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Thread: Plane Question

  1. #1
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    Plane Question

    Hi there:

    Can someone explain to me what the difference is between

    1) a router plane

    2) a rabbet plane

    3) a plow plane

    ? They're all used to cut rabbets no?
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
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  2. #2
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    I don't know if I can really answer your question but a rabbet plane usually has a nicker to cut the fibers as you cut the rabbet. Without that, you have a chance of having breakout along the top of the rabbet.

    For the router plane, I can describe how I use it. I'll use it to clean out a hinge mortise where I've outlined the edges with a chisel. Or, I'll use it to finish a dado so that the bottom is of equal depth. If doing everything by hand, I'll rough cut the dado with chisels, and maybe use a saw to cut the sides. Then the router plane finishes the bottom. I also use a router plane to get a level bottom when doing inlay.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
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    I will let Rob give a most detailed explanation of the differences. I will only say that very few planes perform one function. Many can be used to make several different joints or perform several different actions. A router and a rabbet plane can both be used to make a rabbet and you could use a plow plane do make one, but its main function is making grooves.

    Considering this post and the other you just made concerning Taiwanese style hand planes, I am sensing a purchase. I am going to make a suggestion, spend money on instruction before you get too carried away on the tool buying. It will be money well spent. I looked over at the Lee Valley near you and did not see any coming seminars about using hand tools. They only went to the end of April with the classes. They do look like they fill up fast. You can call them and see what is coming in the next few months.

    If you can afford it, the Port Townsend School of Woodworking has a great week long beginners class covering all the hand tool basics.

    Here’s what you will experience over the five days (take the Blackball from Victoria to Port Angeles):

    • Handsaws:
      Handsaws: Learn efficient and accurate ripping and crosscutting tricks and techniques; How to build and use a shooting board to quickly true end cuts.
    • Hand planes:
      How to tune and sharpen a hand plane for maximum performance; how to efficiently dimension and smooth a board to a flat, mirror-like surface and with a straight and true edge. How to use specialty hand planes to make grooves, rabbets and profiled (molded) edges.
    • Chisels:
      Learn efficient techniques for chopping and paring with a razor-sharp chisel honed to the proper angle. Create simple jigs to ensure accuracy in joint-making.
    • Joinery:
      Gain practice with chisels and handsaws (plus some layout tools) to make a variety of basic joints, from a simple lap to a basic through dovetail.
    • Curved work with hand tools:
      Learn how to saw to a curved line with a frame saw (a hand-powered version of a bandsaw); smooth and true the curved edge with a compass plane; and shape the edge with a tuned and sharpened drawknife and spokeshave.
    http://www.ptwoodschool.com/HandtoolHeaven2010.html

    It is not cheap, but you will be years ahead of most people in this forum who are just beginning handtool woodworking. This forum is great, but it will not teach you to be woodworker. You can learn though trial and error (very slow), from what you read or watch on dvd or you can learn directly from someone. I recommend the last approach.
    Last edited by Bill Satko; 02-22-2011 at 08:27 PM.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  4. #4
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    Completely agree Mike, and in addition to that I would say that a plow or plough plane is for making grooves. Although they are usually sold on ebay with only one blade they used to have up to 12 different blade widths to make for all the most common widths of grooves needed when making a piece of furniture. Nowadays they have substituted by powered routers, so unless you want to go for the neander woodworking side, it would not be my first purchase.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails plough1.jpg   blades.jpg  
    Last edited by Toni Ciuraneta; 02-22-2011 at 08:32 PM.
    Best regards,
    Toni

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    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni Ciuraneta View Post
    unless you want to go for the neander woodworking side, it would not be my first purchase.
    Cynthia,

    Plow planes can get just a tad pricey. Like this one:



    Yes, that's real ebony. And real ivory. Not sure you could even find the materials to make that these days. Some folks say that's the most expensive handplane ever made. Here's the sound file of the latest auction:

    http://www.rednersville.com/sandusky...ky_auction.wav

    Ouch!

    Thanks,

    Bill

  6. #6
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    I'll add that many woodworkers have a router plane. Some have a rabbet plane. Few have a plough plane.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    Cynthia,

    Plow planes can get just a tad pricey. Like this one:



    Yes, that's real ebony. And real ivory. Not sure you could even find the materials to make that these days. Some folks say that's the most expensive handplane ever made. Here's the sound file of the latest auction:

    http://www.rednersville.com/sandusky...ky_auction.wav

    Ouch!

    Thanks,

    Bill
    wow Bill, that was an education the LV's seem like a STEAL compared to that!
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
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    28
    Rabbet planes are typically very similar to conventional planes except the iron extends all the way to the sides to allow the iron to cut right up to the side of the rabbet, tenon, etc. Even the funny looking ones are pretty conventional in design. As Mike said, they sometimes have a nicker.

    Router planes have a very small fence, often resembling a pivot more than a fence. The router plane is designed for cleaning up the bottom of a dado. It is not a great choice for actually making a dado but it excels at cleaning one up. A router plane can follow a curved path. The iron on a router plane extends far beyond the plane body with nothing that can be considered a mouth, a frog, etc. Think of it as a chisel with a depth stop because that's essentially what it is.

    The plow plane has a very long fence. It is designed to make grooves down a board, like rails and stiles of a door, and other kinds of dados. It can not follow a curved path, but it excels at making dead straight and flat grooves. On a rabbet plane, the blade comes to the edge of the sides, and you register the plane using the sides. On a plow plane, you instead have a "skate". That's the body of the plane and it is only as thick as the thinnest blade you have (and usually just a hair thinner so things don't bind). The skate and fence provide registration. This allows you to use different sized blades to make different sized grooves.

    And then there's shoulder planes. The differences I see between "rabbet" planes and "shoulder" planes seem pretty academic. Some say it's the lack of a nicker, though many rabbet planes lack a nicker. Some say bedding angle. Other say it's bevel up vs bevel down. It all looks the same to me.

    I'm not expert on this, but that's just what I've seen to be the main differences.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni Ciuraneta View Post
    Completely agree Mike, and in addition to that I would say that a plow or plough plane is for making grooves. Although they are usually sold on ebay with only one blade they used to have up to 12 different blade widths to make for all the most common widths of grooves needed when making a piece of furniture. Nowadays they have substituted by powered routers, so unless you want to go for the neander woodworking side, it would not be my first purchase.
    I have a TS McMaster threaded arm plough plane with all the irons, and it is a work of art in itself, but as I need to make a living at this stuff, I use a router. Every once in a while I pull it out and play with it, but then I have to get back to work....

    I do actually from time to time get a call for a hand made moulding and get to use my 45 to make money. Of all the old specialty planes, that would be my first choice, just because of its versatility. Some day I will make a window sash with it just for fun.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2011
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    Tacoma, WA
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    Larry,

    Would you post a pic of your plough plane? I'd like to see what it looks like. Couldn't find a pic on google.

    Brian
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

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