Record 044. How to set it?

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    I acquired this beautiful plane but i cannot cut a good rabbet or Groove. Must the cutter be proud of plane body as we set old wooden rabbet planes?
    While i am using this plane i feel a great force that pulls my hands into the cut, more and more deeper… what am i doing wrong?

    Thomas Angle

    The iron does need to sit a little proud of the body just like a wooden one.

    Arbovale, WV

    Proverbs 18:13
    13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.


    Gawd knows what that great force is…..

    The secret of the 044 (and any plough plane for that matter) is to get the blade just right; not only the obvious cutting edge but corners and sides as well. Worry about the plane’s ability to perform after you’ve sorted the blades.

    If you look carefully at the blades in cross-section you’ll see that the shape is not rectangular as you’d think, but it should be trapezoidal – i.e narrower at the front edge than the back. There’s very little in it, just a degree or two and hardly perceptible to the eye, but it makes a huge difference to the cut.

    This in turn demands a little more attention in sharpening. Unlike conventional plane blades which are active only on the cutting edge, the plough blade is in touch with the wood on the sides of the trench as well as the cutting edge. The tapered sides reduce friction on the sides.

    Few blades are ready to use from the box when new…. Even old 044s that were made 50 years ago. The first thing is to flatten and finish down the range of grits you have available. Aim for a good level flat on the surface of the last ½” or so.

    Next, lay each side of the blade on the stones and do the same for the edge where it meets the back; this ensures that the sides burnish the sides of the trench as it descends in the cut. Ensure that the blade is exactly parallel in width at this point.

    Finally, ensure that the cutting edge is sharp and most importantly that the corners each side are pin-sharp. Blunt corners will result in a plane that cuts a couple of strokes of a trench then stops or, if rebating, moves progressively toward the edge, resulting in a rounded corner.

    As far as the blade’s protruding on the side, in practice this equates (in my experience) to about 0.5 mm (sorry about the metrics) over the side of the plane stock. This should be taken care of by the depth of the machining on the stock.

    Sorry it’s a bit long, but that’s the basics of a trouble –free plough plane on any kind. If there are still problems, that’s for chapter two.

    Good luck




    Many thanks guys! I still have some problems but cuuters cut well now…
    I can’t ger the cutter proud of plane body because the cutter itself bears firmly against a little step on the inside.
    Second: i do not understand the screw on the left of yhe blade what is meant for: i tried to tighten this screw to make the cuttere protrude at the right but it will not stay parallel to the plane bod. So what must i do to have the iron flat square and proud?
    third ( last question) : sometimes it seems that i have to cu a Groove or rabbet against the grain. What is the trick here?


    The right-hand side of the cutter should sit inside a slot in the main body of the plane. It should be flat all the way up.

    If the slot has an obstruction inside holding the blade proud, remove it, but be careful.
    The protuberance of the side of the blade over the side of the body should be only about 0.5mmm – the thickness of a couple of sheets of paper – no more.

    The screw at the left of the blade is an additional blade clamp that holds the blade straaight when adjusting its depth and does nothing to adjust the final alignment of the blade. It should be only finger tight or a light turn of the screwdriver at the most.

    You can get a PDF copy of Record’s original instructions for the plane here, (about half way down the page) which tells you about the various screws and their intended use:

    The Record 044 is not equipped with a nicker-blade and in my experience doesn’t cut well across the grain without prior peparation. The usual technique here is to pre-score the sides, pre-cut with a saw then excavate the trench or the rebate.

    Good luck


    I’ve been struggling too. I thought I was the only one who couldn’t get the 044 to work properly.

    Thanks Howard for the information on the blade cross-section. Why don’t they include any of this stuff in the manufacturer’s guides? Seems they’re never written by carpenters.

    Hi Bow,
    In one plough-plane demonstration, Paul says; “sometimes you just have to pull the plane towards you to keep with the grain, and lose the use of the fence”.
    For a short wile, he struggled with a grain running in both directions, creating a rougher cut than he would have liked, then finished by pulling the plane towards him to smooth things off.

