Chisel plane or shoulder plane

I've come to the conclusion that I could really use a neandertool to clean up tenons and rabbets. We've got a remodel project going and a few family issues that are tightening up the budget for a while and I won't be able to spend 140 bucks US on the Veritas shoulder plane I really want for some time: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageH430
But I *can* dig up the forty bucks for this one: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page2661
Takes a one-inch chisel. They say it'll do exactly what I want to do with it; clean tenons and rabbets. It looks so darn cute and if it works, it'll do till I'm a little more solvent and can get the one I really want. What do you folks think? Sounds like you adjust the chisel much like the iron in a wooden plane.
Dan
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I don't have the chisel plane, but I do have their flush plane:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page2664
I mostly use it for cleaning up glue lines, but it comes in handy sometimes for getting into corners.
I've also got the shoulder plane. Yes, it's a bit pricey, but I absolutely love it.
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Could also consider a file and rasp.
Mark

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wrote in

That's what I'm using now. It's convinced me to find a better way. :-) Although, along with whichever order I place, I'll also include one a those hand cut rasps. See if that's any faster or cleaner. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page 133
And definitely I *will* own a shoulder plane. Just not for a while yet.
Dan
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There are few tools that are further apart than a shoulder plane and a chisel plane, despite their seeming similarities. They are not interchangeable (maybe one way, but certainly not both).
A shoulder plane is optimised for planing cross-grain, so as to clean up tenons. This requires an incredibly small mouth. Now many planes can have the mouth adjusted to be closed right up, but few are made accurately enough to allow the mouth to close right up and _still_ be an even throat all across the width of the blade. If the throat is uneven, you're going to get tear-out on part of the cut.
Now personally I never clean up my tenons, I just saw them accurately and have done with it. I don't have time to adjust them. If I'm planing cross-grain like this, it's likely to be cleaning up some thumbnail moulding on the end of a board in some 16th-17th C repro piece (exposed end grain, not breadboard ends or similar), so I still need a neat finish.
A shoulder plane is also used for planing end grain, on the shoulders of a tenon. Ideally this needs a lower angle than more modern iron shoulder planes give, which is why I like an old wood & iron bodied infill shoulder plane for this job. Skewed irons help too, so the old Stanley or modern L-N #140 with the removable side is handy.
For cleaning rebates, you don't _need_ a shoulder plane, although you can certainly use it. A rebate plane that's optimal for this purpose has a bigger mouth than a shoulder plane, simply because you could be shifting bigger shavings. You can adjust your shoulder's mouth a little wider, or you can keep a rebate plane to hand.
A chisel plane has no mouth at all. As such, it cuts like an adze. _Not_ a tool that's really optimal for fine work in this context.
So what to buy ? Well clearly the shoulder plane is a great tool to have, but they're also a hell of a price. In the meantime, a good compromise IMHO is a Stanly #92, a 3/4" wide rebate plane. If you get an older English one they're better made than the American models (of any age) and the castings don't warp. They're not shoulder planes, but they can make a passing impression of it. They're also useful dado planes in 3/4" width and not bad as a rebate plane. Shaving clearance is poor though, so they're not for big work.
Other useful planes (all of which come off eBay cheaply) are a #78 and maybe a #90.
The #78 is the standard mid-width rebate plane for making either furniture or windowframes. I have several, just so that I can set fence settings up for a job and keep them all on the go at once. Ideally get a Record, not a Stanley, as the two bar fence attachment is better.
The #90 (common in the UK) is a removable nose bullnose. Not often much use, but it pays for itself when you meet a stopped rebate. Much better than a chisel plane.
The #75 is a handy paint scraper. Not worth a damn on timber, but it's excellent for restoring old sash window frames.
A #10 is what you need for big rebates, but the price is steep, good irons are a rarity and all too many have cracked mouths.
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The LV shoulder lives at my place and does a credible job at rabbets (rebates to Andy) against a fence on most domestic hardwoods. Worth the bucks for its shoulder touch-up capability for we non-perfect tenon saw users. That dark line of disturbed fibers that suck up finish differently is gone when you use the plane. Save up and get yourself a tool for the rest of your life.
For cleaning rabbets you need nothing more than a cabinet scraper. If you want to institutionalize things, make it into a scratch stock by clamping between two pieces of wood relieved to allow self-fencing.
Difficulty with the chisel plane is that the chisel's in the way of proper handling.

