|Japan-tool "Rangiku" by Chiyozuru Sadahide|
This might help you out if you are the adventurous type and it really isn't hard. Just take it slow and you might be surprised how well your old junker performs. To make the most of this process, first get an education. There are some great tutorials out there already, I am only adding a few additional wrinkles that I find helpful.
The first step is sharpening. Even if your kanna comes super sharp (good luck), it won't be sharp forever.These forum posts are by So, who owns Japan-tool. Rock star.
Plane blades part 1
Next is Mafe, on setting up a kanna. He lives in Denmark. He's my hero.
Kanna setup and sharpening
More, by Wilbur Pan. Another cool guy I'd love to hang out with. Too bad he's on the other coast.
Most/all of the planes that you buy will need work. Some are better off in the trash. I think those are the most fun. Just buy something that has a blade worth keeping. This is a catch-22. An old, used up blade was good enough to use until it was nearly gone, but when you are starting out you want a bigger target to hit when you're adjusting the set of the blade. On the plus side, a shorter blade is easier to sharpen because the bevel is wider and blade is less top heavy. I wouldn't worry about it, to be honest. I have yet to get one that won't work at all. What I mean is that NONE of the planes that I buy will work without some attention, but with some effort......
I set up all of my planes to be high performing smoothing planes, at least to the extent of my abilities. Bear with me, if this seems too hardcore. For starters, we will focus on the basics of fitting the blades to see how well this guy can cut. I will address tightening up the throat and inlaying wear bars in a future post.
Here is what I do.
|Buy a plane|
Preferably one that isn't so bad that it makes you sick to your stomach to look at it. Or one that was run over by a truck. Not too rusty. Light surface rust is OK. This plane was used by someone who knew what they were doing. Most carpenters use a steel hammer to adjust the plane blade, which deforms the blade all to hell (I use a small wooden mallet because I haven't made a bronze one yet) and are too busy to fiddle around, tapping out the blade back (ura-oshi). This one is nice. The plane as a whole was perfectly adjusted, many years ago. By the time I got it, it had warped significantly and the plane body (dai) had shrunk tight around the blade.
I pared about 1mm, laterally, from each side of the slot that the blade sits in (no pics, sorry). That gave me 2mm width of wiggle room, which is plenty. Don't trim the top surface of the slot, pretty much my only "don't". You are only working on the broad lower bed that the blade rests on.
This is the plane that we are working on, a big pencil, a couple of chisels (one is a skinny 3mm), squares, plane adjusting mallet, a file, and a couple of straight sticks (winding sticks). You could do all of this with just the file and the mallet.
|Get your tools|
Remove the blades and the chip breaker. The retaining pin should slide out to the left. You will probably need to tap it out with something like a nail set (or a nail). Because this will be a finishing plane, I want the blade to be a really snug fit. Not sledgehammer tight, but pretty snug. You can use my mallet in the above photo to judge how hard I can tap the plane. We are talking about smart raps, not hauling off and waling on the thing. This plane was well set up, way back when, but I know that after the dai is adjusted for warp and shrinkage (Shrinkage!), it's gonna be too loose so I go ahead and do a few practice fits, just to get a feel for the wood and the blade shape. This also cleans the blade bed down to clean, fresh wood and gives me the proper contour for......
Wood veneer business cards.
Spread the glue, then tap the blade into position (not all of the way, but firm) and leave it for a day or so, then remove the blade and wait a few more days if you can. Trim the excess and you end up with...
Time to get fit.
|Scribble on the face with a pencil|
|Make it all go away|
Remove the blade and pare down the high spots that were marked. Remember the file? I sharpen the end of it to a square, flat surface so that it acts as a scraper. It is easier to use than a chisel, because it doesn't tend to dig in. Also, don't forget to trim the areas at the outermost edges of the slots. Often, this is where you blade will hang up, so get the bed trimmed right to the very edge.
|This is using a light cooking oil. Kinda hard to see|
Repeat......I did this about 6-7 times. I like to pretend that I'll get a perfect fit, but I never do.
|Oil and graphite lead pencil together is my favorite|
|1mm to go|
And now for something completely different......
It's time to flatten the sole of the dai. Leave the blade about 1mm shy of the surface so the dai is in tension, but we don't screw up the blade itself. I use 220 wet/dry on a flat surface (here I'm using a granite floor tile, not perfect, but good enough).
|More scribbles to erase|
|Not too twisted|
|Yeah, it looks the same to me, too|