    There’s a fairly good demo in ‘Wall Hung Tool Cabinet – episode 7’


    Irregular grain pattern seldom cuts cleanly with a narrow blade.

    If you’re still getting tear-out with a well sharpened blade, pre-cut the sides of the trench before each pass. Keep doing this going down the trench.

    Use either a sharp cutting guage, a pointed knife or to start the trench, a mortise gauge with pins that are filed to chisel-points in order to cut the fibres.

    Good luck…….. it ain’t just you – it has happened to all of us at one time or another.

    Ian Jefferson

    Bow, Alan,

    I wonder how you made out with your plough plane tuning?


    Thanks for your detailed explanation of the blade setup. One comment/question you mentioned the blade must be proud of the skate by 0.5mm but I think you may mean 0.05mm if you are talking thickness of paper. At least here in Canada and the US ordinary writing paper is 0.003″ so 2X that would be 6 thousands of an inch or .0762 mm.

    I have three planes for rebates and grooves but only one works. I have a record 043 which is fine but a Craftsman combination plane and a record 044 both cut progressively to the outside for a rebate. I’m new to these planes but the success with the 043 which is a joy to use gave me a lot of confidence. Looking at the three planes there is a clear difference between the blade offset on the RHS. The 043 is definitely proud of the skate by around that 3-6 thousands range but the other two are flush or even below the skate side.

    I’m curious how others have resolve this issue. It looks to me like a manufacturing problem on my 044 and possibly another issue on the combination plane. The thought of putting a file inside the plane gives me the shivers. I think on the 044 I could put a shim on the upper side of the blade to in effect tilt the blade towards the skate as a temporary test solution.

    Since I have two such planes and I saw this thread I suspect this issue is much more common than I might have been otherwise lead to believe. At first I would have been blaming myself “the operator” if it had not been for my wonderful 043 which cuts perfect grooves and rebates even with my home made blades. I hope others might gain a bit of confidence from my experiences.


    Ian, This thread goes back into pre-history, but here goes.

    The side protrusion is not critical but needs to be evident on both sides of the Record 044 skates. About 0.5 is right… could be more… 05mm (1/50th?) seems tight to me and may be your problem. The planes were made to British Standards and the British Standard way of checking is by feeling with your thumb-nail. If you can feel it sticking out, then it’s OK. I did say a couple of pieces of paper………honest, it isn’t a critical issue.

    However. Record 044s (and 043s for that matter) were in production for a very long time and went through a series of iterations. In the early years after the last war, nickel was unobtainable, and the planes were marked ‘War Finish’ on their (long departed) boxes. In short, quality over the years was inconsistent. Your 043, however sounds as if it is a good ’un. The 044 may need a little investigation and work. But this should not be insurmountable in order to get it to work.

    One slight misconception is to think that the skates are there to ensure precise positioning in the groove. Far from it. The path of the groove is a combination of you – guiding it- and the fence- keeping it parallel. The skates are simply a mechanism for supporting a moving blade in a predetermined path without interfering with the quality of the work. What you do not want is a misaligned set of skates binding in the side of the ploughed groove as it gets deeper. Misalignment can sometimes happen when the plane is dropped….. or worse.

    Here’s a check if you can measure down to a millimetre plus one decimal point acutely; one decimal is plenty.

    First, look at your blade. To cut well and accurately it must be sharpened at the bevel, straight across, about 25 – 30 degrees so that, when mounted in the plane, an equal amount protrudes below each side of the skate. If this is a right angle to the sides of the blade, good – if not don’t worry – it is the equal depth in the skates that is important and individual variations in the side grooves may affect its actual mounting position. Next, flatten the back for the last 5/8 to ¾ “ or so. Next, look at the Cross section. It needs to be trapezoidal, tapering from the back. If it is a rectangle, as some modern ones are, it will definitely bind. Stone each side as the back so that there is a clean well-defined aris at the side and back; this ensures that the side walls of the groove are even. Finally the corners must be pin sharp. If you have a rounded corner it will not cut and push the groove off centre. This can be a reason for a groove moving to the side as it descends.

