Two little “groovin’ cuties”

Every woodworker has favorite tools.  Some are favorites because they have a broad range of uses, like a reciprocating saw.  Others have very limited uses, but they just feel “right” every time you pick them up. Some are simply wonderful examples of the toolmaker’s art.

Two of my favorites are plough planes, a Record 050 and a Record 043.  (If this were a discussion about an American made plane, I would have spelled it plow.)  The 050 is a “standard” size.  The 043 is a small, single-handed plane, for fine work.  Both are a joy to use.

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I’ve noticed that when most folks use a plough (or any moulding or specialty plane) for the first time, they’re inclined to position it as you would a jointer, at the “beginning” of the cut.  WRONG!  While it may seem counter- intuitive, specialty planes should be started near the “finish” of the cut.

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Starting at the “finish” effectively shortens chip length.  Shorter chip length greatly reduces the potential for tear out.  Also, taking shorter chips helps when encountering changes in grain direction, knots or other anomalies in the stock.  It also requires less energy and makes the plane easier to control.  This is especially important when using any plane that is fitted with a movable fence or other type of lateral stop.  Happy ploughing (plowing).

 

 

 

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9 Comments on “Two little “groovin’ cuties””

  1. Alfred Kraemer Says:

    That is a very good suggestion, and it makes perfect sense. The bigger the curled up chip the greater the effort and the risk of tearout at the groove edge. I usually reduce the cut at the start to reduce tearout and establish a correct groove distance from the edge.
    I think I’ll combine it with your suggestion.

    Thank you,

    Alfred

  2. forbeskm Says:

    Love my record 43 and 44, I have not tried the 50.

  3. Sylvain Says:

    How do you handle the 43? Like Paul Sellers (third picture in his blog dated 22 August 2011) or like Matthew (2nd picture in Matthew’s blog in workshop heaven dated December 2015).
    Sylvain

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      Hi Sylvain,
      The short answer is, “neither.” Over the years I’ve found that the biggest difficulty with any type of plough is keeping it at a right angle to the surface. The instant that the plane becomes the least bit “canted” the fence looses contact with its “riding” surface and the plane begins to bind in the plough (slot). This is especially easy to do with the 043, due to its small size. My left hand grip is (usually) with my thumb providing lateral pressure to the fence and my fingers positioned over the front of the plane body to assist in keeping the plane vertical. The right hand is critical insofar as maintaining a vertical position. I find, as well, that I have to consciously remind myself to push the plane forward and avoid the instinctive tendency towards downwards pressure. Lastly, maintaining a fresh, sharp edge on the iron is critical. A sharp iron requires very little, if any, downward pressure to stay engaged in the cut. Any sharp tool is easier to control than a dull one. Thanks for the question. Dennis

  4. Alex Says:

    I am trying to match a handful of shelves that have a ~16th inch bead along both front edges. I haven’t been able to find any router bits or side molding plane that small. At this point, I have been anticipating having to make my own moulding plane or modify a chisel. Any chance the plough plane is the solution that I hadn’t been able to find?

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      The smallest beading irons that I have for either Stanley or Record “combo” planes is 1/8″. My guess would be that a 1/16″ bead would have been “scratched” using a scratch stock. Several are commercially available. But the very best are home made and fitted with a bit filed from an old scraper or piece of saw blade. The “stock” itself is generally made from an “L” shaped piece of hard wood, so lateral positioning and depth can be easily controlled by correct positioning of the bit in the stock. As the bit is mounted vertically, the scratch stock allows the user to go in either direction which makes dealing with grain changes much easier to deal with. Hope this helps.

  5. Howard in Wales Says:

    The Record 050 was based on the Stanley 50 version and (in my opinion) is a better plane because of the more positive clamping and adjusting mechanism. That said, some user that I know have a range of 1/8″ deep cutters from a variety of manufacturers and dispense with the micro adjustments altogether….. they all fit. You get the cutter depth by ‘feel’, just as you would with a moulding plane.

    The 043 was intended as a plough to cut drawer bottoms, and came with only 3 cutters, 1/8”, 3/16” and ¼”; latterly until it was discontinued, it was offered in the UK with an option of metric blades up to about 12mm, if my memory serves me, but these were never very popular because it is possible to use wider blades from other Record or Stanley planes. It will struggle with a 1” wide blade, but I’ve used up to 5/8” on soft wood where I wanted a hidden blind groove in a board that was stopped at both ends.

    May I suggest that, particularly with the 043, a short wooden fence, about 1 inch deep aids balance and gives a positive contact with the side of the board? It’s much easier to keep the stock upright that way and is a huge improvement.

    The 043 is a small plane in size and challenges those with big hands. The most comfortable way to hold it, if that’s the correct term, is with the side bars extended about halfway through the main stock so that the bulge of the plane rests in the palm of the hand and the thumb and first two fingers ride on either side on the bars. It was never really intended for the ‘handle’ section to be grasped in the fingers, unless you have the hands of a child.

    Finally, looking at your planes in the pictures, the 043 appears to me to be what was termed “War Finish” and probably date in manufacture from the decade up to the mid 1950s. War Finish tools were made without Nickel plating, which was a strategic commodity and embargoed at the time, hence the matt, un-shiny finish.
    All best from Wales

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      Thanks for the input Howard. I agree completely. The 050 is better than the 50 and the 043 is strictly for drawer bottom ploughs. If I were doing a lot of drawers, I’d opt for the 050 or a 45. But for small work and/or a limited amount of work, the 043 is my choice. Probably more to do with what a pretty little plane it is than because of ease of use. Great to hear from Wales.


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