What is a router plane?
What it's used for
Router planes are used for trimming and levelling the bottoms of joint recesses such as shallow mortises and dados (housings).
It planes the recesses to a uniform depth and can work into corners that could otherwise only be reached only by a chisel.
The irons, or blades, used in router planes are distinctive – they fit vertically into the plane, but are cranked at the bottom so the cutting edge, which is always bevel up, meets the wood at the correct angle.
To add versatility, some router plane blades can be reversed so that the cutting edge can reach right into the corner of a recess that stops short of the end of the wood.
This is known as the "bullnose configuration", because of its similarity in use to a bullnose plane (see)
Routed by its lookalike
When you look at a router plane, you can instantly see where the design of today's electrically powered router came from.
Unfortunately for the router plane, this popular power tool, due to its speed and versatility, has more or less replaced it in today's workshops.
Versions of the router plane made by Stanley were allocated Stanley model numbers, some of which are still used today by Stanley and other plane manufacturers.
Look for the Stanley No. 71 and No 71½. The No. 271 is a small version for light work.