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Veritas Skew Rabbet Plane
Copyright 2010. This article originally appeared in the Fine Tool Journal

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A couple quick adjustments make this tool
one of the finest metal rabbeting planes ever made.

Iíve always been curious about the Stanley No. 78 Duplex Fillister and Rabbet Plane. Actually, Iíve been curious as to why it was such a popular tool.

Its fence wobbles like a see-saw, its straight cutter does a poor job of cutting across the grain, and its blade adjuster (if it has one) is as jerky as Andrew Dice Clay. After working with a No. 78 for years, I concluded that it does its best work in softwoods that are going to be painted and displayed in dimly lit rooms.

So I banished my No. 78 to the bottom of my toolbox and bought a wooden-bodied moving fillister plane with a skewed cutter, a robust fence and a furniture-making pedigree. Wooden moving fillisters, however, have their own set of problems. Setting the fence parallel requires care, the wooden bodies can warp, and shaving ejection isnít great.

In the summer of 2008, Veritas introduced its Skew Rabbet Plane and I have used it to make hundreds of rabbets for furniture projects during the last 11 months. Despite some minor quibbles and modifications, it is, hands-down, the best moving fillister plane Iíve used.

So here are the reasons you should buy this plane for your shop and what you should do to it before you put it to work.

Built for Real Furniture-making

The Veritas Skew Rabbet has its A2 cutter skewed at 30į in the mouth of the tool, with a fairly generous 1/16Ē aperture for passing shavings. The skew is what makes this plane work so well in hardwoods.

Fillister planes are designed for rabbeting across the grain as well as with the grain, such as when you need to cut a rabbet on all four edges of a panel. Rabbet planes with a straight cutter do a fine job when cutting parallel to the grain, but they leave a rotten surface behind when cutting across the grain.

The skewed cutter fixes this problem. When you are cutting across the grain, there is enough skew that the shearing action of the blade produces a finished surface that is quite acceptable Ė in some woods it looks as good as a cut that is parallel to the grain. This is an enormous time-saver when making raised panels because you donít have to clean up the work left by the plane.

The skewed cutter has other advantages as well. Its shearing action helps pull the toolís fence to the edge of the board, which reduces the chance that the tool will wander away from the edge.

Also, the skewed cutter produces a spiral shaving that clears the mouth and the fence with ease. Unlike a typical metal plow plane, for example, this fillister plane never gets its escapement jammed with shavings.

I have found shaving ejection to be superior to that in a wooden moving fillister plane Ė in those tools the skewed cutter pushes the shaving against a wedge that deflects the shavings out the escapement. Usually.

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