Get to Know Japanese Handplanes
A how-to guide for setting up and using these rewarding hand tools.
Synopsis: Ready to take the plunge and try using a Japanese handplane? With its massive, tapered blade, this tool can be sharpened to an unmatched edge and leaves a surface that is second to none. Japanese planes cut on the pull stroke, however, and it requires time and dedication to learn to use them correctly. Andrew Hunter offers an introduction, from setup to sharpening to proper use.
I first took the plunge into the unfamiliar waters of the kanna, or Japanese handplane, more than 15 years ago. Learning to use one took time and dedication, but the reward of the shimmering surface it leaves was well worth it. There is more to Japanese handplanes than can be expressed in a single article, but my aim here is to provide a kind of diving board for anyone else interested in taking the plunge. I promise the water is delightful.