35 Comments

  1. Hi, Brian,

    Like Kenneth, I have a Kanna Dai that I need to fit. My wife gave me a Kanna several years ago, but it has been sitting on a shelf in my workshop unused. I have been reluctant to tackle the fitting for fear of ruining it. I’m anxious to watch you perform this task. I hope to be emboldened to tackle it myself. I’m grateful for your blog. I enjoy it.

    Hank

    Like

    1. Hi Hank,

      Thank you for your comment! Glad that you enjoy the blog and that you will be following along with this series. Fitting the dai seems a bit daunting at first, and originally was for me as well, but it gets easier every time.

      Cheers
      Brian

      Like

  2. Hi Brian,
    Thank you for the excellent blog. I recently purchased my first Kanna from eBay that needs proper setup. I will be following along as I do my own. Also, I have enjoyed reading all your other posts. I appreciate your style workmanship. Thank you.
    Dave

    Like

  3. I would like your insight about sigma power ceramic stones if you know anything about them in comparison to the shapton pro series I’m currently using. In the past I was using Norton stones which served me very well for a number of years. As you know until recently I was a professional woodworker working mostly 7 days a week which meant sharpening my tools several times in a day was the norm. Eventually but after years of usage they wore away and my supplier switched to shapton. Not knowing anything about shapton I took his word that they were longer wearing and cut faster than the Norton which I found none to be the case. I realised by now that these suppliers usual clientele are hobbyist so their tools do not see much use. Now beng a amatuer hobbyist I too fall into this category myself. However a saw maker I met recommended to me the Sigma power ceramic and I watched a video on them in use at toolsfromjapan.com I’m reserved; once bitten twice shy as they say about these stones and any other than the Norton I’m acustomed too. As stones are not cheap testing different ones to get a good insight on what’s good or not isn’t a financially viable option. So I ask you if you know anything about them to give me some level of insight as to their quality and wear. Also I noticed your stones are very thick which I haven’t seen before, where did you get these stones and how would you rate them. Much obliged for your help if you can.

    Like

    1. Hi Salko,

      Good to hear from you!

      I can’t speak specifically to Sigma power, or even Shapton Pro’s beyond the ones I’ve used. I have a Sigma 13,000 and it’s a great stone but not one that I use regularly. I also have a Shapton Pro 320 grit stone, which is very friable and not likely to be a good representation of their line up as a whole since rough stones are usually quite different in character from fine stones. I use the Sigma 13,000 for the odd few tools that I have in Super blue and A2, both of which are highly resistant to wear and so that stone and the stones which lead up to (Chosera) are geared toward cutting it.

      The Naniwa Chosera stones (1k, 3k) along with the Naniwa 8k ‘snow white’ and the sigma 13,000 serve me well, but since I do not have a shop sink, at current, I’ve moved toward stones which do not require constant flattening for my everyday use.

      For the steels that I prefer to use most often, which are plain high carbon steels and simple alloys, Norton India stones are perfect, they remain flat very well and cut fast enough that the work moves along at a good rate. Those stones are especially thick because they are double sided (one side is coarse and the other is fine).

      I understand your hesitation with wanting to experiment, you can fall down the rabbit hole as they say and up end trying one of everything.

      Like

      1. Thanks for your reply Brian, I guess I will give Sigma a go then since all my blades are A2 and takes considerably longer to sharpen than carbon steel would. The shapton pro 220 grit is more hard wearing than the rest. I definitely will give those Sigma’s a go if it fails then I’ll go back to Norton and stick with them till I meet my maker.

        Like

      2. I should have added above; I also work A2 with India stones and it cuts fine, probably not as fast as a synthetic water stone, but fast enough for me, however that is in the rough grit range, once you move to medium-fine stones then stones that I prefer to use are not entirely effective against A2 so often enough I will use the synthetic water stones from that point.

        Like

      3. My experience has mirrored yours. The Norton India stones I have can remain flat just from lightly working them with a 140 Atoma….I check them with a Matsui straight edge on occasion and they’re always flat. I had a good laugh at your comments WRT the Shapton, not long ago I described my 320 with the exact same comment. I was concerned I would wear it out in record time just from flattening it.

        Like

      4. Too true when in use they dish out very quickly and fairly deeply but flattening seems to take a bit longer therefore wearing them out quicker. I’ve only had them for a couple of months and in the first week I thought they wouldn’t last no more than 6 months but now since I’m not using them everyday I believe I can stretch them out to 12 months but I will prepare myself and buy those sigmas as reserves. I certainly hope that the sigmas are better than the nortons as they are cheaper. Time will tell though.

