Also available in HD…

Hi faithful reader,

I don’t watch much TV at all, but I what I have seen sometimes has a little watermark on the screen with the title of this post in it.

Well, Tools from Japan is going HD too. Ok, only 480p (now, 720p!), but it’s better than nothing.

Please be gentle, my ego is fragile but I’ve desperately wanted to show what’s in this first ever video for quite a while. Since the road trip to Tsunesaburo actually.

That, and a nice, shiny new Lie-Nielsen plane dropped out of the sky (via USPS and Japan Post) into my grubby hands, and, well.

Watch the video. That’s what it’s for.

Once I recover from the embarrassment of making this one, I hope to make many, many more.

As always, thanks for reading and now, watching…


12 comments to Also available in HD…

  • Steve Mitchell

    Hi Stu,

    Great demo (really not too bad for your first attempt). You got your point across very well. You’re a brave man holding your fingers on the edge as you advance the blade – I’d cut mine for sure.

    I’m a fan of Japanese kanna (etc.), so it wouldn’t bother me to have to work harder on a new kanna to set it up, but its nice to know that at least Tsunesaburo has things so well set up out of the box. Good point about having a second dai with a different bed angle to increase the versatility and probably not that expensive vs having a second blade for a metal body plane.

    Of course, there will still be the East vs West polarity no matter how easy/effective/expense of a tool, eh?


  • mdhills

    Interesting post (as usual for your blog entries and forum posts). I didn’t feel a need to watch in HD — the wide-angle view is fine in standard youtube def.

    Am curious why you got the LN164?

  • Steve Schlang

    Hello Stu,

    Nice first presentation. I have never used a Japanese plane but still have questions about the stability of any wooden plane body. I am guessing they have to be trued up from time to time. As for set up, it does not look too difficult. A bit more hands on perhaps but doable. In future vids I would like to see Close-up shots if possible.
    Thanks for your efforts they are informative to say the least,


  • Hi Steve,

    I’ve been adjusting planes like that for a long time. This one was new to me (obviously!), so I hadn’t got my head around it yet. A plane I’m familiar with, I can usually make it cut first pass, and anything extra is purely adjustment. The plane(s) are also very tight, and still need using to free them up and make them nicer to use.

    The second dai? Fully set up like that it’s not exactly cheap and takes longer to be made, but both dai were chunks of wood last week, and now they’re both working planes. Price wise, I’ve added them as an orderable option on every Tsunesaburo plane listed so far (I think) and I take a hit on every one that gets ordered. A small hit, but I’m willing to not even cover the cost of this because I believe it’s such a god idea that the money side of it shouldn’t be an obstacle.

    I’m going to work on Mr. Uozumi and see if we can’t do something about that cost. Ultimately, I want the already set up extra dai to cost about $30 rather than the $40 or so they are now.

    And one you need to adjust yourself, they’re cheap anyway.

    Thanks for the comments, and I’m jumping back into the saddle today or tomorrow. Hoop setting. Honestly, video really doesn’t take much more effort than writing stuff up, and I don’t have to set up pictures since it’s all one, long moving picture.


  • Hi MD,

    Close ups won’t be pretty. Even worse in HD. I’m learning to drive a straight razor at the moment, and I can get it sharp but waving it near my already ugly head makes things worse…

    I got the LN #164 because I needed a newly produced, premium quality iron hand plane to show some people over here. That meant LN, LV or Clifton. Clifton, too many stories about spotty quality control so they’re out. LV, already have a block plane and to be honest I’m not a real big fan of LV these days (with legitimate reasons). So that left LN. I have a brace of regular bench planes (Record #4, Stanley #4 1/2 and #606) so why not go with a low angle/bevel up plane?

    Pretty much narrowed the choice down to one, and that’s that.

    Besides, if I’m going to get a xyz steel blade made up for something new, better to be something different than ‘normal’ like the conventional Bailey pattern planes.


  • Hi Steve,

    There’s no question that the wood will move with changes in climate/weather. This is kept to a minimum with well aged oak for the bodies, but still, it’s understood that the bodies will move and allowances are made in the design to compensate for that.

    And because it’s wood, it’s easy enough to adjust back into true again as well. It also makes it possible to make the plane perform to an exceptionally high level with a little attention to detail and adjustment.

    The bodies should be seen as consumable item, and they’re not too expensive if you’re willing to do some of the work yourself. Hard to conceive of if kanna are new to you, but more videos will be produced detailing all the aspects of set up so you won’t be going alone.

    I’ve used kanna for quite a long time now, and I still use iron planes as well, but every time I use a well set up Japanese plane it always impresses. The liberties they allow you and the things they can do with flagrant disregard for anything you know about metallic planes is astonishing.

