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
But I *can* dig up the forty bucks for this one:
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.
I don't have the chisel plane, but I do have their flush plane:
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.
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.
And definitely I *will* own a shoulder plane. Just not for a while yet.
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
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.
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
Sounds like you adjust the chisel much like the iron in
Check out the Clifton #3110, 3 in 1.
Fairly versatile, combining the features of shoulder rebate, chisel plane
and adjustable mouth bull-nose plane.
A little more expensive out of the gate, but a pretty good bang for your
buck, and a pleasure to use.
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
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
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:
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.
Free bad advice available here.
To reply, change the chemical designation to its common name.
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
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... :-)
Free bad advice available here.
To reply, change the chemical designation to its common name.
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.
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