I recently picked up an old Stanley 71 router plane on eBay, and it arrived today. After work I cleaned up the adjuster and oiled it, and sharpened the cutter, and tried it out on a piece of scrap cedar left over from the boy’s birdhouse project. Wow, I really like how this cuts. Of course “with the grain” is something of an ideal situation, but just hogging out this area in a few passes was very controlable.
So I decided to try something I’ve seen in books but never actually done (with just hand tools): Make a stopped dado. I smoothed out a piece of dime store pine – this stuff is unbelievably soft. I knifed in a stopped dado 1″ wide part way across the board. Practice pieces make good kindling.
Then I sawed out the two sides. I used a Lie Nielsen 12ppt back saw that I got for christmas — first cut with this. I was a little surprised at the width of the kerf, but this is some really soft wood. I’ll have to repeat this experiment on a piece of hardwood. It actually was pretty controllable, and I think with a little practice I’ll be able to do a nice job of this.
I started my cut at the edge of the board, and walked the teeth down the scribe line. Then I raised the back of the saw to cut the rear to depth, then leveled it out to finish the cut.
Then I chopped out the waste with a 1″ chisel. I tried paring the edges as I’ve seen in some books but the pine was just crumbling so I made a series of stab/chops down the length of the dado, then broke the waste out.
Then I set the router plane to the lowest depth I could find in the chiseled dado and leveled the bottom. I set it down a hare further and took a cleanup cut. It was very controllable and didn’t take much force at all.
In the end I had a workable-if-not-beautiful dado. It took all of perhaps 5 minutes to do, including taking a few snapshots. And it didn’t require drawing blood. More practice with the saw will be improve matters.