|Review by GeBeWubya||posted 08-24-2013 05:31 PM||3658 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
- Stanley 12-978 1-1/2-Inch x 10-Inch Bullnose Rabbet Plane
- Brand: Stanley | Category: Hand Planes
Note: This review is an elaboration on my review at Amazon.com
I am pleased with this plane. After lapping and honing, it did a good job cutting both long grain and cross grain rabbets.
This is a shoulder plane (Iron goes all the way to the edge of the body) with a depth stop, fence, and side nicker (to cut across the end grain when planing across the grain). It also has 2 frogs to mount the iron, one normal near the center of the sole, and a second near the front of the plane for use as a bullnose plane. Both frogs are cast as part of the body so are not adjustable. Amazon sold the plane for about $60 with tax.
The iron is mounted bevel up with no chip breaker. The cap iron has a thumb screw to lock the blade rather than a lever as you find on bench planes. The blade advance mechanism is a lever that rides in groves cut into the back of the iron. The iron itself is sort of “paddle shaped” with a wide cutting blade area and a narrow tang for locking the iron. The pane has no side to side adjustment like you find on bench planes, but since the iron needs to be mounted flush with both sides of the body, getting the edge parallel to the plane of the sole is pretty much guaranteed. (Should I have said “the plane of the sole of the plane” maybe?)
The plane is manufactured by Stanley in England. It ships with the iron and cap iron mounted, and the cap iron screw overtightened. The instruction sheet, fence, fence post, depth stop, and a very important washer are loose in the box. When I loosened the cap iron screw to remove the iron, I found that it was very hard to turn. I chased the threads in the frog with the screw and it turned smoothly after that. I have not moved the iron to the bullnose position, but I expect that the threads in that frog need to be chased as well.
The tote is part of the casting, and seems a little small for my hand. The horn rubbed the area between my thumb and forefinger a little more than I liked.
Out of the box, the machining of the iron, sole, sides, depth stop, and fence was rather coarse. The scratches looked like 40 grit or so. The sole was dished front to back and side to side. Lapping on a belt sander at 120 grit flattened the front to back curve, but left a cup from side to side around the mouth. The cup profile showed a parabolic outline convex on the fence/depth stop side of the sole. Since most of the work will be done on that side of the sole, I did not lap out the entire cup, but got the first 5/8” flat which will cover most of the rabbets I need (for now.)
The depth stop was so rough out of the box that it actually marred the surface of the test workpiece. Lapping it to 120 grit fixed that easily. I did not see any marring from the fence, but since it was as rough as the sole and depth stop, I lapped it smooth as well.
The iron has a precise, but coarsely ground 25 degree bevel, but the back was not very flat. On the bright side, the back was dished in the center so honing it to get a 3/16” flat behind the edge gave the polished edge the profile of a Japanese chisel—polished on 3 edges, machining marks in the center.
Honing the 30 degree secondary bevel proved a challenge. The shape of the iron, with the tang narrow and offset, did not fit well in my Eclipse style honing guide. I managed to grip the iron in the chisel slot, but the curve where the tang met the main blade prevented setting the iron with enough extension to hone at 30 degrees. I had to settle for something like a 27 degree secondary.
When the iron was sharp and the sole lapped, I tested on a scrap pine board. The long grain rabbet cut easily and smoothly, with no marring from the fence or depth stop. I then turned the nicker and cut a cross grain rabbet. Wow, that was nice. I had never used a proper cross grain plane before, and this rabbet convinced me of the value of a nicker. The fibers on the end grain shoulder were cut fairly smoothly, and the planed shoulder was much smoother than I have ever been able to make with other planes.
One minor issue: the depth stop blocks access to the nicker. I cut the rabbets on the end grain of a piece and then realized that I could not keep the depth stop set and withdraw the nicker. I learned the hard way that cutting the long grain rabbet with the nicker still out was a mistake.
The bullnose option seems more like a gimmick than a feature to me.
Bottom line: This is not a premium plane. It requires considerable effort to tune, but when tuned, it does a good job of rabbeting edges as it was designed to do. Its performance would have disappointed me if in had cost over $100, but for under $75 it is a good buy.
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