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
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
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 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
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
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.