Stanley Planes

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Restoring Planes: Metal and Wooden

  How To Sharpen a Router Plane Blade by Jim Harvey 1 of 3  



I have a couple of Stanley 71 router planes.

The cutters are difficult to sharpen because the bevel is blocked by the shaft that connects the foot with the plane.


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 size.

The small cutter in the 271 is even more difficult to sharpen that a 71 blade and this one had significant rust pitting to grind out.

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.

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