How to Use a Bull Nose Rabbet Plane

Written by david brown
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How to Use a Bull Nose Rabbet Plane
The bull nose rebate plane is a classic cabinetmaker's tool. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The bull nose rebate plane is a useful tool for cabinet and sash making. They come in two varieties, larger ones with a guide fence, and smaller ones without the fence. The bull nose allows the plane to work in blind corners.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Insert the blade or iron into the plane. The popular Stanley #78 has two positions for the blade: one at the nose and one at the plane's midpoint. Unless you have to plane into a blind corner, choose the rearward position. Install the blade bevel down, and place the cap iron on top. Turn the slotted screw finger tight.

  2. 2

    Adjust the depth of cut. Loosen the adjusting knob on the cap iron and operate the chrome adjusting lever to move the blade up or down. The depth of cut must be arrived at using trial and error. Practice on a scrap of wood.

  3. 3

    Set the spur. The spur is the small, three-pointed appendage recessed into the right side of the plane body. When cutting with the grain of the wood, leave the spur retracted. If cutting across the grain, rotate the spur to the downward position and lock it in place with the setscrew.

  4. 4

    Adjust the fence to the width of the rebate. Measure from the right of the plane body to the face of the fence, and lock the fence in place with the thumbscrew.

  5. 5

    Set the depth gauge to the depth of the rebate. Measure from the sole of the plane to the bottom of the depth gauge, and lock the gauge in place with the thumbscrew.

  6. 6

    Move the plane from right to left along the work piece, being careful to keep the fence in contact with the wood, and keeping the sole level.

Tips and warnings

  • For any plane to work properly, the blade must be razor sharp.
  • If necessary, remove the fence to the right side of the plane. Simply unscrew the chrome fence arm and move it to the right side.

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