Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Making a rabbet plane

Well, the planemaking madness continues. Until now, all the planes I've made are bench planes. But joinery planes are really essential, too. Various writings by Larry Williams and Matt Bickford have convinced me that a square rabbet is the most desirable rabbet plane, but these are hard to find--most of the rabbets you find in the wild are skew rabbets. A skew rabbet tends to pull toward the board, so it's nice to use with some sort of fence or batten, but very hard to control freehand. Fillister planes are also skewed.
To get a sense of how useful a square rabbet can be, check out this video of Bickford.
Matt also did a nice tutorial that I followed pretty closely.
I decided to make the plane out of a piece of quartersawn jatoba I had. The sole of a rabbet takes a beating, so you either need to make the plane out of something hard, or box the sole.
Before starting the plane, I made a simple saw/chisel guide. These are extremely handy. This one is cut to 55° on one end and 65° on the other, with a groove down the middle that fits over the plane's body.

I started by making two cuts with a backsaw to define the throat, using the guide.

Then I drilled a 1" hole with a forstner bit, and knocked out the waste.

After that, I drilled a hole down from the top, then used chisels and vixen files to refine the wedge mortise. I carved the escapement with an incannel gouge, then refined it with a file and sandpaper.

Here's the finished plane:

I almost forgot: The plane is left-handed! When you live in a righty world, making something specifically for lefty use is always great.

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