Wooden Sash Fillister Planes

wooden fillister plane
Our Rating


Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Various

Tool Type: Wooden Planes

Plane Type: Sash Fillister Rebate / Rabbet


The old British wooden sash fillister plane is an old plane designed for rebate / rabbet work. This type of plane is also called a sash filletster plane (spelt slightly differently).

The function and design of the sash fillister plane is a cross between the wooden moving fillister plane and the wooden plough plane.

The wooden sash fillister plane is equipped with a fence, depth stop, nicker, skewed cutter and wedge.

The plane has a hardwood main body, a hardwood moving fence and usually a variety of brass decorative and functional parts.

The body and fence are nearly always made from beech as this was the hardwood of choice at the time due to price and availability.

Sometimes these planes are seen in other types of wood with the best examples being made from boxwood, rosewood and I believe there are some ebony fillister planes.

old wooden fillister plane

The sash filliter planes usually have a boxwood section which runs the length of the plane on part of or the whole of the sole.

The nose shows the profile of the boxwood strip which can differ from plane-to-plane with some profiles being very elaborate.

The purpose of the boxwood strip / sole is to help extend the life of the plane. Boxwood is a much more hard wearing wood than beech as such it can sustain more rigourous activity.

The adjustable fence consists of the fence attached to the end of two wooden arms. The wooden arms marry with the body of the plane via two holes running through the side of the body.

The fence adjusts by the arms (and therefore the fence) sliding as one unit. When the arms are adjusted they are usually moved with one arm moving slightly at a time, as a result the fence has been designed to swivel to absorb these adjustments without damaging the plane.

old wooden fillister plane

Once the required position for the fence has been found, the arms are wedged in place where the arms meet the body.

The wooden sash fillister plane also has a depth stop which is usually brass (sometimes steel). The depth stop is used to set the depth of the rebate.

The cutter is set on a skew as this produces the best cut on difficult grain / cross grain. The cutter sits flush with the edge (actually a fraction outside the edge) of one side of the plane so the plane can cut right into the corner of the rebate / rabbet.

The fillister plane is equipped with a nicker which sits just in front of the main cutter, at the side of the plane with the point of the nicker sitting just proud of the sole.

Both the plane cutter and the nicker are secured in place with wooden wedges.

old wooden fillister plane sole underneath

What Is The Difference Between The Sash Fillister Plane And The Moving Fillister Plane?

A sash fillister plane has adjustable arms where as a moving fillister plane has an adjustable fence.

The difference in function between the moving fillister plane and the sash fillister plane is the moving fillister plane cuts the rebate on the near side of the timber's edge, with the sash fillister plane cutting the rebate on the opposite edge.

Old Sash Fillister Plane Manufacturers

There are various makers of old sash fillister planes, below is a list of some of the manufacturers:

Marples (William)
Preston (Edward)

Buying An Old Wooden Sash Fillister Plane

old wooden plane - sash fillister rebate

(Things To Look Out For)

When buying an old wooden sash fillister plane there are a lot of things which can be wrong with it, it is worth being aware of the following:

Woodworm: if the plane has live woodworm it would be very prudent to treat the plane in order to protect any other wooden items in the vicinity of the wooden plane.

Jammed Arm(s): if the arm(s) is jammed then the plane is non-functional. It can be very difficult, if not impossible to free-up jammed arms. This often happens in secondhand sash fillister planes where the plane has been neglected for many years.

Jammed Wedge(s): if the wedge(s) can't be removed then the plane is non-functional; usually they can but sometimes they are so jammed it is not possible without brute force to the point they break; mainly with secondhand plough planes which have been neglected for a number of years.

old wooden plane - sash fillister rebate

Replaced Wedge(s): a good replacement wedge should be fine, a poor replacement wedge may result in the blade not being able to be secured properly and may devalue the plane if the plane has any real value.

Cracked Wedge(s): if the wedge has a hairline crack then there will be an increased chance the wedge will break if the wedge ever became jammed.

Pitted Blade: if the cutting area of the blade is heavily pitted this will make sharpening the blade to a good edge more tricky (when the cutting edge reaches the heavy pitting) or if really bad then almost impossible.

Cross Threaded: the screw thread inside the depth adjuster mechanism can be seized up / cross threaded.

Blade And Nicker: check the blade and nicker are present, from experience, one or both of these can sometimes be missing when buying old secondhand sash fillister planes.

See the where to buy sash fillister planes page for a list of shops which sell these planes.

Manufactured Dates

1700's - 1940>

Your Say..

Martin - Hi just been given an old plane, from just looking online I think its a sash fillister plane, that was my Grandads, only just had a quick look at it, can't see any maker's mark on it and unfortunately the blade appears to be missing, if practical I'd like to get a blade remade.


FindMyTool - Marvelous Martin, any makers name will be located on the front nose, just to make it confusing, previous owners of the plane may have also stamped their name on the front nose. Quite often owners would stamp their name in multiple places whereas the manufacturer would only stamp the name on the front nose. Some owners also sanded the front nose to remove all marks, presumably to remove previous owners marks and to create a uniform set of tools.

In terms of getting a blade made, I am not aware of makers of these, it may have to be a custom job or try to find an old replacement wooden fillister plane blade (though be aware there wasn't a uniform blade which fits all).


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