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Tuning a Moving Fillister Plane by Will Myers

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Will Myers

 The moving fillister plane is essentially a rabbet plane with a fence.  It also has a skewed iron and a nicker for cutting across grain.

A moving fillister will cut rabbets along the grain or across, but where it really shines is cutting across the grain. Most of these planes I have seen cut up to an 1 inch wide and to 5/8 inch deep rabbet.

These are not as common as regular rabbet planes but you do run across of them from time to time. For these planes to work properly they generally need a little tuning.

This plane is a Union No.148 I picked up a couple of months ago for $20. It was in pretty bad shape. The sole was worn badly plus had a bit of twist.

The screws that secure the fence were striped and the wedge was history as well. In its day it would have been one of the cheaper versions of this style plane.

The first problem to deal with was the sole. Most moving fillister planes I have seen have boxing on the right edge of the sole to reduce wear in this area. This plane did not have boxing which is why it was worn so much.

I clamped the body of the plane up side down in the vise and used a jointer plane set to take a light cut and took off just enough to get the sole flat.

Next, I jointed the right side of the plane where the nicker and depth stop mount until it was flat and square with the sole. After the body was flat and square the slots for the depth stop and nicker had to be cut deeper to compensate for material that had been removed leveling the side.

The next problem to deal with was the stripped threads for the fence screws. This seems to be a problem with most of these planes. The screws go directly into the wood body of the plane, over time they strip from repeated loosening and tightening.

Most of these planes have more than one set of holes drilled in the sole from where one set stripped and new holes were drilled to replace them.

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