Sounds like you adjust the chisel much like the iron in

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Hey Dan,
Check out the Clifton #3110, 3 in 1.
Fairly versatile, combining the features of shoulder rebate, chisel plane and adjustable mouth bull-nose plane.
http://www.fine-tools.com/G303760.htm
A little more expensive out of the gate, but a pretty good bang for your buck, and a pleasure to use.
Cheers,
aw
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wrote:

How does that tool compare size-wise to the Clifton shoulder planes?
Thanks, Barry
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Hey Barry,
Clifton makes a series of shoulder/ rebates. They range from roughly 3" long with a 3/8" wide blade, to 9" long and 1 1/4" wide blade.
The Clifton 3-1 combination is 6" long(fully assembled) with a 1 1/8" wide blade.
Cheers,
aw
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I wouldn't expect a pleasant experience using a chisel holder like that. That's just not how chisels were meant to be used. Essentially you'd be making your total cost $180, because once you got a real shoulder plane, you'd never use the chisel version again.
I would go between the two pricewise and get a Stanley #93 or #92. I have a 93 that I bought new and tuned, and I absolutely love it. I'm sure Vertas, Clifton, and Lie Nielsen versions are all nicer, but this little Stanley does a great job for me.
The prices are $85 and $95 for the 92 and 93, respectively, at Woodcraft (where I got mine).
There are a couple on ebay right now, that are likely to go for even less...
Good luck!
-Mike

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I have that "chisel" plane. It's the only thing I've bought from Lee Valley that I don't much care for. If your chisels taper in thickness (getting thinner towards the cutting edge) or if the top face of the chisel is very narrow (due to sharply tapered sides; Marples Blue Chips are a specific example of this) then they can be a pain in the but to use with that chisel plane. The single brass adjustment screw just can't get a good bite, the chisel can wander as you tighten the screw, and proper depth of cut is difficult to set correctly. Nor is there any way to adjust the mouth opening. It's not *totally* useless; I have used it with success on a few things, but it really hasn't given me my money's worth (not yet, at least).
Personally, I'd keep that $40 and save it towards the purchase of a good shoulder plane. The Veritas model you referenced is *very* nice, but you might consider the new bull-nose shoulder plane instead: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageI709
I *really* wish this plane had been available before I'd plunked down the $90 to buy a Stanley 93. When you remove the toe to convert it to a chisel plane (a very nice feature), you still have that nice broad lever cap (the black piece) to grip the plane with. Performing the same activity on the Stanley 93 (or 90 or 92) exposes the flesh-destroying inner framework of the plane, making it virtually useless as the combination chisel plane that it claims to be.
I also want to add that Andy Dingley's post is chock full of excellent information. Andy definitely knows his planes.
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Steve -
The chisel plane is really a carpentry/utility tool - at $34.50, it's easy to have in a toolbox, or on a jobsite... and is handy for inletting hinges, and making "adjustments" ... It's a good tool for those that don't have the need for a plane, but need to "plane" things infrequently.
If it doesn't suit the work you do - why not return it? We'll take it back...
Cheers -
Rob
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Robin Lee wrote:

This says so much about a company. Robin, you never cease to amaze me with your customer service. Thank you, Dave in Fairfax
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Robin Lee wrote:

Thanks for the offer Rob, but I think I'll keep it. It kinda let me down when I first got it, partly because of the chisels I was using, and partly because I expected it to be something it was not, but it *has* proven useful on several occasions, and I expect it will prove useful in the future. I don't want to discourage others from buying it, because it is kinda cool for what it does, but they should know that it's no replacement for a true shoulder or chisel plane. Of course, at the time I bought it you guys didn't sell those yet!
Now about that travisher I wish you guys would hurry up and come out with... :-)
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<snip>

<snip>
It's in the works - probably not before January though....
Cheers -
Rob
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Ah, someone else who has the same experience I did. That "flesh-destroying inner framework" (great phrase, btw) did its number on me the first time I tried to use my #90 that way. Coupled with the fact that the short body of the #90 doesn't give you a very good bearing surface, and the thing acts like a "gouging plane" ... for flesh *and* wood.

Yep. He and I may disagree over some little things (like spending extra cash to get a dedicated "super-smoother"), but his posts are always factual and on-the-money.
Chuck Vance
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