Friday, March 14, 2014

Another late Christmas- Tool haul 3/12/2014

While I process my kanna repair debacle (kanna-er-part-3-japanese-hand-plane.html ), I think to myself, "Ahhh, Christmas....A time of hope and cheer.".

Thanks Junji!!

It's official, I am truly addicted to laminated tool blades. I already have your average western style hatchet, suitable for splitting kindling, limning trees, that short of thing. What I WANT is a good blade for more refined work. And a laminated blade that will take a sharp edge, of course.

If you look through a listing of old ax and hatchet styles (not just Japanese. European style are varied and useful, often laminated, too) you might be amazed at the sheer number and variety. You can perform nearly any task with the CORRECT blade style. You'll notice that I said "Old" listing........ new offerings are mostly straight vanilla.

A carpenters broad-ax, a Daiku-masakari.   This is a relatively new (I think) hatchet, and is a very welcome addition. You can still buy these, clean and shiny new, but what fun is that?

Funny, it looks bigger in the photo than in real life.

Rust builds character, my new motto. I am a bit bummed, though. I was hoping that it would be a single bevel, suitable for hewing. This is a general purpose, double bevel.....very versatile. It will be fun to shine this up and give it a more interesting, custom look.

Not too abused, just dirty.

I HOPE that the blade is laminated. I very briefly took the edge to a sharpening stone, to see what was hidden underneath.... hard to tell, still. My fingers are crossed. It IS hard though. I won't be able to sharpen this blade using a file, like I do my western style hatchet.

Still rusty.

A different style of hatchet/hand ax, a nata. A heavy, single bevel, nicely forged. This particular tool has a lot of shape to it, very 3-dimensional. 

A nicely stamped mei, familiar, but I can't place it. Again, dirty, but not overly abused. 

The only downside......the handle feels wonderfully smooth, silky, but is too small for the reinforcing cap/ferrule.

The upside is that being too small removes the option of reworking the original. Sometimes a LACK of options is a good thing. I will make a new handle, something with some shape to it.

I am REALLY looking forward to sharpening this guy!

A great edge. It looks to be nice steel, well laminated. I wonder if the natural stones will bring out any surprise details in the metal?

Another beater kanna, but a quality plane that still has a lot of use left in it. 

Both blades have matching signatures/titles. Back blade is laminated.

The head of the main blade is badly mushroomed, especially impressive, given that this is a harder, modern iron jigane, not the old, soft wrought iron. The iron also feels like it is laminated of multiple layers, like wrought iron....... or Damascus! Probably not, but.....

It seems like I've been getting a lot of (non)ren-tetsu blades recently. This plane is a good example of my anticipation not matching the actual GETTING of the tool. It is interesting. It is exactly as pictured, just what I expected to receive, but to hold the tool in my hand....... the blade feels "harsh" to me. This will make a very "stiff" kanna, possibly VERY good. We will see.....

A 3mm groove plane (Kikai-jakuri-ganna), in fair condition. I absolutely LOVE fixing these up. Well, actually the fixing isn't all THAT fun. I remove the (many) steel screws, then replace them with brass or bronze, to facilitate future disassembly for adjustment.

When polished up and sharpened, these are some of my favorite planes.  The two knives sever the wood fibers, then the main blade removed the waste. The adjustable fence establishes the grooves distance from the edge of the board. Best of all, it makes that *shweeuip* sound of a good, clean cut. NOT the scream of the router!

Finally, three small compass planes. 

This one has a big chip at the cutting edge, ura-dashi gone wrong. 

I may reshape this into a different style, turn it into something new.

Something like this inward curving compass plane (a funazoko kanna) maybe?

This little plane is one of my special pleasures. For some reason, this is my favorite of this bunch. 

I liked it so much, I had to polish it up right away. Phosphoric bleach for the wood, electrolysis rust removal for the blade (no black dye this time), and I rolled the upper edge of the blade, using 1000 tiny hammer blows (maybe less, but 1000 sound good). #0000 steel wool, then French polish.

33mm blade and only about 3 inches long, it fits right in the palm of your hand.


It even has a small dovetailed insert, to keep the throat tight and allow nice, thin shavings.

All are nice ren-tetsu blades from the same maker. Junji had about 12 or so in the same lot, each slightly different and obviously owned by a retired professional  cabinetmaker or chair maker. I wanted them all, but only bought these 3.

Some tools, you don't realize that you need them until you have one. Better than the converse, no?


  1. I only found your blog today via a link from Wilbur.

    I bought a kikai from Yusui and have been meaning to take it apart and clean it up. Good to know you've had success buying from him.

    You might want to join the piedmont japanese tool group on facebook. I'm a member along with Wilbur and a lot of other knowledgeable people.

    1. Hi Patrick, and thanks for your suggestion.....sort of a Japanese tool addict support group, haha. When interests become too fringe, it is nice to be reminded that there is help! Tempting, very tempting........ I fear for my dwindling productivity.

      Seriously though, the reason that I started writing about these tools was due to a lack of English language resources. More is always better right? Well, probably not, but hopefully I'm not leading anyone too far astray. Wilbur's blog was a jumping off point for me. I only wish that I was 1/10th the writer that he is.


Like all of us, I am figuring this out as I go, so when you see something that is incorrect or flat out wrong (and you will!), let me know. This is a learning process. Real people and names, please. Constructive comments and questions are very welcome, but hate speak/politics are not! Life (get one!) is too short.

Thanks, Jason