Handwork: Three Ways to Cut a Rabbet Joint
The rabbet joint is a useful joint to know. Here, hand-tool expert Vic Tesolin shows three ways to cut one by hand—with a rabbet plane, with a shoulder plane, and with a chisel and router plane.
Although not as glamorous as the dovetail nor as robust as the mortise-and-tenon, the rabbet joint is just as useful. It shows up in casework as a place to put a frame-and-panel back, and is a popular way to fit a drawer bottom into its grooves. So it’s a good joint to learn. In my shop, where I depend on hand tools to cut all joinery, I’ve employed three approaches to cut rabbets. For through-rabbets, I go with my rabbet plane; before I had it, I used a shoulder plane. For a stopped rabbet you can’t use either plane, but a chisel and router plane get the job done. I’ll show you all these methods.
Rabbet plane: The rabbet plane originally looked a lot like a shoulder plane, but has evolved into a tool even better suited for cutting a rabbet. Rabbet planes now have fences…