Friday, June 17, 2016

Record #778 Rabbet / Rebate Plane

I found some decent tools last weekend on Craigslist, the former owner of which had developed allergies to wood that stopped her from woodworking.  She had taken courses from Ian Kirby when she lived on the east coast and bought some Record tools that (I'm guessing) he recommended.  One of the tools is a Record #778 rabbet plane, probably from the 1970's.
The original box
All original parts were present.  Plane body and blade, fence, fence rails and locking screws, depth stop and locking screw.
Contents of the original box
It even came with an instruction sheet.  Actually it came with three of them, so if anybody has a #778 without the instruction sheet and wants one, contact me and I'll send it to you.
Three instruction sheets
Here's the plane assembled without the fence and depth stop.
Not too dirty
Just a few rust spots.  Notice the little indent just above the "C" in Record for the index finger to rest?
And here's the fence assembly.
Fence with arms in place
The plane didn't take much to get it into good working condition.  Mostly just a good clean-up and a little sole flattening and blade sharpening.  I took it all apart and got to work.
All parts ready for cleaning (depth stop not in picture)
I started by cleaning up all dust and grime with a toothbrush and soap, being careful to dry any water that got into any holes.  Any screw threads and thumb screw heads get the wire-wheel-in-the-drill treatment.
The stud used for blade depth adjustment was just a little dirty
The sole was a little out of flat, so I got out the plate glass with sandpaper adhered to it and worked it for a while.  Here's the progress pics - I use a marker to know when I'm getting close.
Not much rust, but not perfectly flat
Marked for action
After a couple minutes on the sandpaper
And after a few more minutes - lookin' good!
I used 100 and 180 grit papers, but they were old and were not nearly as rough as they were originally.  I also worked the two sides to remove some surface rust spots.  Not much - just enough to clean them up.

The fence wasn't flat either, so I gave that a little time on the plate glass and sandpaper as well.  It's still not perfect, but I'm not too worried about it - I'll probably be screwing a piece of wood to it to extend it a little.
Fence with low spots on the ends
The blade was in interesting condition.  The bevel had many facets, indicating several sharpenings, each at a slightly different angle.
Blade bevel with multiple facets
By the way, here are a couple shots of the overall blade before cleaning it up.
Bevel side
Back side
Interestingly, the side edges near the business end were not parallel with each other and it looked like they were never intended to be.  There is a little lateral play when installed, so I don't think I need to have the edge perpendicular to a side, but I would like to anyway.  When I sharpened it, I tried to get it perpendicular to the side that was closer to 90°.

Flattening the back took a while on the diamond stones.  Here are a series of pictures showing progress.  It took about 15 -25 minutes total, but was tough on the fingers.
After a few minutes - the darker areas are flat, lighter areas are low
A few more minutes - almost the whole edge is flat
More time and more removal
Almost there
I'm calling this good enough
I've got a good reflection from the flat portion.
So shiny you could use it as a mirror - well, on an angle anyway
The bevel was straight forward.  I used a Veritas honing guide to sharpen.  It took a while to re-establish a decent bevel.  I shot for about 27-28° and a secondary bevel of 2° more.
Still some remnants of old facets, but a good bevel and micro-bevel
I'd like to do something about the knicker, or is that nicker, or spur?  If anybody knows a good method for sharpening this, please let me know.
Knicker in unused position
Back of the knicker - only the right-most spur has been used
Front side of knicker
After oiling all screws and moving parts, I reassembled the plane to give it a test drive.  I set the fence for a 3/4" wide rabbet and the depth stop for 1/8".  I used a piece of very hard wood I salvaged from a junked table undercarriage.
The action shot
And here is the result.  A very nice, smooth, shallow rabbet in a hard wood.
Bugs Bunny would be proud
I haven't used rabbets much in my work.  But when a project calls for one I'll be ready.  I'm hoping to make some picture frames soon and with the rabbet plane in combination with a few hollow and round molding planes I should be good to go.


