Router Plane Fix

felibien router plane 5

Worked like a charm.

The old Stanley router plane turned up in the mail from a colleague in the States a while back, the box a little crunched and the threaded adjustment shaft was bent. Not a huge problem, but the thing was that it made it impossible to set the iron for anything less than about 3/8” (9 mm). The question was; leave it as is, or try to bend and risk breaking the shaft? Not needing the plane right then, I decided to think about it…

Felibien router plane 1

The bent shaft made it impossible to decrease the depth of cut.

The other day when cutting some tenons for a desk for my daughter Rachel, I decided to try to fix the shaft. I figured even if I broke the shaft the plane would still be usable, as the thumb nut is only used for fine adjustments.

I had had a similar problem on a Record 044 plow plane I bought online a while back. It seemed at the time to be an incredible bargain. When it arrived, I could see why. Sharper eyes than mine… There is a machine screw that holds the irons, of different widths, up against the body and a pressure foot to hold the iron against its bed. Whoever bought the plane way back when seemed not to have understood how the screw and the pressure foot worked together, and had cranked the screw so hard he had bent it. Taking a closer look back at the photos online, you could see the problem, but I hadn’t noticed. The iron couldn’t seat properly and from the looks of it the plane was put back into the box and never touched again. None of the irons had ever even been sharpened.

For the plow plane, I took three regular nuts and threaded them down the screw, aligned them and clamped them in a metal vise and used a big Cresent wrench to bend the screw straight. Worked fine, but in this case, the shaft was a true 1/4” and the 6 mm nuts I have here in France wouldn’t fit. So I knocked together a little jig in 5 mm ply to protect the threads from the vise.

Felibien router plane 2

The soft aspen-cored okoume 5mm ply was perfect for the job.

felibien router plane 3

The 5 mm ply was the perfect thickness to leave space for the 1/4″ threaded shaft. You can see the slight indent where the wood compressed around the shaft.

Worked like a charm, not 100% straight, but fully functional.

felibien router plane 4

The iron was in pretty good shape, and 15 minutes on the stone got it done.

felibian router plane desk copy

Rachel’s desk

Oak and black locust, with maritime pine as secondary wood.

felibian router plane desk 2 copy

I have always liked a low angle for my wrists for typing, so I added an old-fashioned typing tray, wide enough to take a big laptop or a wide keyboard, with a drawer to store it behind the hinged center piece.

I ended up taking it to a joiner I know to cut the profile around the edges of the top on his table moulder. The end grain of the black locust was just too splintery to cut across it with the moulding plane I wanted to use, even with a sacrificial block clamped onto the end to keep it from tearing out. Other than that, I used a thicknesser, and then the rest was hand tools.

There is a reason it is a cliché among woodworkers to speak of the satisfaction of building something for your family that, as long as it lives in a home, will last centuries: It really is satisfying.

Now, if only someone could tell me what eschauffent means…

– Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson is a translator and woodworker living in France. He is translating the woodworking parts of André Felibien’s Des principes de l’architecture, de la sculpture, de la peinture… avec un dictionnaire des terms for Lost Art Press. The book is due out in the Autumn of 2014. Anderson translated Grandpa‘s Workshop for us.



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Router Plane Fix

  1. eschauffent, maybe means attaqued by fungus like spalted wood, a wood that was “échauffé” was considered to be useless. But I need the rest of the sentence to be sure of the meaning.
    François Pernod French woodworker


  2. Voilà Francois! merci — the sentence is “(les poutres) ne touchant jamais le mortier ny le platre, qui eschauffent & pourrissent le bois” — the word appears several times in the charpente chapter — it was clear that it meant some kind of fungal attack because of humidity in the wood, but because Felibien mentions mushrooms and fungus directly elsewhere, I was wondering if there was some more specific meaning. I found a couple of mentions here and there in books from the 17th century and the dictionary of 1648 from the French Academy, but they were not all that clear.


    • Thank you, that’s what I thought. Whenever the wood was enclosed by anything, plaster, lime or whatever, it would put it in danger of fungal attack and if so the wood lost all of it’s strenght. And that was especially true in the case of flooring support. In many old building you can see that the main beams sat on tiles to stop the capillarity and it was never sealed so that the air could circulate around the beam. In that manner the wood could not “s’échauffer”.


  3. dfclv says:

    Nice work ole friend!


  4. legrosseb says:

    Hi brian, “Eschauffent” cannot be french. Well, I am. Could you send me the context and the sentence and i’ll give you a translation.



    • Eschauffer est tout à fait correct en Français du 17ème siècle ou il avait le sens de réchauffer, tenir au chaud. Et à notre époque dans les ateliers on parle toujours de bois échauffés pour des bois qui ont subi l’attaque des champignons.


      • Sens du mot “échauffer” tiré du Trésor de la langue française : “d) [Le compl. désigne une substance] Provoquer une certaine altération, de la fermentation : 2. Les blés à bas, on laissait les herbes se sécher un jour, se consumer au soleil, car, vertes, elles fermentent et peuvent échauffer la paille…”

        Tout à fait logique.

        It’s clearly related to material alteration due to non ideal storing or environmental conditions.


      • legrosseb says:

        Effectivement, je n’avais pas mis l’expression dans sa perspective historique. Merci pour la précision.


  5. mcdara says:

    Behold! The power of the BLOG!


Comments are closed.