        Like

      5. I think they’re probably do well. So Yamashita has commented positively on them, and if So likes them they’re likely very worthwhile, I’m curious to see how you like them after some time on them.

        I am/was equally worried about wearing out that Shapton quickly.

        Like

  4. Brian:

    Beautiful blade and uchiba. Nakano san makes a great blade, and yours has some beautiful jigane.

    The name I was taught for these planes was Goro ganna. Not sure where the name came from. Hikouki is a much more poetic name! A Plane plane!

    Look forward to seeing the progress.

    When you get around to it, please show us your planing beam and stop. Very important when using this particular plane, as you know.

    Stan

    Like

    1. Stan,

      Good to hear from you! Thank you, I’ve got the plane setup as a normal finish plane for the moment (I plan to use it for that Kezurou-kai, rather than the Togo-kou Yokoyama, since it is white steel) and it has really proven a wonderful blade.

      Thank you for sharing the proper name. I found it being called Hikouki by Des King and Tomohito Iida, but both are referring to the same Inomoto made version, so it’s possible that it’s Inomoto-san’s nickname for the plane……or I could be creating a rumor. 🙂

      Certainly will do, I’ve had to make quite a few adjustments to my ‘planing beam’ aka the far side of my bench, and it’s flat enough for general purpose but won’t do specifically for this. It’s my understanding that the planing beam must be very precise for this work and so my plan is to build a track specifically for the kumiko work which will work in conjunction with my setup but provide better support. Any thoughts on this?

      Cheers
      Brian

      Like

      1. Brian:

        The top surface of the planing beam or workbench needs to very flat and true. It needs to be consistently hard. For instance, Douglas Fir works perfectly for most things, but the summer wood wears away leaving ridges of winter wood which can can leave narrow delicate kumiko unsupported unless the DF grain is very tight. Maple or white oak are good choices. The plane’s skids tend to wear grooves in the planing beam/board after a few thousand passes, so hard is good.

        The stop needs to secure the ends of the kumiko so they don’t ride up. I assume you will thickness plane 2 or 3 kumiko at a time.

        Are you going to make plain rectangular cross section kumiko, or the more refined mentori (chamfered) kumiko? If mentori, do you have a kudegoshi and a suitable chamfer plane?

        Stan

        Like

      2. Stan,

        Thanks for your guidance, much appreciated! I have been considering white oak for both the track and the skids, I’m thinking that I will put the flat sawn face up. I have some lignum vitae that I had been considering for the skids, but unfortunately it’s just short of what I needed.

        I was also thinking to do two or three at a time, so I plan to incorporate a stop that will bite into the front of the kumiko slightly.

        I’ve planed on mentori kumiko, as I hope to impress my wife with these shoji so that a few more might appear around the house without much resistance. 🙂 I have a chamfer plane, but I’m without a kudegoshi. Also, I was hoping to ask your advice on a Ha-ganna.

        Cheers
        Brian

        Like

      3. Brian:

        Did a little more websurfing, and found some other references to hikouki kanna. Idunno. The old boys I learned from called it a goro ganna.

        I made two of them for Mr. Honda to inspect back when he was giving me homework assignments. I screwed up my first effort. I still have the second attempt (Yokosaka blade), and it is a real hummer. Here is what he taught me.

        The first point is to not cut the mortise for the pressure bar full width of the sole, but to leave the side walls uninterrupted from top to bottom. You want those continuous fibers at the sides to keep the plane from warping and flexing. The pressure bar will stay in place just fine secured by a recessed screw at each end.

        The second point is to resist the temptation to use wedges and lock screws and other varieties of adjustable skids. The adjustable kind make perfect sense, but since they wear out rather quickly, it is better to just cut two sticks and screw them to the sole. KISS. In any case, after being told this I never even considered making one with adjustable skids.

        Honda san was big on extreme accuracy with simple tools. The results, which decorate several major museums in Japan, speak for themselves.

        Stan

        Like

      4. Stan,

        Thank you for your insights. I had planned the adjustable skis, but I will do this the way that you were taught instead. One thing I’m still unclear on, and if you dont mind me asking, what did you use for springs? I’ve been considering flat metal springs, but if you are attaching the pressure bar with inset screws then perhaps you are using coil springs?

        Cheers
        Brian

        Like

      5. Not sure what you mean by Ha-ganna, unless you are planing on incorporating kumikozaiku in the shoji. I don’t recommend it for your first adventure.

        Here are some pages with images of kudegoshi and the jigs required to use one. I have one by Yukichika back in storage in the States. Not sure where one could buy one for less than $500 nowadays.

        https://www.ehills.co.jp/rp/dfw/EHILLS/event/information/150604_machiya/index.php
        http://plaza.rakuten.co.jp/minoruotuki/diary/200903250000/
        http://blogmaruhann.maruhann.shop-pro.jp/?cid=1

        The same thing can be accomplished with jigs and a sharp chisel, but equal precision and speed would be difficult. Of course, commercially it is done with routers in production shops.

