We like to dream about all those shapely hollows & rounds and forget that they just do the final few passes and make all the hard work of the rabbet look pretty. I guess it is like how Stevie Ray Vaughan plays such awesome riffs you forget about Double Trouble. They are ONLY THE REST OF THE BAND! Its too easy to forget that without those really fat bass lines and super tight drum lines that Stevie would sound pretty lonely.
But seriously, the rabbet plane is not just an old version of a metal shoulder plane. Though it looks like its primitive cousin its function is for a totally different purpose all together. Shoulder planes are designed to remove relatively small amounts of end grain material. That is why it has a low angle of attack, around 38˚.
On the other hand rabbet planes are bedded like a typical bench plane with the intent of removing large amounts of face grain material and quickly. No playing around here. Try and do that with a heavily set shoulder plane and it will just jam full of shavings in a hurry and feel pretty weak while doing it.
So here to remind you of the power of the rabbet plane I present two more sad low-budget videos. I know, what a let down. You might find the second video more useful though. It demonstrates how to start and guide a rabbet plane by hand (sans fence).
As always Enjoy!