Some time ago I had noticed this Stanley No. 78 rebate plane displayed in the store window of my favorite hardware store, Ferreteria Gallega, in the old town of Pontevedra (Galicia). A few weeks ago I stopped by with my dad, and he decided he was giving this Stanley plane to me for my birthday.
Unboxing Stanley rebate plane number 78
This Stanley rebate plane comes in an old style cardboard box, with just a simple black and white drawing on the outside.
When we open the box we see one of those papers similar to onion skin paper that I think was used to protect metal tools from humidity. And when we take it away we see the body of the plane, with the iron (the cutting blade) and the lever cap already in place. In a simple section of the box we find the depth gauge and the fence. And peeking out from under the body of the rebate plane we see a simple pamphlet with a diagram, the parts, and information about this rebate plane.
The first thing I notice when I take the rebate plane in my hand is the condition the sole comes in, with a deep scratch all along its length, probably the result of grinding with some kind of very coarse grinding wheel.
This rebate plane also has a side surface that comes in only slightly better condition than the sole. The same as the support surfaces of the depth gauge and the fence. The truth is that this plane has all the appearance of being a tool manufactured a lot of years ago, and even more if we take into account that it is from Stanley and they make good quality planes.
Searching a little on the Internet I see that it is not a plane that is discontinued. And Stanley shows it on his own website. Perhaps the new ones come with the sole in a slightly better condition, although if I’m not mistaken a sole with a perfectly ground and smooth base would double or triple the price of this plane. Anyway, let’s say that I am talking without having extensive knowledge, beyond having browsed the Internet about woodworking planes and those I could get my hands in hardware stores and DIY centers.
The depth gauge of this duplex rebate plane has a pair of ridges on the back side. By fitting one of them into a groove on the side of the plane, we can slide this depth gauge parallel to the sole of the rebate plane. And by tightening the depth gauge screw we fix it so we can plane just to the desired depth.
The lateral fence, which allows us to adjust the width of the rebate to be planed, can be placed on either side of the plane. And although it will normally be on the side opposite to the groove for the depth stop, when planing we should take into account the grain direction. We have a rod that we screw into the body of the plane, and the fence runs along the rod, sliding under the sole of the plane without touching it. We adjust the position of the fence to plane the groove with the needed width, and we fix it in place by tightening its retaining screw.
As I already mentioned, the iron (the cutting blade) and the lever cup are already placed in one of their places in the rebate plane. And I say in one of its places because one interesting feature of this “duplex” rebate plane is that it has two positions to install the iron: the position that would be the most normal, somewhat forward with respect to the center of the sole; and another second position far forward at the front of the rebate plane and which allows planing almost to the end grooves that are closed at the end.
If I take away the lever cup I find that it is not ground in the area of contact with the iron, so I would say that it does not rest well on the iron. And something interesting about the iron are those grooves on the top part, which engage the small teeth in the adjusting lever. This adjustment lever serves to set the cutting edge of the iron with precision to the desired position.
And apart from the iron we still have another blade in this Stanley No. 78 rebate plane. This is a vertical spur bolted vertically to the edge of the rebate plane. This spur cuts in front of the iron and on the side of the groove we make with the plane. In this way the spur cuts the side of the wood shavings and makes them come off easily without the need to break them on the side.
As I mention in the video, I think this rebate plane should be ground and flattened, both on the sole and on the side. It is not only a matter of leaving a smooth surface on the sole of the plane, but also of making it as flat as possible.
The iron, even though it is quite sharp, has a small nick in the cutting edge, so I will use the sharpening jig to try to get it in better condition.
As I write this I have just finished grinding the metal sole of this rebate plane, and I have to say that although I didn’t made a very good job, I am delighted with the ease of use that is achieved with a completely smooth sole that glides very easily on the wood to be planed. I hope to upload soon the video and the post where I show how I ground and flatten this plane using emery cloth, metal sandpaper and a lot of patience.