Question about Rabbet Planes

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Forum topic by JuanGatico posted 12-29-2012 04:37 AM 3080 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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72 posts in 2385 days

12-29-2012 04:37 AM

Topic tags/keywords: rabbet planes question

As you know Veritas Tools is offering three choices for making rabbets:

1. Skew Block Planes
2. Skew Rabbet Plane
3. Jack Rabbet Plane

Keeping in mind the high cost of these tools is hard for me to decide which one to buy, that is, the Jack can work both sides in a board but it could be too big in some cases, the Skew Rabbet can handle only one side, so buying left and right would be prohibitive.
Finally the small block planes are my favorite choice because their size fit many sizes of boards, I’m willing to buy left and right hand versions to have peace of mind no matter what side of a board you are working with.
So, my question is: If you were to buy only one of three choices which one would be it?

Thanks for reading.

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3847 days

#1 posted 12-29-2012 05:18 AM

Skew rabbet.

I had a Stanley #289. It only came in one format and
a mirrored plane was not needed.

I had some other rabbet planes too. The #289 was
my favorite.

Cutting rabbets by hand is less fun than you’re probably
expecting. It is way easier to get consistent, square
rabbets using power tools and there is a lot less tear-out.

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 4003 days

#2 posted 12-29-2012 05:24 AM

Skew rabbet, but the jack rabbet is close – you can do a lot with that plane, so if you only have a few planes it is worth considering. If I had to pick just one plane regardless of grain direction, probably the jack rabbet.

View jdmaher's profile


438 posts in 2779 days

#3 posted 12-29-2012 07:19 AM

FWW just did a review (current issue) and concluded that the skew is best available. They recommended choosing the one for your favored hand (righty or lefty). The reasoning is that you do machine rabbets, then just trim them up with planes. For fine “trimming” cuts, grain direction won’t be much of an issue (if your blade is sharp enough). That makes sense to me.

However, they also chose the Lie-Nielsen Rabbet Block plane as a best value. Its not skewed, so it goes both ways. That’s what I have, and it works fine for sweetening the cheeks.

To me, the Jack Rabbet is too big for cleaning up tenons. Better for other uses, I guess.

FWW suggests that a Veritas Large Shoulder plane is a more important purchase. Rabbet planes not so good on shoulders, and the shoulder plane can also be used for tenon cheeks. I have a couple no-name japanese wooden shoulder planes, that seem just okay for me (could be me). And I HAVE used them to smooth out stub tenon cheeks.

Really, I probably don’t need to trim my tenons. Right off the table saw, shoulders are virtually always square and clean. And I usually don’t need to smooth the cheeks – just occasionally, when I get fussy.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3593 days

#4 posted 12-29-2012 10:56 AM

more than prices and types,is more about the type of work they make. I like the skew block plane, because it can be used asa regular block plane and rabbet plane. One is enough, in fact Stanley never produced a left hand version. Another handy one is the Bullnose plane by Veritas, rabbet and Chisel Plane in one.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3151 days

#5 posted 12-29-2012 01:18 PM

Juan, of course you get all kinds of input from everybody on here, so I will go ahead and give mine.

I cut rabbets only by hand, as I have no machine to cut them. Yes, machines will produce more consistent and square (square if you do not know what you are doing with the plane) rabbets, but I am not going to purchase a machine to do them, especially with a distaste for them. SO I understand your want for these tasks.

If your intent is to cut rabbets exclusively with one of these, I would recommend staying away from a rabbet block plane. I have a LN block rabbet plane and there is no way I will use that thing for cutting rabbets. It is way too uncomfortable to use for that task. Trimming rabbets, sure…it can handle that. But no freaking way would that be the tool for cutting them. As for the jack rabbet plane, I do not have one, and doubt I ever will. What that tool will do, I have others that perform the same tasks. I could see its value in cutting rabbets. However, without a depth adjuster, I would shy away from it if I had multiples that needed to be the same depth. As for tenon trimming, as said above, it is really too big for that.

So to answer your question: If I only could get one, I would get the skew rabbet plane. You only need one, not a left AND right. Unless you are ambidextrous. Still, only one is necessary.

I would also make another suggestion….If you only need to cut only rabbets, then go with that plane. If you have other requirements such as dados or grooves, consider looking around for a Stanley 45 or similar. It does a great job on rabbets (I use mine for 90% of rabbeting tasks), plus it can do the others as well. The skew rabbet plane cannot. And you can find a good #45 for less money than the skew LV plane.

Whatever you choose, good luck!

-- Mike

View JuanGatico's profile


72 posts in 2385 days

#6 posted 12-29-2012 02:11 PM

Hi guys!

Thank you very much for your kind answers.

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