the glossary logo

Glossary Intro and Glossary Annexes
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Rabbet, Rabbeted, Rabbeting, Rebate (the British form)

A cut or groove on the edge or surface of a board, or stone, etc., which is designed to receive a second or third board or stone, etc., shaped to fit into the cut or groove. To plane, to plane down, to cut a rabbet in; to furnish with a rabbet. To unite the edges of, as boards, etc., in rabbet joints, the best example being grooves in a door's frame -- such as a stile or rail that are intended to receive another member, e.g. panel, so as to mask or cover the joint, or to hold the parts in place; thus, the groove cut for a panel, for a pane of glass, or for a door, is a rabbet, or rebate.

rabbet (rab'it) n. a 1382 rabet, in the Wycliffe Bible; borrowed from Old French rabat, rabbat a recess in a wall. If we take the term literally, it menas "beating down", from rabattre beat down; see REBATE. —v. 1440, implied in rabetynge the joining together of boards, later, cut a rabbet in (1572); from the noun. The term "rabbet", itself -- used as both noun and verb, is also in the 1440 Promptorium Parvulorum, the first English-Latin dictionary. (See page 879 of  The Barnhart Dictionary of  Etymology, 1988).

As can be seen from the numerous references to "rebate" in her text, the furniture historian, Penelope Eames, refers to "rabbeting" as a process known and practiced during the medieval period in Europe. Below is a descriptive example of some surviving evidece of the practice of using rabbets in medieval European church construction (Note: According to the British author/editor of woodworking books and magazines, Vic Taylor, "Although widely used in Britain, [rebate] is a corruption of the correct word "rabbet" See Taylor's Woodworker's Dictionary Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, 1987, 1990, page 158.):

Stone Recess with Wooden Doors: The remains of numerous lockers have survived as holes in walls, sometimes grooved for a shelf, and sometimes with rebates which show that the doors once lay flush with the wall. ... Each door closes within a stone rebate which permits it to lie flush with the wall surface. ... The doors are set within rebates in the stonework and lie flush; the left-hand and right doors are themselves rebated in sympathy to allow the right door to lie over the left-hand door when closed.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary rabbet/rebate's etymology includes the Anglo-Norman rabate (as adjectives, ex: in peres rabates and rabat ston grooved stone) and Middle French rabat (also in corresponding senses as rebat ) recess, groove, (also) something containing a recess or groove, especially with reference to a part of a building: -- 1277 in Old French as rebat, later also in Old French, c1310 as rabat.

biblical version of rabbets 19th-century_logo.jpg 1382 Bible (Wycliffe) Exodus xxvi. 17

In že sydis of že table be žer made two rabetis [L. incastraturę], with že which že to table be sett fast to že tožer.

Same biblical verse, but in the King James version of the Bible:

17 Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle.

1440 Promptorium Parvulorum page 421

Rabet, in a werke of carpentrye, runctura, incastratura.

a1552 John Leland, The Itinerary of John Leland in or About the Years 1535-1543: Parts 1 to 3. London: G. Bell, 1907, page 53.

By Pulling one or al wold cum downe, briste higthe in rabettes, and serve for Deskes.

1593–4 in H. J. F. Swayne Churchwardens' Accts. Sarum (1896) 299

Yotting in of the hookes and hewinge of the Rabbottes.

1663 B. Gerbier Counsel to Builders 68

Oaken Windowes with a double Rabet.

1675 J. Gedde New Discov. Bee-houses 3

At the top of the Box there is a crease or rebbit all round it, about half an inch in depth on the outside.

1703 Joseph Moxon. Mechanick Exercises: Or, The Doctrine Of Handy-Works; Applied To The Arts Of Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, Bricklayery ; To Which Is Added, Mechanick Dyalling: Shewing How To Draw A True Sun-Dyal On Any Given Plane, However Scituated; Only With The Help Of A Straight Ruler And A Pair Of Compasses, And Without Any Arithmetical Calculation. 3rd ed. London: Printed for D. Midwinter and T. Leigh..., 1703, page 71.

1711 W. Sutherland Ship-builders Assistant 46

Cut the Rabbit of the Keel, Stem and Stern-post the exact Bigness of your Plank.

1742 Bristol Parish (Va.) Vestry Bk. in C. R. Lounsbury Illustr. Gloss. Early Southern Archit. & Landscape (1994) 302

A kitchen ‘door [is to be] made to fall in a Rabit’.

1793 J. Smeaton Narr. Edystone Lighthouse (ed. 2) §51

The windows, shutters and doors..falling into a rabbet, when shut, their outside formed a part of the general surface.

1830 P. Hedderwick Treat. Marine Archit. 257

The rabbet is cut out in form of a V, having its breadth equal to the thickness of the garboard-plank.

1870 H. Meade Ride New Zealand 324

The parts are joined by scarfing with a bevelled rabbet at the juncture.

1892 Photogr. Ann. II. 333

Then in pushing the sheath obliquely forward it touches the rabbet, and can then be descended into its proper position ready for exposure.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The remains of numerous lockers have survived as holes in walls, sometimes grooved for a shelf, and sometimes with rebates which show that the doors once lay flush with the wall... . Each door closes within a stone rebate which permits it to lie flush with the wall surface.

