Wooden Rabbet plane

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 06-18-2012 02:38 AM 2131 views 1 time favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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434 posts in 1807 days

06-18-2012 02:38 AM

Any tips for making an old wooden rabbet plane work really well? I’ve got the blade ground and sharpened decently, but I don’t feel like I’ve mastered positioning the blade. The iron is one of those that has the blade extend to one side, but the plane has side escapements on both sides, does that mean the blade can be flipped? (if you did, it would be bevel up at a really high angle…would you ever want to do that?)

I have not had success making square rabbets with it.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

4 replies so far

View ITnerd's profile


262 posts in 2022 days

#1 posted 06-18-2012 03:02 AM

A couple of things I would check – Is the bottom & at least one side square to each other? Does the iron also match these 2 sides? If not, its likely you will need to do some grinding. I would true up the plane body, bottom and sides, then seat the iron & figure out where it needed to be ground to match the profile.

If that sounds scary to you , I can wholeheartedly recommend ‘Sharpening Profiled Hand Tools’ by Larry Williams at Planemakers. I’d read alot of forum info, but I didn’t really understand how to repair any of my woodie irons until I watched this. Not only will you figure out the basic regrinding/honing pretty quick, the video will help you tackle complex molding profiles, if you ever go that route. If you check out thier website, you’ll see they’ve made a couple planes. ;)

In terms of the rabbets you’re trying, where are you having trouble? consistent depth, keeping it alignerd, unsquare bottom/wall of the rabbet? Cross grain or with it? Best of luck, & keep us posted – we’ll get it whipped into shape in no time.

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2421 days

#2 posted 06-18-2012 03:57 AM

The easy way with to make rabbets is to clamp a batten to the work to guide you. Once you get down past the cutting edge, it will track on the side of the rabbet.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 1807 days

#3 posted 06-18-2012 11:24 AM

I’m having trouble keeping the side straight, and at each pass, the plane get’s scooted slightly out so the side of the rabbet is slanted. I had heard that the blade shoul sit slightly proud on that side, but I may be over-doing it…But I will check the profile of the blade as compared to the sole and sides of the wood. I may need to do some more truing.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Don W's profile

Don W

17882 posts in 1990 days

#4 posted 06-18-2012 05:04 PM

I agree with all above and will add, make sure the blade is square. It almost sounds like your blade could be out of square, then make sure the sole and the side is square as Shane suggested. To add what Dave suggested, try clamping a higher batten so you know the plane is staying square. I have problems with some wooden planes holding them square myself (not sure why, I think it psychological). I have to really pay attention to what I’m doing sometimes.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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