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