  1. If it were me I wouldn't bother with sharpening the cross grain spurs. I don't use it on any of my tools that have it. Instead I use a marking gauge to run my cross grain lines. A nice feature with the record is there isn't anything covering or hiding the spur.

    1. That's a good point, Ralph. I'm not sure if it's important to score the fibers after you've planed a 16th or so, just so you don't blow out the far end. I'll have to try out a few things.

  2. Sharpening these little spurss could not be easier, work on the flat side, rub it on your sharpening medium.

    The Stanley 78 is a workhorse in my shop, the Record 778 is a better tool, because of its twin rail fence.
    Good score :-)

    1. Hi Bob. You can't see it in the pictures above, but the issue is that in cross section the spurs do not come to a point. The back is rounded to where it meets the front. You can see on the picture where the right-most spur was used that the user had filed a small bevel on the back side. I'm just not sure how they did that.

      The other concern I have with your suggestion is if I work the flat side, won't that eventually make it not co-planar with the side of the plane?

  3. Effectively, use shims. In theory, the spur should cut in line with the edge of the main cutter. The main blade has to be proud of the body, how much makes no never mind, but it should ideally be in line with the spurs. As you can imagined, they rarely are and still work, but a bit ragged depending on the woods. But when all the planets libe yp...well now we are talking :-)

    1. Thanks Bob. For my test cut I had the blade even with the right side of the plane, but I've read that it should be proud a little bit. With the plane on its right side on a flat surface, maybe I'll use a piece of paper to raise the plane body just a bit and make the blade touch the flat surface. That'll get the blade a little proud of the side. And I can shim the spur to get it aligned with the blade. But I still need to put a little bevel on the back side of the spur to sharpen it. I think I can do that with a diamond paddle.

  4. Oups meant "when all the planets lines up..."

  5. Hummm you should not have to put a bevel on the other side. If you do, it has probably been mucked with.
    Remember that it does not not have to be knife sharp to work.
    Try giving the flat side a quick flattening then try one of the unbuggerred spur.

  6. Thanks in advance for any advice. I have a Stanley 78 and I just can't seem to cut a square rebate. It keeps stair stepping on me or leaning out to the edge like a slope. I've tried having the blade slightly proud of the face and I've tried having the blade even with the face. No Joy. I try to push into the face and not dog down on the handle. I've also tried leaning it in and then slowly rotating out with a very shallow cut. This is my first Rebate plane and my first rebates, so I'm sure its me and not the tool. Thanks Again.

    1. Hi senrabc. Sorry for the late reply. This is my first time rebating too, so I'm no expert. I've read that stair-stepping is a common problem people have with rebate planes. You had the right fix (from what I've read) in setting the blade a bit proud of the plane body - maybe a 64th of an inch. Maybe you could try different distances there. Use some pieces of paper to shim the plane body up (with the plane is on its side) and set the blade to the bench top - just no paper under the blade. That will make the blade proud by the thickness of the paper. You can try two, three, four pieces of paper. See if that makes a difference. I hope that helps.

  7. I just found you blog, great work BTW.

    Mike Dunbar wrote about the proper way to sharpen the "knicker" on a rabbet plane. FWW #157, July/August 2002, page 92.

    I did this recently, and my Record 778 works great now.

    best of luck

    1. Thanks for that. I can't find the FWW article online (and I'm not a subscriber), but I did find a nice brief video by Mitch Peacock showing how to sharpen the nicker.

    2. Does anyone know where to find replacement knicker/nicker/spur for the Record 778?

    3. To unknown: sorry for the delayed response. If you search Ralph's blog (, he wrote about getting a replacement spur at St James Bay Tools on eBay. Ralph's blog entry was at "", but you should search his blog site to see what else you might find. Good luck.

  8. For sharpening and other tidbits about the 78, try Paul Sellers blog: