4 Planes for Joinery
Get perfect dadoes, grooves, rabbets, and tenons in no time
Synopsis: Specialty planes make it easier to build furniture by hand. By adding a shoulder plane, a router plane, a rabbet plane, and a plow plane to his collection, Vic Tesolin can knock out just about any traditional furniture joint quickly and accurately. The shoulder plane is used to fine-tune tenons, trimming both shoulders and cheeks for a perfect fit. A router plane trims the bottom of a recess flat and excels at cutting hinge mortises, cleaning up dadoes, and trimming tenon cheeks. The rabbet plane makes rabbets a breeze, and the plow plane cuts perfect grooves for a drawer or a frame-and-panel door.
Interview with the author: Shop Talk Live 77: A Woodworker’s Dream Job
At just 170 sq. ft., my shop is—without question—small. When I first moved into it, I was forced to think carefully about which machines were essential and which I could do without. In the end, only my bandsaw, drill press, and thickness planer survived the cut. As a result, most of my woodworking, including all of the joinery, is done with hand tools. After I made that decision, it didn’t take long to realize that to cut joinery by hand I’d need more than just my backsaw and a set of chisels. So over time I added some specialty planes to my collection. With these planes—shoulder, router, rabbet, and plow—I’m able to knock out just about any traditional furniture joint quickly and accurately. Here I’ll demonstrate how I use each of these planes in my furniture making, and I’ll give you some tips on setting them up for best results. Vic Tesolin enjoys building furniture with hand tools in his well-insulated shop outside of Ottawa, Ont., Canada.
Fine-tunes tenons Cutting the mortise-and-tenon joint by hand means…