Buying Woodworking Tools is Becoming Stupid
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- This topic has 117 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 2 months ago by Ian Lockwood.
31 December 2017 at 5:55 am #424474
I travel frequently with my job (bulk of the east coast US) and stop in every antique store / flea market I pass by…and I hadn’t seen a single router plane in the 6 months or so I had been searching for one. I’m pretty damn good at tracking down hard-to-find items, and I’ve found every other tool you would need (and at bargain prices–recently picked up a pre-war #4 for $10), but nary a router ANYWHERE. I finally threw in the towel and sprung for a LN…love the tool but every time I use it I’m reminded of my failure. A few weeks back I was passing through Pittsboro, NC, and stopped in the tool store at Roy Underhill’s school. The place is truly impressive, hundreds of bench planes, boxes and shelves full of chisels, spokeshaves, etc, but only one lonely router plane, a 71 in poor condition, going for $95. I spoke with Ed who runs the place, and he was equally lamenting the absurd prices being asked for the routers these days and how hard they are to come by. Part of the problem is every router has “Stanley 71” (or the equivalent) cast right into it, so it’s incredibly easy for anyone who finds one to do a quick Google search and realize they can charge a premium for it, which is further compounded by the next person who’s selling one, cue the vicious cycle.
I’ve had success buying vintage tools from ‘The Best Things’. Higher prices than eBay, but the tool descriptions are always completely honest.
http://www.thebestthings.com/vintools.htm2 January 2018 at 11:19 am #426120
Yeah I’ve had the same issue trying to find a routerplane, it doesn’t necessarily need to be prestine but when the options are a spares and repairs buy for next to nothing then trawling around for the missing parts or spending £100+ for a full set it rapidly becomes easier to justify a Veritas/Lee Neilsen router plane…
Surprised there isn’t enough demand there’s a modern £30-50 replacement, even if it’s not as good as the vintage Record/Stanley 071s.2 January 2018 at 1:13 pm #426170
Maybe one day I’ll have he luxury of being able to afford a used router 😂
JT2 January 2018 at 1:31 pm #426186
Most people mistakenly want to find the full set of ‘bells & whistles’ with each one.
Before they own one, they feel they might be losing functionality if they don’t have them.
There’s a good reason for missing fences/gauges/shoes. They were never any use.
It was a sales gimmick. Everyone took them off. Most got lost.
Ever seen Paul using any of that?
The ‘fence’ is 1″ in length. Wouldn’t keep you straight.
The ‘guide’ doesn’t prevent you veering to the sides.
It’s not a good plough-plane.
It is an excellent router – without all that ‘stuff’.
A smooth-running sole is ruined with lateral groves against the direction of travel.
The ‘depth-stop’ isn’t a stop of any kind. Its a poor visual aid.
Closing the throat with a ‘shoe’ is unnecessary. A wooden sole & two screws did that.
Calling it ‘open’ is misleading. Your view’s obscured by the bracket & bridge.
If you want an open throat, turn the iron around. It’s as open as you’ll ever need.
They never were cheap. Even in the 1920’s. That’s why people went to all the trouble of casting their own copies in bronze. Who would do that for a tool today? I think Paul said his cost him a weeks’ wages fifty years ago. £76 today doesn’t seem too bad in comparison.
Premium prices are for all cutters, original boxes, instructions… because it’s a collector’s investment. Any woodworker worth his salt makes a wooden box. If you want a router for woodworking, they’re a lot cheaper. When I sold one last year, one buyer said “I only want NEW. Boxed. Under £35”. They’re 50-120 years old. If you’re popping back to 1923, get me a couple!2 January 2018 at 3:04 pm #426243
I would argue that even the most “basic” used 71s for sale are disproportionately expensive (in the US and on eBay, at least). I can’t justify $100 or so for a rusty tool with whatever cutter is already installed in it, when a new Lie-Nielsen retails for $140.
JT2 January 2018 at 3:30 pm #426261
If $140 gets you a full-sized one, then I see your point. They’re listed here at $200 (£146 GBP).
I think you’re looking at the little ‘dolls’s house’ ones, not much more than a Stanley 271. $140 for those is steep.
I’d like to hear what others think about all the attachments being necessary.
Has anyone actually used them?2 January 2018 at 5:24 pm #426359
I’ve seen Paul measuring shoulder depth on tenons using his Rabone Square. Sometimes using a second router set to final depth, when finishing tenons. So they’re accurately centred. Never relying on the router’s built-in depth-gauge.
it seems that the quangsheng routers are out of stock wherever you go (the newer, improved version), as are the veritas models. Lie nielsen are coming in at approx. £100 + postage. The guy that contacted me from here had emailed me but then had sold the router than I made an offer on. It seems the search continues2 January 2018 at 5:39 pm #426373
I have used the fence on my veritas plane a bit in the beginning , but it has mostly hung on a nail since. There are other tools way more efficient. Although it may be ideal for beading and such or marquetery i am not in that catagory of woodworking yet. My main use nowadays is to flatten tenons and rabbits and such where the fence is not needed2 January 2018 at 5:52 pm #426385
Nope, $140 in the US for the full-sized “71.” Their “271” lists here for $80.
It “only” comes with a 3/8″ square cutter, but you can get the adapter to use the smaller 271 cutters in the larger 71, if you so choose.
The depth stop on the LN is a simple design and comes in handy. It’s located directly on the cutter post, and it works by simply preventing you from lowering the cutter any further. So, what you could do is set the router to final depth and tighten the depth stop, use it as a marking gauge, back off the cutter as far as necessary, and then repeatedly work to the original depth setting. I’m sure there’s a video on YT that shows it better than I can explain.
JT2 January 2018 at 7:17 pm #426459
Are you looking at Rare/Mint/Boxed ? They are £100-£180.
You can get good/used for £80.
I got a my new/old stock for £90 (no box). It has one iron but that’s all I need.2 January 2018 at 7:28 pm #426469
I’d like to hear what others think about all the attachments being necessary.
Has anyone actually used them?
I used mine once 50 years ago just to see what it did.
The only attatchments I find useful are not provided with the tool.
1) a larger sole. You make your own from a scrap of hardwood. If you REALLY need a fence, you attach it to this.
2) a depth stop like one of the ones LN or Veritas provide. You make your own from an electric lamp grommet and a thumb screw. Fits around the cutter shaft ( see previous post).
2 January 2018 at 7:39 pm #426482
- This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by Larry Geib.
That’s my point exactly!
We need to dispel this myth that all those bits are needed.
You never saw a wooden “Old Woman’s Tooth” router with ‘bits’ on it!
Searching Sold Routers on eBay, I saw someone bought a Record 071 with a broken gauge-clamp; £23.
Ideal. Wish I’d seen it. File off the old remnants of casting and still have good Router.
I’ll look-into that Depth-stop idea.
I WAS thinking I’d drop a brass tube over the threaded stem to limit downward travel of the knurled adjusting-nut.2 January 2018 at 8:39 pm #426544
It might be possible to use the depth stop Lee Valley sells for the small router on the adjustment post of a 71-71 1/2
worst case, I think, is you have to drill it out to fit.
Maybe file a flat to clear the cutter.
If I hadn’t made mine, I’d buy one just to see.
The LN one for their small router might also work.
It is square, and costs 3x as much.
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