    Check the blade protuberance: Remove the fence and assemble a well sharpened blade. With a good Vernier check and compare the outer distances of the skates for parallel at the toe, at the mouth, in the middle, and at the heel. The width of the blade minus the skate width at the mouth will give the protrusion. If the skates are wider at any point than the blade it will bind and not cut accurately. If it widens out at the heel (as many do) it is either damage or a manufacturing fault.
    The skates sides may be concave along their length. Not unheard of. Take an accurate straight edge and lay it along each side. Next rest the straight edge on the side of the assembled blade as near as you can to its tip. It should pivot very slightly – repeat both sides. The British Standard Thumb Test is about half a millimetre…. Maybe a bit more or less. ……..or a couple of bits of paper!
    Don’t think of an 044 plough plane as a precision instrument – it ain’t. Compare it to the humble 043 that has a single skate that floats all over the groove but works extremely wel as you have found outl. It will also accept all the bigger blades that the 044 came with as long as you have the strength to push it.

    Finally, if you have plane bodies that have their blades with sides below the edges of the skates you only have a paper-weight. They will not cut a groove at all. In my experience, it could be a combination of poor machining (the blade groove needs to be deeper) or detritus in the root of the groove, commonly called Krud.

    I once had a Stanley 50 with this problem and it amounted to a piece of machined swarf curling up in the groove then being chrome/nickel plated over during manufacture. This was the one that I took a narrow file to. It would not work and had never been used from new since the 1960s for this reason.

    Good luck

    Ian Jefferson

    Thanks Howard,

    More good information for future readers of this thread. LOL – British Standard Thumbnail (BST) indeed.

    As it turned out the critical problem on these two planes was the RHS blade offset. 1/2 a millimeter is a lot but I will probably try that experiment. What I did was fall back to scientific method. The punch line was that I places a 0.010″ shim on the RHS of the upper portion of the blade. This had the effect on my planes of moving the cutting edge of the blade to the right about the same amount.

    At first I considered this a temporary test/solution however I don’t have an urge to do much more as I’ll explain below. There were a few other issues with the combination plane that I won’t elaborate on other than to say that the skate was higher than the blade on the RHS and getting the blade out or more to the right as you noted fixed the issue I was seeing.

    I noted that the 043 and 044 had pretty much interchangeable blades if one was willing to forego the fine adjustment features of the 044. So I took the blade off my 043 which was a home made 1/4″ blade and put it on the 044 after removing the fine adjustment screw then I just set it the way I set my 043. Since I knew the blade was good I kind of eliminated that variable. Sure enough progressive cuts towards the outside and the CST (Canadian Standard Thumbnail) read pretty much like the BST that the blade was not protruding enough or at all. I inserted the shim and voila problem solved. I’m skipping over all the operator error bits of course including the part where the lower part of the fence was just touching the vice jaw therefore limiting my depth of cut – but I’m still on my morning coffee over here so…

    I re-assembled the 044 with it’s blade and the shim and we have a happy plane.

    Why no filing: Paul Sellers had noted that his blades don’t have a relief angle on the sides but as you noted above the factory blades I have do have this relief. Personally I think the relief would be essential for deep grooves but I don’t have any experience in wood to say if this is true or not so I am inclined to take your advice on this matter.

    My blades do not have this relief, at least not after the first inch or so behind the cutting edge. The amount the blade had to move to get it cutting correctly was very small. Adding a relief, which I may do at some point would move the blade to the right because the step that clamps the blade on the RHS is only about 1/3 the thickness of the blade itself. I might end up with factory blades some day and I don’t really want to move it any further to the right than I have to. The shim is trivial to install and adjustable so if I wanted 0.5mm I could do it and have it reversible. (I also have commitment issues :-).

    I’m still curious where Bow and Alan ended up though.

    Pre-history? This information is timeless IMHO.

    Best Regards.


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