Terms of the Trade: What Is a Rabbet?

A rabbet cut in a piece of wood and a shoulder plane.

A rabbet is a rectangular groove cut into the edge of a piece of wood or other material. Rabbets (or rebates as they're known in Britain) are often found in moldings, window jambs, or as joints in woodwork. When viewed, they're open to the edge or end of the wood's surface. Multiple tools can be used to achieve this feature, including routers, a rebate plane or shoulder plane (as pictured above), circular saws, or even a basic hand saw and chisel.