Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 2
   November 2010
   From the Collection

Rebate plane
Using a bizarre comparison, this plane might be called the ultimatum plane because of its similarity to the Ultimatum brace, a well known style of English woodworking brace manufactured in the 1900s. This plane has all the requisites — a heavy, elaborately shaped brass casting with fine decorative pieces of exotic wood inset into the metal body, making a pleasing marriage of two dissimilar elements. There is no doubt this plane would be admired by any tradesperson for its maker's skillful execution.

Designed to be used as a rebate plane, the tool has a bevel-down blade with a 45° bed angle and a larger mouth opening than is normally found in a shoulder plane. It was meant to be used to cut a heavier shaving than is generally associated with a low-angle 20° to 25° bevel-up shoulder-type plane. The casting has some thickness at the sole, nose and around the escapement and wedge slot. The main body where the inset panels are placed is an open pierced section, while the outer side panels, although cut from the body infill, are treated as a veneer application. The body infill appears to be a variety of rosewood.

At 9" long and 3/4" wide, the plane's distinctive convoluted body shape gives the user numerous handholds. For some, this might seem an uncomfortable bed for repetitive steady hand placement, but, in practice, this versatility gives the user options when manipulating the plane in an unconventional manner. The tool has been heavily used, most certainly signifying that it was not made to be merely an ornament. However, the understated elegance and appearance somewhat overtake the tool's functionality. In today's environment, I suspect the plane would be relegated to the display cabinet.
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