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What is a bullnose plane?

Shop for Woodworking Hand Planes

What it’s used for

Bull nose plane with Norris-type adjuster

Useful in tight spaces

The bullnose plane – so called because it has a front end that looks like a rounded nose – is a small plane with a very short leading edge to its body, so that it can be used in tight spaces.

Bullnose rebate plane; woodworking planes; hand planes; what is a bullnose plane? Most commonly, it is either a shoulder or rebate plane that can be used to plane almost right into corners.

Characteristics

Cutting edge position of a bullnose plane The cutting edge – which is flush with the sides of the plane – goes almost up to the front end of the plane’s body, so that very little material is missed in a corner. Any final tidying up can then be done with a chisel, or a chisel plane – see What is a chisel plane?
Bullnose hand plane with nose section removed

Removable nose section

At least one manufacturer of hand planes has thought this through and come up with a bullnose plane with a removable nose section, so the plane effectively becomes a chisel plane for access right into the corner.

Number

Stanley No 90 bullnose plane; specialised hand planes; woodworking planes Metal versions of the bullnose plane made by Stanley were allocated Stanley model numbers, some of which are still used today by Stanley and other plane manufacturers. Planes based on the Stanley No. 75 and No. 90 are still readily available.