Last weekend, at a Midwest Tool
Collectors show, I acquired a Stanley 271 which is
similar to the 71 but only about a third of the
The small cutter in the 271 is even more difficult to sharpen
that a 71 blade and this one had significant rust pitting to
The foot (business end) bottom side of these
cutters is flat and ground at an angle to the plane base to
provide a relief area behind the cutting edge. Flat surfaces can
be ground and polished on stones in the conventional manner, I
have a coarse diamond plate and with sufficient elbow grease was
able to flatten and remove all rust pitting on the bottom of the
271 cutter. That little guy is hard steel!
But the bevel did not yield as easily. An
internet search showed people holding the cutters upside down
with the bevel on the edge of a stone. I could not hold the
small cutter at a consistent angle and I was rounding over the
bevel, a no-no on a plane blade. So I did what any red blooded
woodworker would do. I took a nap. When I woke up I had an idea.
I have a saw sharpening jig that combines a saw vise with a flat
reference plate which stabilizes the triangular file. If I could
create a similar reference plate parallel to the router plane
blade bevel, I could use that to guide a diamond file. And this
method would work just as well on a Stanley 71 cutter.
In the junk pile I found a bit of aluminum bent
at a 90 degree angle. It probably was a rack spacer in a
previous life. This would do as a reference.
Aluminum angle to be used as reference plate.