View Full Version : Shoulder or rabbet planes

Joe Tonich
03-15-2003, 9:38 PM
I had to fit some tennons to their mortices and was told on the PT forum that these planes would make the job easier. I found out what they look like on a Google search but I've never seen them before. Where would I find a used one in working shape for not a lot of $? The ones I've seen are in the $200+ range which is out of my budget (allowance) range.



Jim DeLaney
03-15-2003, 10:49 PM
Well, the current 'cream of the crop' is the Lie Nielson 073, at around $240, but there are some cheaper alternatives out there.

A Stanley 92 or 93 can be had on Ebay for around $50-60, or a 90 for a few dollars less. Usually, with very little work (cleaning and sharpening), you can have a very useful plane.

Stanley's 90, 92, and 93 are all still being made (in England), and are available from most of the large mail order places. Prices are around $75 for the 90 to around $90 for the 92 or 93. Think of these English made Stanleys as 'kits' though. They'll need the soles lapped smooth, and maybe the sides lapped to make them perpendicular to the sole, and the blade will need the back flattened and the edge sharpened.

Not as bad as it sounds, though - a couple hours tinkering and you've got a good plane that will give you good service for a lifetime.

mike reynolds
03-15-2003, 11:54 PM
I use a shoulder plane often for truing rabbets as well as tenons. There really is no trick to using them, but the blade MUST be ground square. (there is no lateral adjustment). I do have the lie-nielson and it is nice, but for years I just used a stanley #92. I think it is around 75.00 at the store, and I spent about 30 minutes tuning mine and got great results. If the wood is really horrible, I use a very fine file. I always "cut fat" and pare down to size. Hope this helps.

Alan Hamilton
03-17-2003, 7:10 PM

Specifically, you want a shoulder plane. A shoulder plane is a trimming plane that's made for doing exactly what you have in mind: trimming tenon cheeks and shoulders are among the many things it can do.

A rabbet plane is made to cut rabbets, not to trim tenon shoulders or cheeks. A rabbet plane should have a fence, a depth stop, and cross-grain nickers. A shoulder plane has none of these.

I have a Stanely #92 that I bought new about ten or so years ago. It was about eighty-five dollars IIRC. Others' luck with recent Stanley 90s has not been universally good. Many complain of sides not square to the soles, and soles severely out of true. Mine took no more than a half-hour of fiddling, plus however long it took to sharpen the iron, and it has worked flawlessly.


Joe Tonich
03-17-2003, 7:34 PM
I ended up buying the L/N rabbet block plane. I think that it would suit my needs better as it could be used as a block plane also. The #92 is next on my list as it's easier to explain a $90 expense than a $150 one. Also, even tho SWMBO had THE LOOK as she said to buy it for my B'day present, I opted for the L/N. (I posted the GLOAT in the PT forum)

Thanks for the advice,

Joe - soon to have TWO new planes :D

Alan Hamilton
03-18-2003, 8:52 PM

Let us know how you like that LN plane. I've heard some bad things about it. (I will not prejudice you by saying what things.)


Howard Ruttan
03-19-2003, 9:38 AM
I have the Lie-Nielsen 073. It is a beautiful plane. I honed it out of the box to siut my tastes and it has provided me with perfect service ever since. It is expensive though.

Having said that, I am in the market for a different plane. Not that I don't have sufficient occasion to use the 073, but if you are doing a lot of M&Ts it can be tiresome to use as it is very heavy. I would love to get the smaller Clifton 410 but it is exceptionally expensive. I will probably settle on the Stanley 92. It is smaller and much lighter, and after having given one a test drive, I can say that they are a fine plane for cleaning up standard sized M&T joints. They are also very portable, in your shop apron or for taking to a class if you do that, and won't wear your hand out after several hours of intense planing in a day.

Doug Littlejohn
04-04-2003, 4:28 PM
I have a HNT Gordon 3/4" shoulder plane that works just great. It was about $95 at Woodcraft. As with almost any plane these days (except CW,LN and a few others) some tuning is required before actual use. In my case, I needed to flatten up the base as the humidity difference between Ausie land and here in Fresno had caused a slight warping along the base.

Great plane though, handles really gnarly wood.

as usual YMMV,