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Using Rebate Planes

There ought to be a warning on the side of all rebate planes, especially skew rebate planes.

I cannot recall a time that I have finished a planing session without cutting all my fingers. This is near the end of today ...

The problem is that I prefer to push the fence against the edge of the board rather than hold the knob (which is safely out of harm's way). My fingers are close to the blade. When it comes to skew blades, I forget that they extend further back (than in line with where I think they end), and so I inevitably slice a finger tip! This is not confined to skew rebates, however. I do it on all rebate planes!

Here are a few illustrations. I was making rebates and raised panels.

No, I am not left handed - the grain just went that way ...

See here ..

So how do you hold a rebate plane?

Fortunately there is a simple solution …

... all one needs to do is add a thickish sub-fence.

What this does to prevent wayward fingers getting close to the corner of the blade. It helps, however, if you have the longer rods (as I recently purchased).

This is an issue found on the Record #778 as well. Here is an un sub-fenced fence ..

Interestingly, by chance or good design, the Stanley #78, with its single arm fence, actually covers the edge of the blade...

Back to why I prefer to push against the body alongside the edge of the blade - rather than keeping my fingers safely out of harm's way near to front of the plane …

I find that by pushing the rebate plane sideways, it ensures that the body of the plane is flush against the side of the board, and this is what leads to a square cut edge.

Secondly, use the wooden fence to judge whether the plane is vertical or not.

Thirdly, set the depth stop. The plane should stop cutting when you bottom out.

Fourthly, set the blade a hair past the side of the body. Make sure that the nicker remains liked up with the edge of the blade. The aim is to get the edge of the blade into the corner of the rebate. A blade that is flush to the side of the plane's body will leave a smidgeon of waste in the corner of the rebate.

I compared a few settings …

This is a rebate planed with the grain - blade with (very) slight projection and no nicker ..

The vertical sides are square.

This is a rebate planed across the grain - again blade with (very) slight projection and this time nicker in line with blade (ignore the slight double line - that was my poor marking … not to worry – it was just a test board) ...

The vertical sides are square.

Finally, this is a rebate planed across the grain - now blade flush to side of plane and nicker in line with blade ...

The vertical sides are not square - they angle slightly downward. Clearly the blade does not clean out the corner of the rebate, and slowly the plane is forced outward by the waste.

Here is a finished board. It is the reverse side for a raised panel.

Regards from Perth


December 2009