Making a Spill Rabbet Plane

I am designing a rabbet plane, that will also make spills as I work.

Spills are the nifty little spirals of wood.  A rabbet of course is a plane that can cut right into the edge of a corner.   My goal is to have a left and right handed spill rabbet with adjustable fences.  But first I needed to test my designs.

Plane cutting

This is an interesting item, it is quite a lovely bit of art, and a fairly flawed tool right now. The angles are odd and most photographs give poor information to the brain. I have not managed to do justice in a photo here.

bottom view

without wedge or blade side

The picture above, shows the section of wood that remains holding the two sides together.  As a result of the flexibility of osage, this plane can survive the stresses.  However the wedge grip on the blade, does not allow for too wide a shaving to be cut, before the blade slides back.  A face added to the side, making this more like a Krenov, would make it a usable plane.  It might however destroy the aesthetic and ease of examination.  Since this is a test of concept, I will leave this one alone, as an example and a warning.

without wedge of blade bottom

I have several references on spill planes, and it is an interesting item.  Most of the references have subtle disclaimers.   I take this to mean, that inconsistent results are common.  I went with a 45 degree skew and a 45 degree bed angle to make it a bit simpler.   It is not real simple. the angles and the cone are kind of a bear.

Here is what I did.  First I made the cone shaped hole.  I clamped down the block and arranged a 45 degree angle on my drill press. I then drilled a shallow hole with a large forstner, followed by a less shallow hole with a smaller forstner, followed by a small hole.  This gave me a wedding cake form to start with.  The wedding cake was made a touch off center, as I had to adjust my design as I made it.

Then I made a cone reamer. I took a nice big spade bit and ground it into a wide point. I then ground the edges that would face the cut, in order to make it cut a little better. I used a marker on the edge of the cone reamer and did some test work in pine. The edge that kept the mark was shorter, so with a touch of grinding and retesting, I managed to make an even reamer. If the sides are not even, then the reamer will beat the edges if you use any serious speed. I wanted exact so I did not use a brace. I will use a brace next time however, as I think it will do a better job. You can see the cuts I made in the cone, they were not eliminated. Largely because, I really like the look of them and they will not get in the way of spills leaving the plane. On my final model, I will probably not have any, unless I can figure out how to make them consistent.  The burn marks in the cone are due to play in my cheap HF drill press.   While I love them and think they add to the appearance, they were not done on purpose.

After that I used a razorsaw 650 ryoba to hand cut the bed. I wanted as clean and precise a finish as possible to start. This cut needs to be rather precise.

The wood is a block of osage.

7 comments to Making a Spill Rabbet Plane

  • Skip J.

    Hello Bob;

    Good to see you in here again….

    I have some bodark drying out back that I was thinking of making into some handles. You certainly show a unique aspect of osage properties in your small plane. That little section joining the front and back sure must be strong! I mite need to rethink what mine mite be good for…..

    What are you gonna use the little spills for????


  • Osage is an amazing and talented wood. Under used I think. Classically spills are for lighting pipes, I will use a few that way. The real dream here though is to improve the ejection of waste. I am thinking of using spills for a wood scrap version of a dried flower arrangement.

    I hurt my knee at work, so I am not doing a lot of woodworking at the moment. I am doing quite a bit of design however.


  • Skip J.

    Mercy Bob; sorry to hear that…… but we all benefit from your design work tho…..

    Anyway, I forgot about your tobacco and pipe… that would be perfect I guess.

    My little osage limb chunks came down in Ike, so they’re almost a year old. I think I’ll chuck’em in the vise and get my drawknife out and square’em up some, and then let’em sit for awhile more… I can’t imagine what all you could do with a whole tree…. maybe start a handle factory?????

    One thing I did notice, you’re not making spills outta osage… I bet that would stink up your pipe…. sorry, couldn’t help myself.


  • Take care, Skip, to avoid splinters with osage and if you get one be sure to stop everything and get the splinter out. Some folk have reacted very badly to osage splinters. I will probably only use pine, ash and cedar for lighting the pipe. I will probably give spills as gifts to folks with fireplaces.

    I have planted quite a few osage trees. None are anywhere near large enough to harvest. I might get a bow out of one, but that would be it. Not the quickest growing tree. Not the slowest either. My first thought about having a whole tree, would be an entire matching set of tools. Indestructible, solid, and pretty.


  • Skip J.

    Thanks Bob; I would never have thought of that… it’ll be my first time working with osage. Actually I’m getting an education on splitting working with cedar and mesquite; so I should be able to keep an eye out for splinters as they occur.

    Ummmm, the idea of planting osage sounds kinda odd; but actually they’re somewhat rare out in the real world. Most have been cutdown as non-productive trees.

    Now if folks would actually pay for indestructible, solid and pretty tools; you could find a farmer about to clear some trees out of a fencerow and haul the logs to the mill. You’d have a lifetime supply and no one could take it away from you…. you could pass the leftovers down in your will as a valuable asset.

    It’s too bad about the economics of it, it could solve a whole lotta deforestation problems for us.

    I know! We could arrange a swap for planting trees for global warming… of course, then the polluters would keep right on truckin…


  • I decided to plant some the old fashioned way. I filled a barrel with fallen hedge apples, and let the rain fill it and for the mix to rot. It really got quite gross, maggots and everything. Then I dug a few ditches, and poured the hideous mix into the ditch. The fire ants found and ate all the seeds. The next year, I started them in pots and transplanted them into the ditch. I had great success. I used the ditch for watering, but with grass and weeds, I end up running a drip line to save water.

    I wanted the old time hedge, horse high, bull tough and hog tight. I really should go back and cane break them this spring to make the hedge impassable, but I kind of like the shape of the trees and I don’t mind the wildlife being able to pass through it. I think anything as big as coyote might just decide to give it a pass. the thicket is thorny. The day I decide to harvest a limb or two is going to be a rough day. There are more thorns than leaves on some of the trees. After three years, these trees no longer need any water or care.


  • Skip J.

    Well Bob; I was referring to a fencerow being a source of some osage orange above; looks like you just went whole-hog and made the fence itself outta osage. It may be that those mature trees in the future (may be) the most valuable asset you leave your children then….

    I’m kind of afraid to start making handles now, there’s just no tellin’ where it will end. I can already see that I may need to make an extra heavy-duty set of tools just to work on the osage… I am going latheless after all….


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