choice between planes

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Forum topic by VTdscglfr posted 12-08-2013 10:16 PM 1534 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 1870 days

12-08-2013 10:16 PM

So I have an opportunity to purchase either a rabbit block plane, medium shoulder plane, or a large shoulder plane. I have a stanley adjustable mouth block plane, but I know the versatility of the rabbit block plane. I do need/want something to clean tenon cheeks. But I want the most bang for my buck. What would you choose and why? Just looking for good arguments for or against a particular plane. Thanks all.

11 replies so far

View knockknock's profile


446 posts in 2168 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 03:15 AM

Here’s my opinion, I look at planes according to the functions that they perform, and how that fits in with what I have or don’t have. Not knowing what your needs are, or what you already have, here are my thoughts:

For tenon cheeks, I think a router plane is best at making/keeping them flat and parallel to the face of the board.

I use shoulder planes for tweaking tenon shoulders and rabbets (I use other planes to make rabbets). I have medium and small shoulder planes, which I use depending on size and/or heft desired. I haven’t seen any need for a large one. If you have no other means for making rabbets, shoulder planes can be used (with practice) to make a rabbet.

I have a left skew block plane, which I use as a block plane, for shooting small pieces, and for cross grain rabbets (if I had a skewed medium fenced rabbet plane with depth stop and nicker, I might be using that for cross grain rabbets instead).

View Loren's profile


10377 posts in 3643 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 03:16 AM

Large shoulder plane. Mass = accuracy.

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1932 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 03:35 AM

at what price.

take the numbers and punch em into ebay SOLD prices and you’ll get an idea of fair value. Then keep in mind that ebay and paypal fees detract from that.

70% of sold listings becomes local value, plus or minus. Ebay ain’t the price point reference lots of folks think it is.


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View UpstateNYdude's profile


916 posts in 1978 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 03:45 AM

”70% of sold listings becomes local value, plus or minus.”

What does that even mean?

Ebay and Paypal combine take away something like 13% profit from whatever is sold, so just take the selling price and factor the 13% and take an average for those sold and you’ll come up with a fair price range.

But I’d go with a medium shoulder plane if it were me, I find that at that size range I’m able to use it on a lot more work then the large.

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1950 days

#5 posted 12-09-2013 03:52 AM

Do you have a chance to test all three? I would personally go with the one that is most versatile.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Loren's profile


10377 posts in 3643 days

#6 posted 12-09-2013 04:00 AM

Shoulder planes are for tenon shoulders. They are engineered
to make these very fine end grain cuts. The more mass in
the plane, the less likely it is to chatter and make an uneven
cut. Cheeks can be pared with a chisel. They are hidden,
unlike the shoulder, so the appearance doesn’t matter.

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8188 posts in 2572 days

#7 posted 12-09-2013 05:03 AM

I see a large shoulder plane in your future. It’s versatile and
you’ll like it a lot.,41182,48945

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8515 posts in 1977 days

#8 posted 12-09-2013 01:13 PM

I use the crap out of my LN rabbet block plane. I even used it on tenon cheeks til I got a med. should plane. I like em both, but I wouldn’t go without the rabbet block. It’s more versatile.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2562 days

#9 posted 12-15-2013 05:13 PM

I’ve got some version of everything you listed and although I use them all, the Veritas skewed block gets the most use. I bought the LV during a xmas sale a few years ago.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View GeBeWubya's profile


56 posts in 2031 days

#10 posted 12-15-2013 05:54 PM

I recently picked up and rehab-ed an old Stanley #45 combination plane. If you want versatility, the only thing better would be a Stanley #55. These have 2 skates and fence; each skate has a depth stop and a nicker for cross grain planing. The fence can be mounted in 4 different positions or removed altogether. It can be used as a plough plane, a dado plane, a rabbet plane (with or across the grain), and with a shaped iron, as a beading or molding plane, and a few other jobs as well.

Of course, as with the jack-of-all-trades, a dedicated plane can out-perform it on any particular task. See Roy Underhill’s review in Popular Woodworking.

A somewhat less versatile plane is the Staney #12-978. It is a shoulder plane with a removable fence, removable nicker, and depth stop. It has 2 positions for the iron, so it can also be set up as a bull-nose plane.

I like playing with the different setups, but I am a hobbyist (read tinkerer), not a production woodworker. It is nice though to have a tool that can do the odd, unusual, or rare job when it comes up.

-- (- |: \,/

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 3680 days

#11 posted 12-15-2013 06:20 PM

+1 on the large shoulder plane if you are using for tenons. Comments regarding mass and accuracy are correct.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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