What are specialised woodworking planes?

 
     
     
 Shop for Woodworking Hand Planes 
     
     
 Selection of specialised hand planes 

As the description suggests, specialised planes are for specific jobs such as planing a rebate, a groove, a rounded or circular piece of wood, and irregular curves like those in wooden musical instruments such as guitars and violins.

 
     
 Grooving plane with fence or guide 

The specialised planes still made today are mainly metal ones.

 

There is also excellent availability of older planes, wooden and metal, on the internet and in salerooms and second-hand stores.

 
     
   

Declining numbers

 
 Moulding plane in use 

Some specialised planes are no longer manufactured on anything like a significant scale.

 

For instance, apart from very few specialist manufacturers, the choice when it comes to moulding planes, which cut decorative shapes into edges or rails of wood, seems to be second-hand or "make your own" – as some very keen woodworkers do.

 
     
 Hand-held combination plane 

Although you can get moulding irons for hand-held combination planes like the one pictured (see What is a combination plane?), the electrically-powered router has largely supplanted the moulding plane due to its speed and the vast range of router bits, or cutters, available.

 
     
 Using a router to cut a moulding 

This is a general trend – the work of many specialised planes is mostly done these days with a router, like the one seen here.

 

But there are still workshops – amateur and professional – that have a wide selection of these planes which, for some jobs, can still be quicker to use compared with setting up a router and its accessories.

 
     
   

Specialised plane vs. routers

 
 Old Stanley No 45 grooving plane half-way though a 1/4" groove for a drawer bottom 

Specialised planes DO have at least two distinct advantages over the router:

 

1. They don't put clouds of dust into the workshop (or need a dust extractor)

2. They're incredibly quiet compared with a router

 
     
   Wonkee Donkee on guides to specialised planes 
     
 Cutting a traditional moulding with a wooden moulding plane See What is a . . . 
     
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