Wooden Rebate Planes

wooden rebate plane
Our Rating


Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Various

Tool Type: Wooden Planes

Plane Type: Rebate / Rabbet


The old British wooden rebate plane also called the wooden rabbet plane is the forerunner to the iron shoulder rebate / rabbet plane.

The wooden rebate plane has a rectangular shaped hardwood body which has a window cut the whole way through the side of the plane body where the cutter lays.

The cutting edge of the cutter spans the full width of the plane to ensure the plane can cut right into the corner of a rebate / rabbet (the cutter is usually about 1mm wider than the sole). The cutter is secured in place with the use of a wooden wedge.

The curved window shape is designed to curl the shavings and let them escape through the side of the plane quickly and easily.

old wooden rebate plane

The wooden rebate / rabbet planes were produced in many widths usually ranging from 10mm (3/8 inch) to 38mm (1 1/2 inch). The planes were produced with a square mouth and with a skewed mouth.

The old wooden rebate planes are usually made from Beech as this was the cheapest and most readily available of the British hardwoods.

The wooden rebate planes were occasionally made in other materials such as mahogany, boxwood and rosewood.

The wooden rebate planes were sometimes fitted with a steel sole. The main reason for this was it extended the life of the plane greatly as the sole of the wooden plane is more susceptible to damage.

old wooden rabbet plane

There were also wooden rebate planes (later on) with a moving fence (similar to the moving fillister plane design)

There were many, many manufacturers of rebate / rabbet plane, below is a list of some of the makers:

Marples (William)
Preston (Edward)

old wooden rabbet plane

The manufacturer's mark (if present) can virtually always be found on the front nose of the plane. If the plane is quite mucky or you hadn't realised, this is the place to look to identify who made it and if you wish to delve deeper there are a few books out there to help identify the age of the plane.

The authority of these books (at the time of writing this) has to be Jane Rees 'British Planemakers - 4th Edition'. The 'British Planemakers fom 1700 - Third Edition' is also good if you come across a secondhand copy.

The wooden rebate plane is a tool which has been produced in slightly different forms in various regions around the world.

old wooden rabbet plane

The old wooden rebate planes went on to be manufactured in many forms of iron shoulder plane, much of which were sold side-by-side with the wooden rebate planes. The first metal types were the infill shoulder planes such as the Norris 7 shoulder plane and then the iron shoulder planes such as the Stanley 92 shoulder plane, the Edward Preston shoulder plane and the Record 073 shoulder plane.

For a long time all three types of shoulder rebate plane were sold side-by-side. It wasn't until about the 1950's-1960's when the wooden rebate plane and the infill rebate plane production virtually ceased and the iron rebate plane became pretty much the sole rebate plane on the market.

Many of today's shoulder plane are based upon the early iron shoulder planes such as the Clifton 420 shoulder plane and the Lie Nielsen 73 shoulder plane.

Veritas Tools have designed their Veritas shoulder plane with an appearance which would have looked amazingly futuristic in the days of the wooden rebate planes.

Manufactured Dates

<1700 - 1970>


(i) This review/article may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith, any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving including corrections, 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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