Some might call this type of hand plane exotic, eccentric — even antiquated, but Japanese planes are attracting increasing notice and attention, even in today’s world where modern tools and machines offer instant ease and results. The Japanese plane, known as Kanna to the native speaker, appears to be simplicity itself. Historically, this plane was comprised of only two parts, the Dai or body, and the blade. But this apparent simplicity is deceptive because the designing and crafting of each part is a complex and exacting process steeped in history.

Fortunately, using a Japanese plane, at least at a basic level, is far easier than making one. In this video, Japanese tool expert Craig Vandall Stevens introduces us to this interesting, useful, even powerful hand tool. He’ll break down the basic construction of the plane and take a closer look at the uniqueness of the Japanese forge welded iron & hardened steel blade. Craig also demonstrates the correct methods — the hand & body positions and the unique pulling motions for enabling maximum success. (6 Minute Woodworking Video)

(8) Comments    Read More   

Use a Smoothing Plane to Prepare Wood For Final Finishing

Before the widespread use of sandpaper (or glass paper as it was formerly known), artisans used smoothing planes to prepare their work for final finish. It was the “smoother” that the master journeymen of the past used to achieve the mirror-like finishes seen in many examples of the finest historical wood masterpieces.  So with such a pedigree, it seems a shame that this specialized hand plane has been all but replaced by the widespread availability and appealing usability of sandpaper.

Now don’t get me wrong, I use sandpaper as much as anyone, but despite sandpaper’s dominance, there remain good reasons to use a finely tuned smoothing plane for some of your projects. One is the simple pleasure of creating whisper thin shavings from wood. Plus, the smoother makes no dust so you eliminate the messy and dangerous particles that can clog up your shop, your tools, and your lungs. But perhaps the most attractive reason to consider this tool is the superior finish smoothing planes can impart to the finest of work. In this video, furniture maker Craig Vandall Stevens reveals the secrets to using a smoothing plane for final finish work. Craig’s mastery of this tool for final surface preparation is inspiring. After watching his amazing demonstration, you may become tempted to master the technique too. (4.5 Minute Woodworking Video)

This video demonstration features a Japanese smoothing plane, but the methods and concepts described apply directly to any smoothing plane including western style metal & wooden hand planes.

(5) Comments    Read More   

This video reviews some of the most common, and popular, hand planes used by crafts people today. At first glance, the whole subject looks complicated, because there are dozens of major plane types and many different variations within each of those categories. But most accomplished woodworkers agree that there is a core list of planes that any woodworker should consider for their toolbox.

In this segment, I introduce and demonstrate five of the more useful handplanes used by contemporary artisans who work with wood. You’ll learn the characteristics and uses of the jack, smooth, shoulder plane, block, and jointer (try) planes. And you’ll see them put through their paces. Then you decide which planes you should buy or own. (7 Minute Video)

(Similar Terms: Rabbit, Rabbet)

(7) Comments    Read More