Japanese tools #20: Japan meets Krenov - MaFe style Kanna jointer (Handplane).

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Blog entry by mafe posted 09-12-2013 08:51 PM 32392 reads 16 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: Kiri hand drill (gimlet) Part 20 of Japanese tools series Part 21: Dai-Naoshi-Kanna - Japanese scraper plane (Krenov style build) Blog »

MaFe style Kanna jointer
Japan meets Krenov

For quite some time now I have had three wishes that I wanted to fulfill in one project.
1. To have a Japanese Naga-Dai-Kanna (jointer plane).
2. To combine the Krenov plane building style with Japanese planes.
3. To find use of a beautiful old hand forged Japanese plane iron that I had purchased some time back.

Here an example of a Japanese jointer plane I saw on E-bay.
On this link a seller in Germany, I think the price tag huts a wee bit:

So here the plan, a small sketch in my little book.
The Japanese plane is different from the Western planes in several ways:
The iron is place in the other end, this due to the fact that you pull the plane.
The iron is wedge shaped and so it holds itself into the plane body.
The cap iron is also holding itself, but this is due to the fact that the top corners are bend and a pin is put through the body. that the cap iron wedge against. ( I have a theory that the reason for this design, is due to the fact that it was relatively late that the Japanese used Cap irons and so it has been retro fitted to existing planes and ways of building.

The story starts here.
I got a beautiful old iron and cap iron from Japan, these waited a couple of years in the drawer.

As you can see there are plenty of iron left, but it has been used.

So I filed of the edge that had bent over from beating.

Like so.

The same for the cap iron.
Look at those fine old stamps from the maker.

Inside out.
Notice the old hammer marks from someone adjusting it.

Ok here it starts, with a cut!
In my wonderful friend Jamies work shop in Scotland, where I was to visit him.
The reason I brought the iron, was that I knew Jamie had one also and so I had a plan that we could work on this project together, while I was there. But Jamie got sick, so I spend the last day alone in the shop working on this project.
Jamie had said to me that ‘there are plenty of oak’ so I could pick what ever piece I wanted, and so I found myself a good piece, with a good density.

Thank you Jamie, I look forward now to create a useful tool from this wood.

Since I was in Jamies shop, I decided to use some of his wonderful tools, first the thickness planner and then the jointer. (Love these old heavy jointers).
In this way I knew I had the base lined up.

After reading in a Japanese book (on the left and to be read backwards) I was feeling confident to start cutting up the oak.
I cut it up in five slices. Sides, iron wedging and finally center bed.
The center and the two wedging sides together should match the widest part of the iron.
The cap iron should fit in between the two wedging sides.
(Look at later photos).

Marking up the place where I want the iron and in this way making a reference line between the parts.
(Jamie you might notice something here).

And marking up how I want the blade, remember that the blade is wedge shaped so you have to use the angle on the top of the blade or subtract the blade angle from the bed angle.
I just took 45 and then put the blade on top, in this way I end up on 47-48 degree in this way I make a plane that will work on hardwoods also.
I also choose 45 degrees for the opening, in this way it will be easy to clean up shaves, but some prefer a steeper angle, I have seen Japanese planes in all angles.

So time to cut.
Basically three cuts, two 45 degrees and one vertical, I start with the vertical.
The vertical cut gives a stronger edge and allows for some adjustment of the sole later.
Here with Jamies wonderful saw, again a favorite of mine.

The good old Dewalt.

Shut up and cut MaFe.

The next cut I made on the table saw, this only because I did not want to destroy Jamies setup.
First making sure I had a perfect square angle.

Here you get the picture of the principal.

And here with the cap iron.

In the back part of the plane, the bed and the sides are just following, so in this case I could cut these 45 degrees also and then draw the shape of the plane iron on to the other part (you can still se that line here).

Then cut that of and you can push it up to the blade and should have a snug fit when the blade is just a wee bit withdrawn.

Then you can put in the cap iron.
I had to sand a wee bit of my sides of the cap iron, so my measurement was not perfect…

Here we are, this is close to being a Kanna.

The sole of the plane looks fine and I can decide how closed or open I want the mouth.

Now it is all to adjust the parts.

First the back end.

Then the front.

