Thursday, 28 March 2013
Japanese Plane Tune Up.
I recently bought a plane from Alex http://www.thejapanblade.com/ The blade and chip breaker dates from the 1950 but had not been used, this was part of a large stock that Alex bought from a shop that closed down in rural Japan.
The blade is marked Tadatsuna which was done by hand rather than stamped. The hammer hits in the background are a reminder of the blade forming process.
I am no expert on the tuning process so I would appreciate any help and advice that may improve my method.
I rubbed the back of the blade with a soft pencil and pushed it down into the Dai (plane block). The witness marks are then removed and the process repeated until the blade fits. A very good article in Australian Wood Review magazine recently described the making of a Dai which was very informative. The blade fitting process however took 5 hours, which is enough to put anyone off! Mine was done in about 30 minutes which involved taking the blade in and out about 25 times.
Instead of using a normal chisel, I used a blunt edged chisel as a scraper, which was much easier and cleaner. If you haven't seen this technique then have a look at Bill Carters website http://www.billcarterwoodworkingplanemaker.co.uk/12.html and go down to 'using ground off chisels'
The next stage is to relieve the base so that there are are just two places touching the work, just in front of the blade and at the front. I'm using a scraping plane but the blunt edge chisel works just as well.
The blade came razor sharp and the chip breaker required some adjusting with a hammer and then it was time to give it try. The mouth was not as tight as would have liked and I will deal with this later, however it worked very well on some beech.