Spanish woodworker shares finer points of side rabbet planes
Before I came to Fine Woodworking, I spent time living in Spain and noticed that many aspiring woodworkers I met there either did not know about the hand tools that were standard just a generation or two ago, or shied away from them as too esoteric. Foreign tools seem to be limited to the occasional German or British chisel or a Japanese ryoba with a replaceable blade that you could pick up at your local Brico-Marian or Leroy Merlin (Spain’s answer to Lowe’s, Menard’s, or Home Depot). Professional woodworkers owned hand tools, but the demands of daily production often meant that the majority of their work had to be done using power tools.
Recently I saw a few videos from YouTube user ‘julioyaldonza‘. When I did, I realized that it’s not that Spanish hand tool lovers don’t exist–they’re just tucked away in small shops that are hard to find. Luckily, woodworker Julio Alonso broadcasts woodworking lessons—in Spanish and in English—with an emphasis on hand tools on his YouTube channel, “El Taller Dominical” (“The Sunday Workshop”) which he records in his tiny but well-equipped shop in Toledo. In this installment, he shares sharpening techniques for side rabbet plane blades and surveys the versatility of these little marvels.
A True Multipurpose Tool
Julio’s video showcases a pair of these planes, which are reproductions of the Stanley #98 and #99. While most of us may not own a set of side rabbet planes (yet), this episode was enough to get my mouth watering. There are three things I really like about this video: Julio first walks you through a great sharpening lesson for these skew-angled blades, then runs through several of the typical uses for the tools. Finally, he outlines a few unique uses for them, such as trimming dovetails or widening the sides of stopped rebates and stopped dadoes.
Julio’s video stream is a great find for hand tool lovers, and he walks viewers through technique with the calm pace of a patient teacher. He narrates it all in a quiet, charismatic way, sprinkling in a few choice lines here and there (“And how about sliding dovetails?…Delicious.”) He also has a nascent knack for video editing. He’s kind of like a reserved Antonio Banderas, turned woodworker.
A final word: in his own disclaimer Julio notes that the video is very much a plug for Lie-Nielsen’s tools in general and their side rabbet planes in particular. I did a quick search online, and noticed that you can find these tools pretty easily. For new planes, you can order from Lee Valley-Veritas; Julio’s own set is from Lie-Nielsen. You can find a single unit that has both left and right blades on the same body and is made by Kunz: it’s their # 79, and it’s available from Highland Woodworking and Traditional Woodworker, amongst others. (It’s based on a similar plane by Stanley, also called #79.)
And of course, you can still find all of these varieties on eBay, though if you want to try your hand at it you can be inspired by this thread on Saw Mill Creek. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this unique pair of planes, and on Julio’s unique videos. And I want to find out where Julio got his great red bandana.