Monday, March 16, 2015

Builder's block

What's that old saying? If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail?
To a certain degree, the type and variety of tools that you have will dictate the projects that you take on. Maybe if I start unpacking some tools, I'll be able to break this terrible case of builder's block that I'm suffering.

My tool box.
It's been so long since I've looked in here, I've forgotten what I brought, tool-wise. For the most part, I had my head on straight when I was planning what to bring with for the great Hawaii move, but there have been some notable fails. What use is a froe handle without its blade? Given a choice between the two, I would've rather had the blade.


Ah well.

Box o' kanna.


Why the tags with the numbers, you ask? When I packaged everything up, I wasn't sure exactly how long this stuff would be sitting around for, or in what sort of conditions. The climate in Hawaii is notoriously harsh on tools, so all of the kanna blades were removed from their dai's, wiped with paste wax then wrapped in paper and vacuum sealed. Suffering from an uncharacteristic amount of foresight, I even thought to number them all. A good thing,too.



Good old #16 & #22...... I've missed you!


#16 is a small single blade compass plane, while #22 is a funazoko-ganna (bottom-of-a-ship plane).

I pulled out the big drawknife.

I even gave it a few licks with my best $1 sharpening stone. The good stones will stay packed up for a few more days.


I've been working on a 3-tine fork, which is becoming more of a necessity as our compost piles grow ever larger.


That explains why I unpacked the funny curved bottom planes rather than a nice smooth plane. I tell you though, I am really looking for any excuse to plane some lumber smooth, so the big kanna will be making an appearance soon.




Funny how these simple little projects take on a life of their own. It starts with just a few tools, and before you know it, I've got half the box unpacked. I guess it's becoming a "fix tool" day.

My nata has been needing a new handle for quite some time now.


The original handle was this short little stub of a thing, and what I really wanted was something a bit longer, with a colt's foot butt end.


So, that's what I made.



I cut the branch from a native Hawaiian ohia tree that blew down during the last wind storm. Carved out the slot for the tang....



....wrapped the blade in a wet cloth, then heated the tang red-hot.



Burned in, a perfect fit.

Soaked it thoroughly, using boiled linseed oil.
Which reminded me....Lots of the other tools are in need of some rust-proofing love.




Soak 'em good. The linseed oil seems to be doing a good job of keeping the rust at bay, forming a thin flexible skin when it dries.




What else needs doing?



Another crap saw, for my friend Sebastian. I found this one at the dump/recycling store. The prices are totally arbitrary, but it was probably around $0.25. I bought a whole pile of stuff that day ( including A TENT!) for $6 total. A very cool place, the dump store.



At least this one cuts on the pull stroke, haha.



The teeth were a bit rusty, but not ruined. They cleaned up nicely.


Don't you hate it when you think that you've done a tolerably good job of something, then when you look at the pictures you need to revise your original assessment?


The teeth feel sharper than they look,haha.


And Sebastian, I promise that I'll make a saw vise soon.


  1. thanks god, one post without that dreadful 80s saw ;)

    Your sharpening is not bad for not having a vice a must say. I would totally be an anal sharpener and scrap the "mirror" side clean, looks like the grinding lines go perpendicular to the direction of cutting, or is it just the picture?

    Good to see I'm taking fewer kanna than you.

    Did you already wrote something on the axe? I kind of remember the handle but nothing more. I want to get one but I lean more towards the ones with skinny edge, if you know what I mean.

    and man, I'm jealous of your skin colour. I have a dead zombie white I cannot get rid off yet, kanker winter.

    1. Yeah....a fine tool it ain't,haha. The frustration of the saw sharpening was that I was trying so hard to get the points absolutely clean, to a perfect zero apex. I thought that I did OK, at least until seeing the pictures, haha. How embarrassing!

      I've got a small masakari style hatchet, but I would love to have a larger full sized axe for log work. One of those ones that look like a European bearded axe, you know? Heck....I'd love any sort of hewing axe! I recently took an afternoon to file down one face of my hatchet, to more closely approximate a sided broad hatchet. Not quite as good as the real thing, but definitely better.

      Will your tan improve in Chile? You don't want people thinking that you are a "city" person, haha!

  2. A couple of questions - 1) Can I have your tub-o-kannas? and 2) when you heat the tang of your nata to red hot, how do you keep the excessive heat from traveling to the cutting edge and compromising the tempering? I am enjoying watching your adventure.

  3. Hi Paul! Glad to hear from you!

    The tub o' kanna isn't even the bulk of the tools, sad to say, but only the ones that seemed to be the most likely to see some use. I've got a larger bin still sitting in Oregon, full of chisels, big kanna, molding planes least I think I have more tools? I find that looking through my old blog postings is more reliable than my memory, haha. Or sad....not really sure. Anyways, I've finally started to work on some small projects, so at least they are finally getting used a bit. Too long!

    To preserve the temper, just wrap the blade in a damp cloth. One note though...the wood of the handle will insulate very well, longer than you might think. If you remove the damp cloth too soon, there is some risk of the heat in the tang traveling back up into the edged portion. We don't want that! I gave myself a little burn once after burning in the tang on a saw that I was handling.

    My apologies for the long delays between too boring posts, haha. I thought that I would be getting more done here by now, but it has been a very slow start. There is soooooo much that needs doing, but too little time during the day. A common complaint I suppose. At least the weather is nice (compared to Oregon at least)!


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