.  This same arrangement was used in all manner of hand planes not just these “widow’s tooth’s” as they were known.

Today if you want a stanley 71 type hand plane and want to forgo the used route then lie-nielsen toolworks will be happy to sell you one of theirs.

which come in two size, large pictured and small.  I have never seen one but I hear that they are fabulous tools and worth the money.  But if LN’s plane is newer but not fancy enough.  Other than the brass plane that we started this post with here are a few other options.


cool nice throwback to the industrial age.

I like the recast stanley 71 base with the very original hardware and the finally the one below:

Alas, my non-existent metal skills will ensure that one of these planes never meet my benchtop.  So back to my (hand router attempt…) with a little more inspiration to give it another go.  Maybe from this:

to this??

Gotta dream big I say.  happy routing.

For detailed information on Stanley 71 planes visit Superior Works a website run by Patrick Leach. A great resource on stanley planes and well worth reading before you get into a Hand Plane buying whether as a user or a dealer.


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