Shoulder Plane Question

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Forum topic by laxbograt posted 12-08-2011 04:27 PM 1231 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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76 posts in 2422 days

12-08-2011 04:27 PM

Recently I have gotten increasingly interested on hand planes and the next plane on my list is the shoulder plane. So the question I have is on the angle of the blade. I have noticed that the majority of the wooden planes I see seem to have a 45 degree angle were as most of the newer metal shoulder planes seem to have a lower angle.



Is there a reason for this? Does one angle have an advantage over the other?

Rookie Woodworker

2 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2689 days

#1 posted 12-08-2011 04:42 PM

Despite their disparate appearances, some may actually have the same effective angle. It depends upon the bedding angle, clearance angle, and bevel angle. Buy the best and biggest shoulder plane you can afford. It may seem like a lot for a tool that you don’t use so often, but trust me, you’ll be glad to have a nice one. You’ll smile every time you pick it up. I’ve got a big Clifton and a bullnose Record. If I had the Clifton to do over again, I’d get the Lie Nielsen. I don’t like Veritas planes but people here that I respect very much like the big Veritas. Good luck shopping!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2994 days

#2 posted 12-08-2011 04:59 PM

It is more that the low angle planes are not easy to do in wood. The bedding angle will make for a very thin and unstable bed if you go too thin with wood. In metal, the angle that you can reduce it to is much lower.

Low angle planes are nice for endgrain. Tenon shoulders are a prime place to use a shoulder plane hence the name. The wooden ones are a lot more useful for rebates. The way to get a lower effective angle for the wooden ones is to skew the blade. The downside is that they are more complicated to make and harder to sharpen and keep at the correct angles.

In many cases, the shoulder planes are a luxury. You can work without them (depending on the work you do) but they can be a lifesaver. The rebate planes were real workhorses. Besides rebates, they are used to rough out moldings before final profiling. They can also do in a pinch for shoulders.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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