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I'm hand-planing rebates in half-inch (12mm) birch plywood. The plane I'm using for this is an Axminster Rider No. 778 Duplex Rebate Plane. That's very similar to a Stanley No. 78 but the fence is secured on two rods instead of one.

Since I'm keeping the fence on the same side of the plane the whole time, I'm planing consistently in one direction (which happens to be with the grain of the top and bottom layers of ply). However, the rebate isn't "flat": the far end is deeper than the near end. In fact, there's a continuous downhill slope as you move away from the near end of the work piece.

Ultiumately perhaps I could help myself by setting the depth stop more cautiously - moving it by stages as the work progresses. That seems time-consuming though. Is there something I can change about my technique or body position to get more even material removal in the rebate (rabbet)?

Edit: I don't want to use an electric router since I work on this in the evening and don't want to wake my kids.

  • If anything I would take a router and use a rabbiting bit, that might be a lot easier then a hand planer. But it gets the job done :). I can't say what your doing wrong since I do not own one, but have been using a router for the job.... – Ljk2000 Oct 29 '16 at 1:46
  • I don't want to use a router since I work on this in the evening and don't want to wake my kids. – James Youngman Oct 29 '16 at 6:24
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    That Axminster plane is a nice bit of kit! Did you start the rebate at the far end and work back? Standard advice with all rebating. Did you pause and check progress regularly? This is important with all planing and it's one of the things all learners need to do more of so we don't overshoot our marks. – Graphus Oct 29 '16 at 6:55
  • @Graphus - what is the reason for starting at the far end? I keep seeing people do this, but no explanation. Is it just because that is the easiest part to mess up, so you get it done first, checking as you go? – aaron Nov 1 '16 at 12:42
  • @aaron I don't recall the explanations I might have heard/read, I do believe that sometimes it's just said to do it that way without a reason given. But I think part of it is you then work from more to less difficult, rather than planing with increasing resistance through the stroke if you began closest to you (where you have least power and control furthest away from you because your arms are extended). – Graphus Nov 2 '16 at 6:35
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A rebate plane doesn't automatically cut to the same depth across the entire stroke. In theory perfect usage would come close, but most folks don't perfectly cut the whole thing with the same pressure every time, and few boards have equal hardness all the way across.

The solution is to not expect perfection. Draw a guide line on the end indicating where to stop cutting, and use that to tell you if some parts are cutting deeper than others. Use that to refine your technique—and if necessary (which it probably will be) to tell you where to make partial passes to level things out again.

There's no shame in making guide marks!

  • I'd agree with this. Just put a bit more pressure on at the start of the stroke. And practice, forever and ever…. :-) – Sam Wilson Nov 27 '16 at 10:52
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It sounds like the blade might not be engaging at the start of the cut. I would make sure that the blade is as sharp as possible and check that it engages at the front end of the rebate.

Best, Kevin

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