Creating small rabbets

Small rabbets from two Veritas Tools – adapting a plow plane and marking/mortise gauge

I have some inlaid stock to make for a picture frame and as in times past I have needed to create inlay in wooden stock rather than inlay premade inlay. In other words, I wanted an inlay that could be built up in the actual frame material. I also needed a 1/8″ by 1/8″ rabbet for the glass.

In this case I needed a white corner inlaid into mahogany and then inlaid yet again with mahogany. I could use a machine but prefer to use hand methods because of simplicity, cleanness and efficiency. I decided to use two tools not necessarily associated with corner inlay work at all. I used a Veritas plow plane and the Veritas marking/mortise gauge; an unusual combination.

First I set the Veritas plow to the required width and depth. The problem was that the depth shoe couldn’t ride the stock because it runs on the outside of the plane and therefore there was no stock to ride. By clamping a sacrificial piece on the side of the main stock, the shoe rides and governs the depth of the plow plane as it would when used for its normal work of plowing or grooving.


I plane the two surfaces of the pine and mahogany flush and straight and then use the Veritas marking/mortise gauge to run cut walls along the stock at the exact distance the plow plane was set to in width and depth. The cut walls prevent the risk of tear out.



I reclamp the two pieces of wood in the vise and run the plow plane along the stock, starting at the front end and working backward in the usual manner for plowing and such. When the shoe reaches the pine, the plow stops cutting and the result is a perfectly square rabbet to an exact depth.