What Is A Shoulder Plane?

what is a shoulder plane
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A shoulder plane is a woodworking plane used for trimming rebates / rabbets.

A shoulder plane has a plane blade which spans the full width of the plane, the plane blade is usually 1mm wider than the plane body. 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 shoulder plane is particularly suited to trimming the faces and the 'shoulders' of a tenon, hence the name "Shoulder Plane".

A shoulder plane usually has a blade set at a low angle making it suited to end-grain work.

A shoulder plane is effectively a bigger / longer version of a bullnose plane but with the plane mouth set more towards the middle of the plane.

wooden rebate shoulder plane

The Wooden Shoulder Plane

A wooden shoulder plane is effectively the historically commonly made wooden rabbet plane which was made in abundance by many manufacturers during the 1700's - 1950. These were made with a square plane mouth or a skewed plane mouth.

See the Wooden Rabbet Plane page for more info.

antique infill shoulder plane

The Infill Shoulder Plane

There were many iron infill planes made from about the 1850's - 1950 made by a number of infill plane manufacturers including Edward 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 Shoulder Plane Makers:

New Infill Shoulder Plane Makers:

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shoulder plane

The Iron Shoulder Plane

Mainstream iron shoulder planes were first made around about the 1890's with Stanley first producing its Stanley 92, Stanley 93 and Stanley 94 Shoulder Planes. The Record plane range then went on to produce probably the most successful shoulder plane range (based upon the amount of secondhand Record shoulder planes which surface), in particular the Record 073 Shoulder Plane.

Top quality shoulder planes are still made today with Clifton Shoulder Planes, Lie-Nielsen Shoulder Planes and Veritas Shoulder Planes. probably being the pick of the bunch.

Old Iron Shoulder Plane Makers:

New Iron Shoulder Plane Makers:


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