        Stan

        Like

      6. I had been contemplating a more heavily patterned waist panel, but I’ve come across a few images that show a similar visual effect and that do not deviate from using rectangles, so I’m leaning toward those. Probably best to keep it somewhat simple for the first endeavor.

        Thanks for sending over those links. That looks like an ingenious type of device, I see it helps make quick(er) work of certain patterns.

        Like

      7. Brian:

        I used a metal plate spring. It is an arched spring used to keep the sliding lower panel in yukimi shoji in place. It applies pressure at the center of the pressure bar, and therefore, I was taught, is better than coil springs.

        Every tategushi had boxes of these springs on hand. I don’t suppose there are many yukimi shoji made anymore. I can see if my local hardware store has any collecting dust on a shelf if you want. They just might.

        But I see no reason why two coil springs around the screws would not work just as well. They are easier to find nowadays (not so when Honda san was making goro ganna) and last longer than plate springs.

        Stan

        Like

      8. Stan,

        Thank you again for sharing your experience! I appreciate your offer but I will give the coil springs since they’re easy to find locally, and report back.

        Cheers
        Brian

        Like

  5. Hi Brian,

    Excellent write-up and photos. I have not tried “thumping” a warped blade yet. I’m sure the process is exciting. Is the chip breaker you have the type with bent ears? I am not exactly clear where you are hammering. Assuming the chip breaker is not grossly out of flat, I generally will carefully stone the high ear to adjust them. Did you also grind the blade to match the width of the chip breaker? I try to make the blade slightly narrower than the chip breaker so I can more easily see the chip breaker when setting it close to the blade edge. Of course grinding the blade is probably not necessary for use in your hikouki kanna.

    Like

    1. Hi David,

      Good to hear from you! The process was very exciting the first time, but more scientific this time around. I had to do the same with pretty much all of the blades, except the smallest one. The smaller the get the mort difficult it is to effect change. The chip breaker on this one is a hand hammered type, so deforming the ears slightly settled the blade to remove any rocking, it was a similar effect to filing but I figured it would blend in with the original hammer marks more so than filing would.

      Exactly right, I left it as wide as it arrived since I would like to be able to use the full width….or nearest to the full width as possible. Ideally a little bit of the ears will tuck under the runners.

      Like

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thank you! Absolutely, in the next round I will show the bottom of the plane. I leave the mouth extremely tight, usually increasing the angle of the wear rather than opening the mouth if shavings won’t feed through. In the case of Japanese planes, since they are used on the pull stroke an open mouth will cause snipe on the end of the board. I had this trouble with my Kunio plane and then had to fix it with a dovetailed bit.

      Like

  6. Hey Brian
    Where did you learn this process, particularly the tapping out section? I have been using Kanna for many years, but I have never felt confidant enough to buy a good plane because I don’t know the process of fitting the blade to the Dai, nor the method of preparing the blade – or tapping out. I would really like to find a good class on the subject somewhere.

    Thanks Brian

    As always, your work, your blog, and your SMC posts are fantastic. I really watch for your name to come up on that board.

    Like

    1. Hey Joe,

      Good to hear from you! I learned through reading many blog posts, books and asking advice from Chris Hall, Stan Covington, David Weaver, So Yamashita, and Yann Giguère. Desmond King’s book number 1 on Shoji is wonderful and has a very comprehensive walk-through, Toshio Odate’s book is also very good. Chris runs a class annually or semi-annually in MA, so if you travel there for any reason his class is likely quite enlightening.

      I’ve never taken a class in woodworking (past high school) but for the first time I will be taking one at Mokuchi in Brooklyn, NYC in a few weeks run by Jim Blauvelt and Yann Giguère. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hang out with a bunch of Japanese tool nuts for two days. Jim has forged his own blades and cut his own dai, so I’m looking forward to see what he has to show.

      Yann runs classes regularly, so if you travel into NYC area I think he would be worth looking up.

      When it comes to tapping out, I have a metal working background so it didn’t make me overly nervous compared to other metal working tasks but I proceeded at first with extreme caution. The key is to understand how to backup the material with the anvil and to strike accurately. Hitting the hard steel will end in disastrous results and improper backing can do the same, so it may be worthwhile to practice first on some metal cut offs to hone your accuracy and understand the process.

      You may also want to look up Kezurou-Kai USA, as they are on your side of the US and might have classes more local to you.

      Thank you for your comments!

      Cheers
      Brian

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s