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Picture of How to Build a Japanese Hand Plane
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A Japanese hand plane is also known as a Kanna. The major difference from western planes is the Japanese plane is pulled, not pushed. The plane is made of either Japanese red or white oak, while the blade is a lamination of hard iron to softer iron. I will be making a smoothing plane which is similar to a Stanley no. 4 in its function. The Japanese planes are readily available to buy, although I just want to see if I can make one out of scraps of wood and metal laying around with minimal tools and effort. In fact, the only material I bought was the epoxy. In pic #1, I got the one on the right(similar to jack plane) off eBay. The one on the left(a jointer) I bought only the blade and made a sub-blade and a body from quarter sawn red oak. While the one in the middle is the plane I make in this instructable. I recommend reading material over the kanna to fully understand the tool before building one.
 
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Step 1: Laminating the Blade

Picture of Laminating the Blade
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The body of the plane is made only after the blade is in hand. Therefore, the first step is to make the planes blade. The blade is comprised of a very thin layer of hard, high carbon steel forge welded to a large section of soft iron or soft, low carbon steel. As visible in the above picture with my materials, I have an old Wards Master blade laying around which will be the hard cutting edge, any good steel will work. The flat bar is a cheap, soft metal which will make the wedge of the blade while the saw blade will add thickness between the soft and hard metal. The measurements are available in pic #2. The blade is around 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. The thick end is 5/16" and the thin end is 3/16". I shaped the wedge before laminating with an angle grinder. Remember to not burn the hard metal. After shaping, I used J.B. Weld to hold the three layers of metal together. After a day to let the epoxy dry, I ground the blade to a 25 degree angle and honed it to a razors edge.
urmaso2 months ago

Hello. Beautiful work.thanks for sharing. I am making my barchelor work in university, its about plane with adjustable cutting angle. Its difficult to explane in english but I want to know what is japanese planes cutting angle? How many degrees? My english is not the best possible but I hope you understood....

ShawnH24 months ago

Awesome project. I really appreciate the ingenuity and execution.

I have a couple Japanese planes from ebay. They are wonderful to use once set up, but I do not like the expense of the blades or dealing with sharpening the hard steel and tapping out the back. Once I cracked a blade tapping it out and had to regrind the bevel, I started thinking about other options for future planes.

I have not heard of anyone else making a blade by epoxy laminating available pieces of steel and am intrigued. A few questions about that. Is the lamination holding up? Did you grind any concavity in the back to match the shape of the the Japanese blades? If not, any issues with the blade shifting side to side or popping out of the wedge?

very nice but body of wooden plain should be quarter sawn, not flat sawn, with grain running vertically. No biggie but could be important in the long run.....

What makes you say that? These ones are also flat-sawn:

http://dougukan.jp/contents-en/index.php?id=222

calskin naught1015 months ago

geppetto425 is right. I just heard this too yesterday actually, but I can't remember where unfortunately.

It will absolutely work the way it's pointed out in the ible, but for some reason that I don't know, the Japanese plains are quarter sawn.

naught101 calskin5 months ago

I guess it might be because any shrinkage would be less likely to cause warping in the base plane? e.g you're not gonna get any bows.

Eh Lie Us!1 year ago

I didnt' know that 'pull' planes existed. Kinda blowing my mind here.

what the....?

cool

hotdiggidy1 year ago

Beautiful project!! Thank you for sharing!

Gyozu1 year ago
Nicely executed. I would be interested in how well the epoxy laminated blade works and if it is holding up. I find that laminating idea quite fascinating and was wondering if you have any other examples of it being used.

I tried different expoxys and found the best one was one call weldbond but you must make sure to clamp after you epoxy and you let cure for 24 hours

RobertBean (author)  Gyozu1 year ago
This is the first time. It is sort of an experimentation. However, the plane functions fine and is holding up.
kblack131 year ago

Beautiful! I want one!

submark1 year ago
Some very stable and beautiful wood might be obtained from flooring installers or dealers for the plane body, as well as for other projects. The wood is dried and milled specifically to be flat and stable in flooring.
Use only solid wood flooring, not laminates. Bamboo flooring might be worth a try.
Well done !
excellent job! I have been wanting to make one of these myself and this has demystified the process. I had bookmarked another site that had more formal steps, but this seems way easier (especially slicing the plane in half then gluing back together).Thank you.
RobertBean (author)  DaoudNaouri1 year ago
Thanks, chopping the mortise can be intimidating.
Dang, that's slick!