Source: Penelope Eames, Furniture in England, France and the Netherlands from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century London: The Furniture History Society, 1977, pages 12-13

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Herbert Cescinsky on the developent of the rabbet

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Joseph Moxon on the Use of the Rabbet Plane in 17th-Century Britain.jpg
row 1, cell 2

Joseph Moxon. Mechanick Exercises: Or, The Doctrine Of Handy-Works; Applied To The Arts Of Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, Bricklayery ; To Which Is Added, Mechanick Dyalling: Shewing How To Draw A True Sun-Dyal On Any Given Plane, However Scituated; Only With The Help Of A Straight Ruler And A Pair Of Compasses, And Without Any Arithmetical Calculation. 3rd ed. London: Printed for D. Midwinter and T. Leigh..., 1703, page 71.

row 2, cell 2

1910 The rabbeting- or rebating-plane ... is designed for use in cutting out a rectangular recess, such as the rabbet on the back of the picture-frames. In line with the right hand corner of the cutter is a removable spur to score the wood so that the shaving which follows ... may be cut out clean and not torn out. With the addition of a guiding fence it is called a filletster. This may be used on either the right or left side.

Source: William Noyes, Handwork in Wood Peoria, IL: The Manual Arts Press, 1910

1910 Rebate: A rectangular channel on the edge of a piece of wood or framing worked with a rebate plane page 367

Source: Percy A Wells and John Hooper, Modern Cabinet Work Furniture and Fitments: An Account of the Theory and Practice in the Production of all Kinds of Cabinetwork and Furniture, With Chapters on the Growth and Progress of Design and Construction. Illustrated by Over 1000 Practical Workshop Drawings, Photographs, and Original Designs

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

A recess worked on the edge of a piece of wood -- for an illustration of a paneled door the uses a rabbeted groove, click on the this link -- over part of its thickness to form a bed for another part. Although widely used in Britain, it is a corruption of the correct word 'rabbet' (q.v.).

Term used in architecture, furniture and other decorative arts for a groove set into a structure -- that is, using a rabbeted process -- such as a "stiles and rails" framework.

today's frame and panel_doors

In cabinet and furniture construction, an operation designed to properly set paneling into a frame of stiles and rails so that, with movement that comes from atmospheric changes, these panels do not warp or split.

For woodworking, historically, rabbets come into use in the 15th-century.

In the 16th- and 17th-centuries panels are carved or inlaid [see CHAIRS, Figs. 3 and 4, and CHESTS, Fig. 14], where -- and if set below the surface of the framework's facing surface -- are termed "sunk panels".

About 1650, panels were moulded on the face to represent geometrical patterns or were overlaid with false panels and stiles with broad splays or bevels and with small bolection mouldings mitred around in various patterns (see CHESTS, Fig. 21, and CHESTS OF DRAWERS, Figs. 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9).

The Linenfold pattern, said to be a stylized imitatiion of curtaining -- see glossary entry -- comes from Flanders in the 15th century, but doesn't appear across the Channel in Britain until late in the century.

[work finding an example] Full panelling persisted in small rectangular and richly decorated panels through the reign of Henry VIII, when it was accompanied by Renaissance motifs such as profile heads set in wreaths. In the time of Elizabeth I the panels were plainer or ornamented with chip carving. In the earlier panelling the horizontal rails 'ran through' the uprights. The next step was to return the mouldings, i.e. to make them turn the corner round each panel, but the frame was still cut in the old way with the returned corner carved on the rail. The diagonal mitred joint came at the end of the 16th c.

classic American coutnry frame-and-raised-panels

Fielded, or raised panels -- with the molding projecting outward, beyond the face of the framing, appears in the 17th-century. (For the corner cabinet shown on the right, the raised panels feature an intricate split, with flowing cyma-like curves. Source henry lionel williams, early american country furniture) These fielded or raised panels are possible by the import of non-native woods: Norway oak, more malleable than native British oak, the panel's size increased; pine, at first, unpainted, because of its natural pumpkin-color; and figured hardwoods that can be set into rabbets in veneer-like sheets.

In the early 18th c. oak was replaced largely by deal and thereafter the painted panel predominated. The BAROQUE panel and the ROCOCO panel with painting or ARABESQUES belong to the history of interior decoration when the arts of painting, carving and architecture were united in the formation of one unified artistic whole.

National styles developed in France, Italy and Germany with mutual influences and interaction.

Search Results from Hathitrust for Goss's Bench Work in Wood : 4 pages found for "frame and panel"

unnumbered page - 1 matching term



…. 14. FRAME AND PANEL. 177. Panel Door Described. 178. Making the Joint between Stile and Rail. 179. Cutting Chamfers. 180. Keying the Joint. 181. Finishing the Panel. Fastening Panel to Frame. 182. Inserting Screws. 183. Using the Brad-Awl . . . 117-121 EXERCISE No. 15. FRAME AND PANE…



p.117 - 1 matching term



….

14. FRAME AND PANEL (246-248). 177. Fig. 211 shows a small panel door. The frame is made up of stiles and rails, which are fastened together by mortise-and- tenon joints ; the spaces within the frame are filled by panels. The lower panel is simply a thin board screwed to the back of th…



p.152 - 1 matching term



… both frame and panel are frequently embellished, sometimes so richly that we lose sight of the mechanical necessity of the panel, and come to regard it as a means of decoration. 247. The Frame taken by itself is, in general, made up of vertical and horizontal pieces united by mortise-an…

p.154 - 1 matching term



…on of frame and panel. In com- mon with all panels fastened in this way, it is best adapted to work that is to be seen from one side only, as a closet door, or the permanent lining of a room. B shows a plain panel fastened to the back of a frame which is ornamented by a molding. C di…

Rabbets and Dadoes Often Confused

A rabbet has one edge, a dado has two edges.