The Record No.077/077A bull-nose

The No.77 block plane is the cousin of the No.76, but was only manufactured from 1933 to 1943. It is likely derived from the Preston No. 1355, and lacks the receding nose of the No.076, but adds a blade adjustment mechanism in the form of a milled nut. Due to its limited manufacturing years, it’s somewhat of a rare plane, production stopping midway through WW2. A sibling to the No.77, the No.77A was manufactured from 1933 to 1994. It retained the blade adjustment mechanism, but differed by having an adjustable mouth.

The nose is attached to the plane body with a single centred machine screw, and can be removed completely to form a chisel plane.

In addition, there are two steel “distance” shims between the detachable nose and the plane body, held in place by two pins. One is 1/64″ thick, and the other is 1/32″ thick, allowing the plane throat to be modified to four distinct opening sizes for fine or coarse work.

The blade adjustment mechanism has a knurled knob and engages the blade which has a slot cut in it.

There are a number of variants of this plane, which deviant from the original, as the plane evolved through manufacturing.

  • Type 1: Markings of “007A” on the bottom heal of one side, and “RECORD BRITISH” on the lever cap (surrounded by blue paint).
  • Type 2: Markings of “Record No 077 / 077A, Made In England” on the bottom heal of one side, and “RECORD” on the lever cap. The small inset triangular region to the rear bottom of both sides has been removed.
  • Type 3: The original wavy form lever cap is replaced with the singular curve, also found on the No.076. Again I think this is likely due to a reduced manufacturing cost. The downside to this was that the original maintained a portion of the lever cap at the bottom (maybe ¾” in length) which held down the lever cap, although only the front point actually made contact (see the third figure above). This allowed more room for shavings, room which was reduced with the new lever cap. Similar markings to the Type 2, except no markings on the lever cap.
  • Type 4: No markings on the plane. The front of the plane “nose” has changed from a gentle curve to an edge, somewhat negating the “bull-nose” concept.

This makes the plane I have somewhere between a Type 1 and Type 2. Note that the Clifton 770 is  somewhat of a clone of the Record No.077, and the Edward Preston No.1355. Clifton, as well as Veritas are two modern manufacturers of bullnose planes.

 

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The Record No.076 bull-nose

The bull-nose plane is one of those funny little planes, and often comes in one of two forms, the fixed nose, and the removal nose. Does the planes nose really look like a bull’s nose? Some of them do I guess, especially those whose nose has a pronounced curve. What is the bullnose for? Generally it’s a form of rebate plane used for rebate refinement, and fine fitting. The Record No.076 is a classic bullnose rabbet plane, 4″ in length, introduced in 1933, and manufactured until 1976. It is likely based on the No.1347 manufactured by Edward Preston & Sons, which is not surprising, since the Preston planes were sold off in the 1930s to Sheffield firm of C. & J. Hampton, who would later merge with the Record Tool Company.

The No.076 has the advantage of having a receding nose, which is open to allow shaving to escape. It is made of cast iron and sports the traditional blue paint of Record.

The downside is that it does not have an adjustable blade. The blade can be manually adjusted by slackening the knurled thumbscrew under the lever.  These planes were nicely designed from the perspective of how the lever cap fits onto the plane body. Due to the low pitch of the plane, the plane is bevel-up.

The blade is made of tungsten steel, but is a little on the thin side from the perspective of modern blades. The plane is about 29mm or 1-1/8″ in width. and is very simple, with only three parts (well four if you count the thumbscrew).

There seem to be a number of versions of this plane. The one in my collection is likely the earliest version. The next version is almost identical, but the triangular region on the rear sides of the plane (painted blue), no longer exists, likely to reduce manufacturing costs. Markings in the form of “”Record No 076 Made in England” are found on the side, bottom rear. The last version saw a streamlining of the lever cap to one continuous curve.

 

The tiniest of Veritas planes

The ingenuity of Veritas (and Lee Valley) never disappoints. They recently unveiled a superb little pocket plane, the likes of which has not been seen since Lie Nielsen introduced their violin makers plane, which is slightly smaller. This is the sort of plane that is always handy to do those small tasks, or maybe even for constructing musical instruments, or models.

Veritas has two versions of this plane. The first is the standard cast steel version, and the second one is the one shown here, the 40th Anniversary [limited] edition made with a stainless-steel body with a satin finish, and a nickel-plated lever cap. The plane has a clamp based lever cap with a nicely knurled thumbscrew, and a tiny Norris-stye blade adjustment mechanism which allows for both lateral and depth adjustment. The lever cap of this version is made of a zinc alloy, and nickel plated.

Despite the small size of the plane, it is super comfortable to use. The plane has a “handy” finger depression on either side, which are elliptical, as opposed to the standard circles used in the Veritas block planes. The lever cap has a nice curving, almost aerodynamic flow, and covers the blade adjustment mechanism completely. This prevents inadvertent engagement of the knurled knob of the Norris adjustment.

This means that the plane fits nicely in the palm of ones hand, with the thumb and middle finger in the side depressions, and the index finger in the small, almost partial moon shaped depression on the toe of the plane. It’s a minuscule 3-5/8″ in length, with a 7/8″ wide blade which is bedded at 15° with a 20° bevel angle. It’s light too, at 270g (9½oz). The blade is PM-V11 steel. The potential downside is that mouth opening may still be too wide for many a user, but this can be fix by creating a shim.  I found it produced very fine shavings.

It’s a slick little plane, and would likely make a great present for any woodworker.

 

Tools of the Trades – fall 2018 roundup

Yesterday was the fall Tools of the Trades show. It was weird because the crowds that were at previous shows just didn’t seem to appear, and by noon it was pretty quiet. I didn’t really see a lot of block planes of any interest, a few Stanley No.18/19’s with the original knuckle lever cap. There were a lot of vintage axes and hatchets, and seemingly a few stalls with a lot of somewhat rusty items, and a few very overpriced sets of Swedish chisels in not so great condition.

A whole bunch of nice, reasonably priced Stanley and Record planes from the U.K. (Britools)

I spent two hours there but didn’t really see anything much that caught my fancy. I bought two small pieces, a Record No. 76 bullnose plane, and a Sargent V.B.M. No.3426 transitional bench plane. The latter is quiet unique, and I will write a post on that later in the week. Finding unique block planes is starting to get challenging, as the variety seems to be diminishing. There were a bunch of cool bench vises, and the usual assortment of good quality Stanley bench planes at reasonable prices. There were also good quality Japanese tools (albeit expensive) that include chisels, saws, and planes.

Now *that* is a chisel (3-4″ wide).