I have a tongue and groove plane (stanley 48). I would like to use this plane to strength glue joints for the side of a toolbox. When assembled the tongued board and the grooved board are not flush. Are there adjustments that can be made to create a flat surface?

Example of misalignment

Example of alignment issue. Picture is from loosely related question

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    I tried to include a picture to help. It was from a router question to it is not directly related but it shows that the boards are not aligned which is what the Op was trying to show. Feel free to roll back of remove if I am wrong
    – Matt
    Jun 16, 2015 at 13:09
  • That is exactly the issue. Thanks. I think the difference is about 3/32s in my case which is enough to make me think twice about planing the differing off each side.
    – MatthewR
    Jun 16, 2015 at 13:49
  • You shouldn't have to make adjustments from what I have seen. What is the width of what you are cutting?
    – Matt
    Jun 16, 2015 at 14:15
  • Are you sure the fence is the original part?
    – saltface
    Jun 16, 2015 at 15:40
  • @saltface I hadn't consider that. I am guessing from the patina that it is.
    – MatthewR
    Jun 16, 2015 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


Apologies in advance that this doesn't directly answer your question, however it is a solution to your current problem and will allow you to progress with your project, and provides a good opportunity to post useful info about joint strength.

I would like to use this plane to strength glue joints for the side of a toolbox.

This is not necessary for strength*. Butt-jointed long-grain edges already create a bond stronger than the surrounding wood (assuming they are well formed and glued together properly, with sufficient adhesive and clamp pressure).

Tests have confirmed repeatedly that if you glue boards together, wait for the glue to fully cure and then break them apart the glue joint holds and it is the wood itself that breaks.

Joint breaks

[Source: Fine Woodworking excerpt.]

So you could solve your current issue by not using the Stanley no. 48 and just using a regular plane to joint your edges flat.

*Despite how counter-intuitive this seems, when joining boards along the grain, tongues and grooves, biscuits or splines (floating or glued) do not contribute significantly to joint strength, they act primarily as alignment aids.

Even pocket screws spaced along a long-grain joint do not add needed strength, they would primarily function as clamping devices in reality. The screws can in fact be removed after the glue has cured if desired, without resulting in a weak joint.


I'm not sure exactly what you mean but I'll do my best. If the tongue is a tad too large to fit in the groove, you could try using a block of scrap wood and some sandpaper to sand it down carefully. If the tongue is a tad too small for the groove, I'm not really sure of anything you could do to fix that... If the joint fits fine but the board sticks out a bit parallel to the groove, you could run it through your wide belt sander a couple of times to make the board a bit thinner. If the joint fits fine but the board sticks out perpendicular to the groove, just trim off the end on a table saw.

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    It sounds to me that the tongue and groove fit ok, but they are not properly aligned so there's a bump as you move from one board onto the other once they are assembled. The surfaces of the (or bottom) faces of both boards should be in the same plane rather than separate parallel planes.
    – rob
    Jun 15, 2015 at 23:07
  • Yeah, now that you uploaded that photo I would recommend just sticking it through the wide belt sander to fix it. As for preventing it from happening again, I would just do what Graphus said and just glue them up instead of using a joint. Unless you're impatient like me ;)
    – Jacob
    Jun 16, 2015 at 22:38

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