Anyone used to using machines or power tools can be surprised at just how quickly a joint can be banged out by hand. There might not be any motors, but there are many tasks which can be completed well before you would have had time to find the bits and set up a router.
In addition to the benefits of a standard rebate plane, a well set up fenced plane, such as a moving fillister plane, can give you fantastic pace, when it comes to repetition, with several of the same joint to cut.
The fence and depth stops of the fillister plane mean you’ll only need to mark out for one rebate joint, and the settings on the plane allow you to cut the same joint over and over.
The Moving Fillister Plane – Set Up & Technique
It’s important that you understand how the fillister plane works, and put time and care in to getting that set up just right, if you want those accurate and repeatable joints.
A good technique can come from understanding the parts of the plane along with having an awareness of common problems. There’s been a lot of questions within our Spoon Rack Series about setting up to cut the rebate joints with accuracy, and so today we’re looking at the fillister plane in more detail.
Fillister Plane Or Rebate Plane – Understanding The Difference
A moving fillister is essentially a rebate / rabbet plane with the addition of some extra guidance – an adjustable fence so you can set the width of your joint, a depth stop to set the depth, and usually a nicker to score the fibre ahead of the cut for cross grain planing.
In use though we have to be careful not to think of it as a standard rebate / rabbet plane, or we’ll be going wrong before we’ve started.
The edge of the fillister doesn’t guide the cut, in fact the edge should not have any involvement at all. We have a fence, and that’s what we’re going to use.
Before making any cuts:
- Check your work piece; the two reference surfaces need to be flat and square
- Ensure the blade protrudes the edge of the plane at least a little.
- Check that the blade sits parallel with the sole of the plane, and is camber free. This is important and will effect the quality of your joint.
Whilst learning to use these planes I strongly recommend that you just ignore the nicker, as this only adds more faff. Instead strike a line with a marking gauge prior to making your cut. This will replicate the nicker’s job of scoring the fibres ahead of the cut.
Our Spoon Rack Series includes a ‘Response Rant’ in which we go through the careful setting up, and correct technique for using the moving fillister. Above is a quick extract from that video.
We received one question that I’m a little puzzled by though, the problem is described as the bottom of the rebates coming out humped along their length. The chap himself is using a Veritas Skew Rabbet (rebate) Plane from Lee Valley (so the dog’s knackers) with depth stop set correctly, and so the only way I can see the joint becoming humped is if the tool is being flexed in use, or perhaps the sole is somewhat curved. If you have any thoughts on this problem then I’d love to hear them.