My very first introduction to metal grooving, plough and combination planes was my dad's Record 043. It was my good luck to start with just about the nicest plane you could hope to use, and I was smitten. Queries about it, and it's close relations, intermittently pop up, so here's a brain (and link) dump on the 043 and it's brother the 040. Not so much Blood & Gore, more For The Record...


The Record 040 first appeared on the market in early 1935 - as the 043! By a fortunate chance, one of the intermittant publications of the Buck & Hickman catalogue was in 1935, and shows the 043-marked single rod version.
By November 1935 it had been redesigned with a second fence rod and the single rod example was re-designated the 040. Understandably single rod examples marked 043 are rare and thus valuable. This is the entry from the Metal Agencies Co Ltd (or "MAC") catalogue #66, from September 1937 listing both the 040 and 043, as well as the larger 044 which also first appeared in a Record catalogue in November 1935
Blue cellulose finish and nickel plated fittings (and some rust...). This example at least seems to have threaded holes in the fence to take a wooden facing. Is this usual?
Photograph courtesy of Matt Holland
Possibly not, as this slightly less rusty example is apparently unthreaded.
Photograph courtesy of Neil Southall
I don't actually own any example of these single rod groovers (everyone go "awwww"), but it seems to have a flat on the fence rod to help prevent the fence rotating on the rod - the latter is threaded into the body. Difficult to put that much faith in catalogue pictures, but that might have been a later improvement.
Photograph courtesy of Matt Holland
This recently provided picture clearly shows the flat on the fence rod, and also how such a simple plane has so many parts!
Photograph courtesy of Neil Southall
Production of the 040 seems to have ceased during the war, although it was still listed in catalogues up until 1962. Many makers seemed to have copied the 040 over the years, the lower price compared to two rod designs making them popular.
Photograph courtesy of Neil Southall
Marples M40. The distinctive bright red lever cap is also found on the Marples version of the 044. If a recent Ebay auction is to be believed, there's also a model very like the Marples in appearance but marked I Sorby. Perhaps not a total surprise; both the Marples and I Sorby metal planes (including a 044) were made at the same works in the 1930s by Turner, Naylor & Co (later Turner, Naylor & Marples). The connection between them, Marples and Record seems tortuous and confused, but there definitely was one it seems.
Davleco D40 mini plough plane. Made by the Davleco Eng. and Mnfg. Co., of Bell St, Preston, Victoria, Australia. The trademark was registered from 1960 - 1981. Either matt black or burgundy paint and (possibly?) the depth stop nickel plated, also completely nickel plated versions reported.
Originally provided with three cutters 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4", "warranted cast steel". At least one user reports general poor quality of finish.
Sharmanco mini grooving plane. Another Australian made version of the #040, the #340 by P.S.Sharman & Co of Victoria.
Unfortunately some of these pics were saved from the 'net and blessed if I know where from. If they're yours and you object, please say and they'll be taken down post haste.
A third, and I hesitate to say final, Australian make is the Carter C40. Jack & Frank Carter apparently made planes in Parramatta, New South Wales between 1945-55, filling the gap left by the likes of Stanley and Record during the post-war shortage of imports. Apparently even parts from the same model of a Carter plane aren't transferrable, so definitely worth making sure you have all the parts on this one I would think...
Photograph courtesy of "Javali"
Although the finish on Carter planes is apprently often noticeably rough, the owner of this example thinks in this case a previous owner re-painted and then put a blade in a little precipitously. The general impression I get is that Carter's are at least functionally finished, if not beautifully.
Photograph courtesy of "Javali"

Two British Galoots have already beaten me to the punch with a lot of the info about the 043; I'm largely just adding pretty pictures! Please have a look at BugBear's page on Record Planes and Richard Wilson's page on the #043 (both courtesy of the Wayback Machine). A copy of the 1966 manual is also now available here.


