Help with the newer Stanley #12-978 bullnose Rabbet Plane

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I’m thinking of adding this to my small plane collection. I’ve never used a rabbit or bullnose plane before and and I’d like to try one. It seems easier than setting up a dado on a table saw or router or router table and a lot safer.


It’s a lot cheaper than the #78’s I see on eBay with all the parts included.

I looked at the reviews and they’re mixed with some giving it 5 stars and as many giving it one stars. I can always return it if I get a bad one. 

Any thoughts on it and does anyone own one. 

I was wondering why the word bull nose was included in its discretion. When I think of a bullnose I think of a rounded edge like the corners of drywall that are rounded. 

Any help or comments or recommendations will be appreciated. 

15 Replies

Square and flat will be the issue. If it is casted poorly and it isn't pretty much dead on, then it's junk. So when you get it try to make a cutting for an edge like the inside ledge of a picture frame. If you can easily work it to a CONSISTANT width, and depth, it's a keeper. Otherwise a router with a guide, or in a router table and a fence gets that done with minimal set up.

A lot will depend if you want to do it with hand tools, or burn electrons. For the jobs it does I don't find set up that difficult, or exhaustive that I do it by hand, rather I will set up a machine to get it done. It's only advantage is on a job you need to bring the tool to the work, like on a boat, cause lifting a boat onto a router table is a PIA. :-)
Thanks George. I’ll try your suggestion.  I have a router table I keep in my living room and every time I use it I have to wheel it through our kitchen and out onto the patio. 

My shop is only a shed that’s 10’ x 12’ and I have my bench, drill press, a second hand band saw a delta 6” jointer I got from Craig’s list and some storage cabinets underneath the bench tools ect. Since I’m new to woodworking I’m sure I’ll buy things I’ll regret. 

If I have a small project I think this tool might work. If it does work. 
You could find one at a Flea Market, it may need a bit of work but a reasonable price for the most part.

Main Street to the Mountains

You can find old Stanley 78s fairly cheap. I don't use my 78 very often. I use my shoulder plane more.  
Thanks Eric. Flea markets are hard to find around here. 


Thanks Corelz. I recently bought a new Stanley shoulder plane. Its a sweet heart #92 made in Mexico. It can also turn into a chisel plane by unscrewing the front part. It works great. 

 I’ve been looking on line for a decent #78. The ones in good shape are any where from $125.00To $199.00. Most are missing parts. 
If your on Facebook the can I have it tool group has some better pricing. I have one the newer #92s. Not sure where it was made. After a little tuning its a good plane
Ok I’ll check it out. What’s your title on face book?

I sent an email to Stanley tools today and asked them if they worked out the flaws I read about in the reviews. 
There's a Miller's Falls #85 on eBay now with all the parts at $15.
I used a Craftsman 78 (made by Stanley) just a few days ago to make a replacement drawer slide out of a piece of scrap teak.  So much more enjoyable than setting up a router table and making a lot of noise and dust.  It helps to scribe a line with a marking gauge to get a clean cut on the first few passes. 



If you do find a used one, make sure that it has the rod and fence as well as the depth stop (not shown above because if is on the opposite side).  Not very useful without the fence and rod but you can work without the depth stop.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

I forgot to add...The bull nose function refers to the fact that you can move the iron to the front position allowing you to cut closer to where something would otherwise block you from cutting.  If you google bullnose plane you will see planes that can plane almost up against an inside edge.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

Thanks Lazy Man. Those are great shavings. And I’ll make sure it includes the rod, fence and the spur. 

Seeing your photos makes me want to get on even more.  😊 I saw some nice Miller Falls on eBay. 
I've had a #78 for years and it certainly did the job it was designed to do, and did it well enough for me.  Recently found a shoulder plane and have been using it.  But not ready to give up the #78.

Carey Mitchell

Carey I also have a newer Stanley #92 shoulder plane. It works very good. If I make any more projects that needs a rebate I’d like to try the #78 or #85. 

Thanks for the input.