Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Continuing with the subject of saw sharpening, here 3 cuts from 3 saws.

First, the old Ryoba I sharpened:

It's still dirty and with oil from the cleaning. Next, the universal Kataba from dictum:

Kinda rough, but some like it. For 25 euros is not bad... mostly for fast cuts. This saw eats beech like I eat parmesan cheese, in big chunks that is.

Finally, the Shirai Sangyo Dozuki from Fine-tools. Do believe them, it is not for beginners. It took me like 35 minutes (or was it seconds) to break the first teeth. Several other followed. Then I learnt. I would buy it again. Maybe I do. Maybe next month, after the camera.

Smooth as a baby ass... but the saw kinda gets stuck on the boxwood... it's way better on soft wood.

I wanted to use ebony for this but I first found a small piece of boxwood in the scrap pile — all these fancy woods are from the scrap pile of Opa, I haven't bought yet expensive wood by myself. The piece was fitting perfectly after the aforementioned 3 cuts and some shooting. That's my poor man's arbitrary-angle shooting board, simply clamp a piece of wood to your poor man's shooting board:

I think I went for an angle of π / 12 √2 radians this time, you can set the one you like by moving the piece of wood left or right. 

Before you complain of my laziness (you are right, I am south american, it is my culture to be lazy) remember that I move to chile next year, so I don't want to build a nice looking shooting board to put it next year in the bin. 

The spoke shave I made a few weeks ago, but wanted to box it and that's what I'm doing tonight. Here you can find instructions on how to make yours.  The guy says it took him 3 days. Mine was almost done in one evening, but I cut the grooves for the blade on the line, and the blade is slightly loose. I mean, I have to put a piece of veneer on the back of the blade, paper is not good enough. Next time will be better, I hope. 

I was asking myself all this time why the sides of the wedge need to be at an angle... and the answer is really simple. You make the wedge slightly oversized, you mark the plane, cut the recess, and if the fit is not perfect, you can always plane a bit on the short side of the wedge to get a perfect fit as long as the angles are right. Genius! I even played with the idea of making the wedge straight, I'm glad I stuck to the example from japan-tool.

I still need to prepare shellac and finish fitting the wedge, so pictures of the finished spokeshave (and of the blade) will come other day. I just wanted to show off my high-tech arbitrary-angle shooting board, if it's not elegant, at least is really simple.

EDIT: here some pictures from the top, and next to my japanese spoke shave that served as model for my own version.


  1. The wedge shaped blade is something that I needed to experience, to truly understand the utility. The wedge shape allows for a blade that goes only so far, then stops, but can be easily retracted. This is how plane blades REALLY work. You don't need a blade to be infinitely adjustable. If a person hasn't used this type of tool before, the idea seems painfully inexact and crude, but it is actually capable of extremely fine adjustment. The blade/wooden wedge type of planes that I used to prefer now seem so crude, as do the all metal types of plane. I suspect that I am "preaching to the choir", though, haha!

    Love the nankin-ganna (spokeshave)!


  2. Hi Jason,

    I mean the angles on the boxwood piece at the sole... I guess I was not so clear. I friend also asked me for clarification.

    And not really to the choir, I have 6 kanna or so, but I prefer my record no 4 for most of my big planing, and my 60 1/2 for all the rest — and that's my favourite plane I think. Somehow, I think english planes are THE most refined tools ever made, maybe is my steampunkness.

    The spoke shave is another story. I have the feeling that the wooden spoke shave, japanese version, dampens the vibrations and you can cut much better, even in end grain. I also like the feeling of wood on wood for cutting curves.

    All this may be because I don't have a really well set-up kanna to work with.... don't know. Anyway, next year, once settled down, I will make new dais for all the blades I have (around 20). There is this wood in Chile called Lenga ( that seems to be suited for the task. From a "sustainability" or "self-reliance" point of view, japanese planes are the way to go (combined with a few dovetailed english miter planes for the looks).

    I added a picture of spoke shave with the blade from the top. The small one is the japanese I have, and I love it.

    1. Oh, forgive me..... On rereading, you are perfectly clear. I am a bit baffled as to why I thought that you were talking about blade wedge shape. My little mind has been so filled with saw tooth patterns and blade angles, haha! My bad.....

      I must also confess (Shhhhhhh........) to missing the ease of adjusting a plane blade, using just the tips of my fingers to turn the little knob. I now associate the sound of a wooden mallet hitting another block of wood (the plane dai), and the "shziiiip" sound of wood shavings with productive woodworking. Japanese planes are kind of noisy (my wife says)!

      With 20 kanna blades, you will learn a LOT about cutting dai's! I am looking forward to next year.