Ross & Alexander (London) catalogue listing from 1938 also listing the metric cutters. "Rustless plated" apparently meant cadmium, later changed to nickel plating from 1938. That changed again when wartime restrictions on the use of nickel were introduced, and an unspecified metal plating was used. Some sources believe that was cadmium again, but I'm not totally clear on the truth of the matter, or what was used after restrictions were lifted.
An older example of the 043 with flat thumb screws and original 5 1/2" long fence rods. The body is also 5 1/2" long; it's a very compact plane! Two untapped holes in the fence were provided to fit your own wooden face; the hole spacings can vary from example to example.
Some time in the late 1950s the thumb screws were changed to a round screw with a knurled edge. Production of the 043 by Record ceased sometime between 1972 and 1980. This one was bought c.1968, if my old man's memory is to be believed... Custom short rods (see below) and Lignum Vitae fence facing fitted.
The depth stop is common to the 040, 043 and 044, but not necessarily between different makes of the "same" plane model.
There's nothing to keep the blade clamp from going awol unless it's holding a blade in place (they were shipped with one cutter installed), so you might be glad to know there's a drawing to help you make your own replacement if necessary (many thanks to BugBear for allowing me to host a copy while he's websiteless). It's also common to the 044.
The plane was supplied with one set of long rods, but in use you seldom need to use it so far away from the edge. A big improvment is to make some shorter rods from 7mm silver steel, making it virtually usable one-handed.
1/8, 3/16 and 1/4" cutters were supplied as standard, with metric 4, 6, 9 and 12mm blades available as an extra. Ray Iles makes a set of three replacement cutters in the original sizes, if you're in need of some replacements. Apart from the additional short fence rods, this is what you should be looking for in a complete 043.
The Rapier #3, made by the Anglo-Scottish Tool Co. Ltd., Gateshead, during the 1950s and 60s. It's a solid tool but just slightly coarser in casting and finish than the Record.
Until recently I thought the Rapier was just about the only alternative 043 I'd see, but then this supposedly Russian example turned up on a well-known internet auction site. The auction blurb claimed: "This is the Soviet Plane - Spuntubel. it was made from metal in 1970s on the plant of the town of Sestroretsk (in Leningrad region). The size of this plane is 5.4x5.4 inches. It is in very good condition.There is three extra knives for it." It actually came with four metric irons, measuring between 3mm and 6mm. Apparently a munitions factory in the town was indeed turned into a tool making factory in 1869 and still operates, so who knows?
Photograph courtesy of Mike Wenzloff
The proud new owner tells me: "It works as well as my minty Record--and has a sort of charm about it. The blades sharpen well, but not easily, so I think the blades are decent. On the second picture on the skate just below the rear fence rod you can see about the only casting defect, what must have been a bubble in the cast iron. The colour, which I thought was perhaps "patina" is a fairly permanent fixture. It does have a bluish hue to it, so I suspect it was a treatment to the metal in the past."
Photograph courtesy of Mike Wenzloff
It strikes me as a well-made tool - not perhaps what we in the West naturally associate with Russian tools. The countersunk holes for fitting a wooden sub fence are a nice touch for instance. Subsequently a further example appeared with some packing and documentation.
Thanks to "MichaelMouse" on Woodnet we have a translation:
Leningrad instrument production union (named after) S P Voskov
Metal Grooving Plane
Instructions for use


Plus a reference to it on a Russian tool page here (dodgy Google translation here)
Somehow, after all the years this page has been up, I'd never come across a Marples M43 or even known of its existence until a recent discussion on the Old Tools List. It wasn't in my two catalogues and I know no more about it that what you see here. Looks to be of later manufacture - maybe the 60s or 70s? Not surprisingly, given the tortuous links between them, it looks a dead ringer for the Record.

I don't pretend to be any kind of expert on the background of these planes, and I welcome any corrections or further information if you have it. I'm also always on the lookout for other makers versions and, most of all, instructions! And very many thanks to all those folks who have come up trumps with pictures and information, both begged for and unsolicited.

Alf - 26th February 2006
Updated 12th May 2011