Woodworking: Making a wood rabbet plane


This tutorial shows how I made my own solid maple rabbet plane.

It follows my progress, step-by-step, through the following tasks:

  • Building and shaping the body
  • Turning the knob handle
  • Cutting and shaping the grip handle
  • Fitting the iron/blade


So here's a step by step record of my progress and process. Enjoy!

Making the body

I glued three pieces of hard maple together to form the plane's body. The body is 2 5/8"w x 2 1/2" h x 16" long.

I chiseled the opening out with a jointer's mallet and a few sharp chisels. This was quite a chore. I will say that the hard maple cut well with a sharp chisel. The bevel that will hold the blade is 45 degrees. I copied this angle from an antique wooden plane I have.


I put guidelines on the sides to help chisel at the proper degrees. The blade opening is 7/16" x 1 11/16". I plan to use a 1 5/8" blade.


Making the Handles

Here's the front knob's progress. I drew my own pattern after testing several knobs on my planes. I made mine a bit larger that the current knobs I have. They seemed a bit small for my hands. I turned this on my spring pole lathe. I will admit I have converted my lathe to be drill-powered. It makes these tasks much easier.

You might notice that I cut several rings in the bottom peg. This is to lock the peg into the hole on the body when I glue it. The peg is 7/8" diameter. I'll drill a 7/8" hole in the base with a Forstner bit.


Here's the back handle template and rough cut blank. I set the grain direction perpendicular to the base to maximize the strength as it's pushed through the cut.


Here's the finished handles ready to be glued in to the body. I used a 7/8" forstner bit and chisel to cut the mortise for the back handle. The same 7/8" bit drilled the hole for the front handle.


The handles are glued in. It's now ready to mount the iron and test it in real wood.


The final rabbet plane

Here's the final rabbet plane after I glued in the handles and mounted the blade. I bought a 1 5/8" iron online. It is 1/8" thick.


This view shows the rabbet cut into the right side of the plane's base to allow the blade to cut a rabbet in your work piece.


A close up of the rabbet.


A close up of the back handle.


The first test cut. I tested it first on a flat edge. It worked : )


Here's the second test cutting a rabbet into a piece of 5/8" red oak. It worked too : ) Notice I added an adjustable fence to the bottom to set the width of the rabbet.


The final step will be to disassemble the plane and put a coat of finishing oil on and then two coats of wipe on polyurethane.


Here's the finished plane: