What is a combination plane?
What it's used for
Moulding, rebating and grooving
The combination plane combines the functions of, rebate and grooving and moulding planes.
It can be used for various tasks including grooving, rebating and cutting dados (housings) and tongue and groove joints.
Nosing, reeding and fluting
With the special soles and irons available for some types, the plane can cut shapes referred to as nosing, reeding, and fluting.
Nosing is the rounded edge on, for instance, the top front edge of each step in a staircase. Reeding is a decorative moulding with parallel strips that resemble thin reeds, and fluting refers to shallow grooves running vertically along a wooden surface.
A wide range of moulding irons is available, but some setting up is involved each time a different shape is called for.
A combination plane has an adjustable guide rail, or fence, which slides along a straight edge of the workpiece, ensuring that the iron cuts straight at a consistent distance from the edge.
There's also usually a depth stop which ensures that recesses, grooves and dados are cut to the precise depth required.
Stanley made a number of different combination planes and allocated them model numbers. Popular ones included No. 45 and the No. 55.
New planes based on Stanley's original designs are available, or you can find Stanley originals on auction websites.