Thursday 28 March 2013

Japanese Plane Tune Up.

I recently bought a plane from Alex 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 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.


  1. Interesting that you got the kanna from thejapanblade as I've never seen him list any for sale.

    I'm sure you have done this already but it's good to leave it for a month to acclimatise before doing too much tweaking.

    You might want to look at the benchcrafted skraper as an alternative to a chisel

  2. He sells under the Japan Blade on E Bay from time to time, it's well worth saving. I was a bit quick on the tuning although the mouth needs tightening so I'll wait awhile. The skraper sound perfect and works in a very similar way.
    All the best,

  3. Hi David,

    I know I'm a little late to the party, but if you haven't checked it out, there's a great tutorial on YouTube

    Blade tune up:

    Kanna tune up:

    Love your videos!


    1. Thank you Luk, I'll have a look. All the best, David.

  4. Hi David
    What you now need is some natural Toishi from Alex to go with your new Kanna.
    They are amazing and will keep a nice looking hazy edge. Alex has amazing knowledge of Toishi and are so worth saving for.
    Try and come along to one of our Japanese tool meeting its very laid back and good fun

    1. Hi Andy, I have a couple of natural stones which work very well but I'm no expert. I would very much like to come to a meeting but things are busy with tool sales at the moment. I'll look for a doing, rather than a social meeting so I can get the most out of it. All the best, David.