Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tuning a Rabbet Plane

All planes eventually go out of flat, both wood and metal.

Metal planes take a long time to distort and also take a long time to fix. Wooden planes go out of flat seasonally and are a one-minute fix.

In this post we will address tuning a wooden rabbet plane.

How do you know when a plane's sole is no longer adequately flat?

The first sign of a plane's sole no longer being flat will proceed in this manner: You set the plane to take a predictable shaving, but it does not. You then blame yourself and your inadequacies, only to set the plane to take a slightly more aggressive shaving. Then the plane only removes wood from the first and last 1/2 inch while still underperforming your expectations. You continue with this process, constantly setting it more aggressively and still being unimpressed with the not performing plane...

Eventually, you again set the plane to take a slightly more aggressive pass and your plane is taking a heavy, aggressive, and uncontrollable shaving throughout.

At this point you know that your expectations were originally correct and your plane's sole needs to be addressed.

How do you address the sole? Do not fear, wooden planes are easy:

Now throw some wax onto the sole and get back to work!

(Anybody that has a boxed rabbet plane shall spin the plane around and start working back to front once taking shavings in front of the mouth, otherwise you will be working against short grain and will chip out the mouth.)

Note: I will be posting instructions to win an 'X-out' plane in the coming day(s)/week(s). I go out of my way to keep the winner as being a current blog reader and 'in-house.' If you've made it this far into the text then I'll encourage you to keep reading my upcoming blogs, knowing that any publicity you give this future contest will ultimately reduce your chances of winning and my desire to pay my readers with these contests.  I am, intentionally, not striving to increase my social media exposure. So, let us keep this quiet, or I will cancel the upcoming contest.


  1. Matt- I tried playing the video but only got a message saying "This video is unavailable." A fix might be called for. Thanks. (and what the heck is a google account? :) )

    1. I was headed to bed but I'll check into this immediately. The video appears to be playing in Safari, but not Chrome and likely others. Sorry, Mitch. Come back.

    2. You can watch it now. I thank you for letting me know. (and I have no idea what a 'google account' is.)

    3. Thanks, Matt. I use the Opera browser.