Let the joinery begin!

The first joinery of the dresser project will be rabbeting the sides of the case to accept the back. Yes, rabbets are joinery. In this case they house the back which will be added at the end of the project. The back should be a frame and panel, unless I get lazy.


This corner is soon to be removed. Click on the picture and you can see the lines marking a 3/4 inch square that will be removed.


I made the rabbets with my Veritas Skew Rabbet plane(s). Actually, I used the pair of planes on the pair of sides because of grain direction. Sorry, I guess that is a gloat. No, you don’t “need” both of them to do good work, but having both allows me to always work with the grain. You can get buy with one, but the pair is nice. The plane has lots of features and adjustments and they are pretty intuitive. It is a really nice plane that works very well. The Popular Woodworking Blog has positively reviewed this plane more than once.


Beware, this rabbet has a nasty bite!

A word of warning. Unless you are making a wide rabbet, the skew plane blade sticks out past the fence in a place very close to where fingers fit to the fence. You have to be very careful to not let it bite you. By the way, one measure of sharpness is if your blade can cut you but the only way you know is seeing blood on your project. 🙂

There are cheaper alternatives to this Veritas plane. Antique Stanley 78’s are very common and cost less than $50 but I do not like them. The fence is weak, typically not square to the body and the blade depth control is not great. A Record 778 is a big improvement, but not very common to find. Other alternatives include a shoulder plane or a wooden body rabbet plane – with or without a fence (your fingers can do that part). Any plane with a iron that extends to the side should work.


Finished with the rabbet here. This board is now ready for the next step – dovetails.

Taking a rabbet 3/4 inch deep by hand does take some patience. I adjust the depth of the iron to take as deep a cut as I can with control. It makes a pretty thick ribbon as it peels off the wood. I keep the plane close to my body and move down the board with my legs (not extending my arms very much). Hold the plane vertical and push it forward with one hand, hold it against the work with the other. Watch the layout lines closely and readjust the fence if needed.

Final tip – practice on a scrap board first. This should be common sense, right?

Bob Jones

1 thought on “Let the joinery begin!

  1. Pingback: A stable foundation for the Dresser (Part 2) | The Christian Tool Cabinet

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