I'm not sure one plane would be effective for widening and deepening. I'd
recommend the Lee Valley shoulder planes for deepening and cleaning up. They
could also be used for widening a rabbet. But I think they would be
inappropriate for widening a Dado. For widening, there's the specialty side
rabbet planes from Lie Nielson.
All depends on the size. If you're a timber framer then the only one
that works is a #10 - big enough to do it, cheap enough (unlike a #10
1/2 or #10 1/4) to not mind too much when you break the mouth off it.
This is one of the few rebate planes that can be used for cutting
yards of big rebates without stopping every minute to clear shavings
out of the mouth.
At a smaller scale, which is all that most furniture makers ever need,
the Stanley #78 will cut rebates pretty well. The Record #778 is
better though, because the two bars on the guide fence mean the fence
doesn't wobble or break so easily. Still planes for relatively big
jobs though - more use for garden furniture than jewellery boxes.
All of the above have huge great mouths, which means they're not
useful for cross-grain work (although some #10 variants have
cross-grain spurs). If you are working cross-grain rebates, then you
might prefer the #289. As it has a skewed iron, it works a bit better.
Shame abut the rarity and the price though.
Almost the ideal plane for small cross-grain rebates on the bench is
the Stanley #140
This is a block plane with a skewed iron, so it works for cross or end
grain, and it has a removable side so you can use it for rebates too.
It's not perfect; no fence, no adjustable mouth, and it's another
rarity with collectors fighting for them. So leave it alone, and get
the modern Lie-Nielsen instead. This has a low angle iron and a fence,
so it's great for cross-grain rebates.
L-N also make a rebate block plane like the #10, with "arched" sides
rather than a single removable side plate. This has the advantage of
ambidexterity, but it's an idea that's better suited IMHO, to the
larger planes like the #10 than these small blocks. I'd go with the
None of these planes will cut dadoes or grooves. They're just too
wide. The biggest dado that you need to cut at all regularly is 3/4"
and the Stanley #92 will do this for you. This is a useful plane. It
cuts 3/4" dadoes, so long as you poke the shaving out on every pass.
It's also a competent rebate plane (although I prefer the others
above). Best of all, it's cheap, commonplace and it will do a passing
imitation of a shoulder plane for much less money. It's _not_ a
shoulder plane, and it's not a great plane for end grain. But you can
have one of these, and you probably can't afford a real shoulder plane
(Lee Valley, Clifton, Record 311). As with all the #90 series, the
US-made planes are junk (the castings are bananas) and the
English-made Stanleys are far better behaved.
If you need a 1/2" dado, then look for a wooden rebate plane, ideally
skewed. Not easy to find, but narrow ones are out there.
If you're narrow cutting grooves _with_ the grain, then things are
easier. The iron-bodied "open mouth" planes, multiplanes and
combination planes will work here. They're not great, but then for
dadoes they _really_ don't work well. A #50 or #45 in usable
condition (all the bits but tatty) is dirt cheap, considering how much
you get, simply because people hate them. More useful IMHO is a much
simpler #43 or #44, which has all the bits you really need to put the
grooves in for a drawer bottom.
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