|Types of Japanese Hand Planes
Parts of the Traditional Plane (Kanna)
Wood Block = Dai made of Japanese White Oak
Blade = kanna ba
Chipbreaker = uragane
Steel Pin = uraganedome
The traditional Japanese craftsman rarely uses sandpaper or finish. The plane is the last tool used to prepare the surface of the wood or timber. Using the best quality plane, tuned for optimal cutting, is imperative for a smooth finish.
Hira Kanna, the traditional or normal plane, has a blade that is set 40°-45° and is usually 21/8" wide. Most other planes – scraping, rebate and molding planes – are variations of this style.
While the Western craftsmen engineered the parts of the plane to assist in easing the work, the Japanese craftsmen concentrated on planing techniques, such as the pulling motion and use of the lower body and leg muscles to ease effort and allow him to work long hours.
Selecting a Plane to Purchase
There are a wide variety of planes available, from economy models for the true beginner to planes with hand-forged blades made for the experienced woodworker. Blade quality is the essential consideration in selecting a plane to purchase. Blades are forged with high quality white or blue steel over wrought iron. The white is easier to sharpen, but the blue stays sharp longer. Once the type of blade steel is chosen, the user needs to consider the plane’s intended use. The lower the angle, the smoother the cut will be for finishing/smoothing tasks. Rough work that involves heavy stock removal requires a higher angled blade setting.