What Is A Bullnose Plane?

what is a bullnose plane
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A bullnose plane is a small woodworking plane used for small rebate / rabbet work such as trimming rebates.

A bullnose plane has a plane blade which spans the full width of the plane, usually 1mm wider than the plane width.

This allows the plane to trim rebates right in to the corner. It also allows the plane to be used left-handed or right-handed.

A bullnose plane is designed with it's blade positioned very close to the end of the plane with only a short sole in front of the blade's cutting edge. This allows the plane to be used almost all of the way into a corner. The last remaining little bit of wood can then be worked with a chisel or a chisel plane.

Edward Preston thought about this over 100 years ago when it designed its Edward Preston 2509 Bullnose and Chisel Plane, this then went on to become the basis of the Record 077A Bullnose and Chisel Plane.

A bullnose plane also has a short rounded-over front nose. This makes it comfortable to handle and offers a little more manoeuvre getting into tight spaces.

A bullnose plane is effectively a smaller version of a shoulder plane.

The Wooden Bullnose Plane

A wooden bullnose plane is not a common tool. There were lots of standard sized wooden rabbet planes which effectively were large wooden shoulder planes.

You do see small wooden shoulder / bullnose planes but they are nearly always a user-made tool opposed to a mainstream manufacturer made tool.

antique infill bullnose plane

The Infill Bullnose Plane

There were many iron infill planes made from about the 1850's - 1950 made by a number of infill plane manufacturers including Efward Preston, Norris and Spiers Of Ayr as well as makers who didn't mark their planes with a manufacturer mark. These planes were top of the range tools in their day and even today are still seen as top tools.

Some of these planes have a one-piece cast, some have a sole dovetailed to the cast. The planes have a wooden infill and matching wooden wedge usually made of an exotic wood of the time such as Ebony, Rosewood or Mahogany. Walnut is another wood sometimes used.

Old Infill Bullnose Plane Makers:

  • Buck
  • Edward Preston
  • Mathieson
  • Norris
  • Slater
  • Spiers Of Ayr

New Infill Bullnose Plane Makers:

  • ?

bullnose plane

The Iron Bullnose Plane

Iron bullnose planes were first made around about the 1870's with the first metal mainstream bullnose plane being made by Stanley in the form of the Stanley 75 Bullnose Plane.

There have been a number of compass plane makers in the past, with very few present makers. Below are a list of a few well known compass plane makers:

Old Iron Bullnose Plane Makers:

New Iron Bullnose Plane Makers:


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(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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