Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 6
   July 2011
   From the Collection

Stanley #171 Door Trim and Router Plane

Stanley #171 Door Trim and Router Plane

In retail, it's well known that constantly making changes (no matter how small) to a product under the guise of being "new and improved" usually promises a steady stream of dedicated new buyers. This is especially true of the North American automobile industry. Some of our readers may have noticed the gasoline fill pipe flipping back and forth from side to side on successive years of the same car model. In fact, manufacturers have even gone so far as to place an arrow on the dashboard indicating on which side the filler cap is situated. The question may be whether it is the consumer or the manufacturer who needs to be continually reminded of the current placement.

The plane shown here, manufactured from 1911 to 1934, is an example of the new-and-improved strategy. This updated version of the popular Stanley #71 and #71-1/2 router planes displayed the design talents of Christian Bodmer and Edmund A. Schade, whose patent #1,012,591 was granted on December 26, 1911. However, aside from the significant change in appearance, there were not too many technical improvements made to the tool. The most salient was the addition of a set of nifty attachments and adjustment features that enabled the user to cut a slot or mortise. For example, a slot up to 2" deep could be cut while maintaining rigidity in the cutter bar to a maximum of 6" inboard of an edge. Another enhancement was that by adjusting the proprietary cutter, with its unique holder and depth control (available in 3/8", 1/2", 5/8"), and by flicking a lever, the blade rotated, allowing for 360 control.
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