Wednesday 11 July 2018
I've not used a rebate plane since my days as an apprentice joiner and let's face it, there are a lot of easier ways to cut a rebate these days.
But, a lot of woodworkers prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, so I thought it would be a good idea to try out a rebate plane.
Faithfull's No. 778 is a reasonably inexpensive version of the old joiner's tool, and being able to work in both bull nose and normal configuration, it seems like very good value.
Of course, set up is everything. The casting seemed pretty good, but held up against a straight edge, there was a definite hollow towards the centre along the length. Though held to an engineer's square, the sole and side were exactly square.
When I came to flat and hone the blade, I found it to be both flat and square, though with rounded edges on the corners, particularly on the blade corner that will form your rebate's right angle.
This seemed odd, as you need the corner of your rebates to be sharp right angles. You could, of course, grind the blade so the corners are square, but that is wasting quite a lot of blade!
The plane has a depth stop and double post fence, which attached easily via knobs that can be turned by hand and then tightened with a screwdriver.
The cutting spur for cross-grained work was a bit dodgy, and needed quite a bit of fettling. It also wasn't very accurately machined in terms of its threaded hole for the tightening screw, which was off centre.
When assembled, I found the tightening knob had a bit too much play on it, and it needed a lot of working-in for smooth operation.
For testing, I cut a smallish rebate of 12 x 7mm in pine and oak. In its normal blade configuration, with the grain, it worked quite well, but across the grain, the spur took a lot of getting just right – the poor machining not helping – also the screw that holds it in place seemed quite soft. I think you will need a replacement quite quickly.
In the bull nose configuration, I found it a harder beast to tame, but then most of these planes are with a blade up front.
All the above teething troubles stated, I managed to set the plane up to cut rebates quite well. The blade took a keen edge, and seemed to keep it. Overall, it works with quite a lot of tinkering and for £60 (you can buy cheaper online) it's not bad.