Total newb needs advice: Shoulder plane vs. Bullnose plane

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Forum topic by Axle505 posted 07-09-2016 06:53 PM 511 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 255 days

07-09-2016 06:53 PM

So, on another post, I asked you good people to tell me what you thought might be a good shoulder plane to buy for an upcoming handtool joinery class. I get ready to buy the thing—a Veritas Small shoulder plane—then I start noticing bullnose planes. I do some research on them, and come to realize that a bullnose plane IS a kind of shoulder plane.

On the other hand, there seems to be people in forums who have found, say, the Stanley No. 75 bullnose to be “a perplexing joke engineered for the damned.” But then, Veritas doesn’t seem to be ashamed of their bullnose….

Sorry to belabor this. I do appreciate the advice!

4 replies so far

View JayT's profile


4673 posts in 1631 days

#1 posted 07-09-2016 10:03 PM

What are you wanting to use it for, specifically? A shoulder plane has that extra length in front of the cutting edge to help register the cut and keep it square and straight as you start into the work. A bullnose doesn’t, so is more likely to wander. For cleaning up where a joint will show, give me the shoulder plane every time.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View jmartel's profile


6466 posts in 1570 days

#2 posted 07-10-2016 03:14 AM

You can make a shoulder plane into a bullnose for the times it’s needed by removing the adjustable front foot.

Also, the general recommendation is to get a medium or a large shoulder plane for your first. More useful than the small shoulder unless you plan on using it for dadoes smaller than 3/4”.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Axle505's profile


107 posts in 255 days

#3 posted 07-10-2016 03:25 AM

Thank you—makes sense!

View Axle505's profile


107 posts in 255 days

#4 posted 07-10-2016 07:09 AM

Medium Veritas plane ordered—thanks!

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