    I mentioned in the video the surface of that wild grained cherry was improved, and it was. The LN managed a nice, reflective surface on the wood, which was more than acceptable. The higher angle body kanna took that surface, and made it come to life at a level the LN simply couldn’t compare with. Maybe with some more time on the LN, I could replicate the finish, but considering both the LN and the Maboroshi are of a similar price point and the Maboroshi did that with no set up at all, I don’t think I need to expound any more on why I’m always impressed by what a well set up kanna can accomplish.

    I think it’s best to consider kanna as another arrow in the quiver of tools to get the job done, not strictly a replacement. There are occasions where an iron plane is absolutely the superior tool, and other occasions where a kanna is significantly better.

    I’m getting ahead of myself here.

    There will be more videos to follow, and I hope they’ll be better presented as time goes on and I get more experience on both sides of the camera.

    We shall see.

    Thank you for the comments, they’re all beneficial since my ego is very fragile and you’re all feeding it very nicely.


  • mdhills

    No, no, no… the closeups we want to see aren’t the results of shaving your mug with a straight razor… we’re talking curly cherry shaved with the finest Japanese irons.

    Out of curiousity, how did you originally learn to adjust/tune the kanna? Is it something picked up in bits and pieces over time by fiddling and hearing others, or was it something readily conveyed by another woodworker/toolmaker?

  • Oh that.

    Well, the plane has now gone off to it’s new owner. I still have the cherry though, and while I’m not 100% happy with everything on the board (was not my plane, time was limited) I can take a picture of it before it gets assaulted again.

    Got a little insanely curly maple that glows as well. Can I put up a picture of that as well? You’ll swear it’s lacquered.

    Tuning kanna, the one in the video was not tuned at all. What it did was out of the box, save a quick sharpening which it really didn’t need. When I do need to dial one in, it’s mostly stuff I picked up in dribs and drabs. My access to information is a lot larger than most though, so I don’t need to rely on information only in English. I also happen to be able to learn things by looking, not even watching. I’m lucky that regard, but have now realized that many don’t share my gift, hence the videos rather than a simple write up.

    However, on Sunday I plan to get a solid education. I’m heading off to a tool show, where the emphasis is ‘hands on’. I’ll take pictures and video and see what we can get out of it, and then add that to my own knowledge and come out the other side with something workable and useful for everyone.

    The kanna set up videos planned will cover everything. Absolutely everything and once done, will be the most comprehensive set up video available in the world. Not a big claim, since there’s really nothing out there!

    Back to work now,


  • Jim Belair

    Another vote for close ups, not of you (sorry) but of the plane and the doesn’t-need-tapping-out blade.

    Enjoyed the video and the fast forward sequence of the sharpening was effective.

  • David W.

    Hi Stu,

    Great video, but I have some confusion on how the “uradashifuyouh” back works in the dai. If you do not need to tap out the blade, how does the blade stay wedged in the dai as you sharpen it? The blade starts with a given thickness on the cutting edge, but as you sharpen into the curved back, the front part of the blade gets thinner. Does this cause loss of support for the cutting edge? Must be some magic in the way the blade is bedded in the dai.

    Wonderful idea about have the option for an extra dai when ordering a plane. I don’t think the cost is out of line. I paid around as much for a different bevel angle blade for my Veritas bevel-up jack plane.

  • Hi David,

    Sorry for the delay in my reply, I’ve been busy…

    The ‘hollow’ is very, very small. As you sharpen, the wood being a little springy tends to hold the blade with a little less tension, but still enough to prevent anything untoward. Also, you you do sharpen the edge itself naturally grows thicker, continuing to wedge itself quite nicely.

    The loss of the two small side ‘legs’ isn’t much of a loss really. I’d recommend keeping things ‘tight’ though. I know many Western users (myself included in the past!) have a tendency to to set the blades a little loose. In that case, I don’t expect any problems worth being concerned about, but there’s no real need to set them loose, so long as the kanna is still adjustable, it’s loose enough. In fact, after a bit of use, tighter tends to be easier to adjust since you will need heavier taps on the blade/body to adjust, and light taps will tend to make smaller adjustments.

    Mustn’t forget that the blade will go through several dai in it’s life. The dai can be used for an exceptionally long time as they are, but they won’t outlast a blade, so when the times comes to replace it, you’re back to a perfectly adjusted (I hope!), brand new dai and any concerns of lack of support end up being left with the old dai.

    Or you can laminate another piece of wood on the bottom, and keep using the old dai, adjusting in only the new sole piece. Yes, I’ve seen that done with good effect as well.

    Jim, your comment got ‘junked’, sorry. Over anxious spam set up. There will be more videos coming, just not sure when. The sound problem needs to be sorted out…

    Thanks again all,


  • O

    Nice job on the video and the sharpening. The planes look much better up close in my hands though. Workmanship on blade and dais are top notch.

    BTW not much wood movement occured on the trans-Pacific trip. They weighed in at 3lbs with the blade and CB which is roughly equivalent to a #4.