I drill holes for dowels in the back and front to be sure I get it just right when I am going to glue.

Then it’s just to add glue, don’t be cheesy, we need a good contact.

The dowels are the hammered in, so I know it is all aligned up perfectly.

We can never have too many clamps and Jamie have tons.
Now I should wait 24 hours, but I’m going home tomorrow.

So I went for a bicycle ride and dinner, then took the chance after six hours.
And I was lucky, it seems to hold up perfectly fine.

First I chop of the dowels, and then a tour on the planner.

Back to the sled, here I cut of the ends, I cut the dowels away to get a clean surface.

The fit was not perfect, so I had to make some magic filler.
Sawdust from the same wood mixed with glue.

Ok, Jamie I admit, I took another saw blade, to make perfect crosscuts, but now the old one is back (it’s a wee bit wobbly).


Japanese planner plane.

MaFe san, full of good Zen.

Ok, I did not have the time to mount the pin for the cap iron, to set up the sole and test it, this because I had to get back to Copenhagen. I will have to be patient, since my entire work shop including the kanna is inside this truck, since I had to empty the shop and be out of the building for the next 4-6 months, due to renovation of the building, so this last part will be in a wee bit time.

Hope this blog can bring some inspiration, who knows, perhaps we will see some MaFe san style planes in the future, I have searched the web and not found even one.

Japan (plane type and iron)
Russia (Krenov born)
US (Where Krenov made his planes)
Scotland UK (where I made mine in Jamies shop)
Denmark (where I live and are born)
It’s a small and fascinating world.

Jamie on your table in the work shop, I cut up and left a piece of Oak, the pages from the Japanese book and your plane iron – this was meant as a challenge, now it is your turn. Hope you are all up and running my friend.

Japanese-Cutlery link:

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

23 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26786 posts in 4349 days

#1 posted 09-12-2013 09:00 PM

Very nice instruction on building that plane. Pretty soon we be calling you mads son!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5341 days

#2 posted 09-12-2013 09:06 PM

Wonderful plane Mads. Looking forward to you being back in your shop and working.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Gibernak's profile


124 posts in 3090 days

#3 posted 09-12-2013 09:41 PM

Looks really beautiful, thanks for sharing

View mafe's profile


13344 posts in 4333 days

#4 posted 09-12-2013 09:56 PM

View Hammerthumb's profile


3116 posts in 3219 days

#5 posted 09-12-2013 10:09 PM

Sure would have liked to see some pic in use. I’ll keep my eye out for them.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View FreddyS's profile


213 posts in 4017 days

#6 posted 09-12-2013 11:16 PM

Hi mads, nice work as usual but… some pics using it please! ;)

-- Learning one thing at a time

View mafe's profile


13344 posts in 4333 days

#7 posted 09-12-2013 11:31 PM

Pics using will come when my shop opens again in 4-5 months, the plane and all my tools are in storage now.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3890 days

#8 posted 09-12-2013 11:45 PM

Great story again.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View lew's profile


13425 posts in 4999 days

#9 posted 09-13-2013 01:56 AM

Long time without a shop, Mads. Certainly time for meditation, family and planning for the next gorgeous tool.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View fissionchips's profile


99 posts in 3701 days

#10 posted 09-13-2013 03:56 AM

If like me you can’t wait ten years for the black patina to return to the filed edges of the blade, a touch of “gun blue” is all you need to bring back the colour. I learned this trick from a kanna blade repair professional, none other than Toru Uozumi of Tsunesaburo!
My crack at a nagadai kanna can be found here.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4578 days

#11 posted 09-13-2013 08:41 AM

Brilliant Mads! I’m sure this plane will perform well as you hope it will. I’m sorry to hear that your shop will be closed down for such a long time, but I hope the renovation will make it even better for your shop. I just hope they don’t raise the rent too much! Thanks for posting this, it was very interesting and educational.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Ken90712's profile


18067 posts in 4432 days

#12 posted 09-13-2013 09:32 AM

Great blog!!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5125 days

#13 posted 09-13-2013 11:51 AM

Wow. What a wonderful blog. Nice work Mads.

I hope you find time in the next six months to reflect and grow. And then hit back hard with your renovated shop.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1628 posts in 4808 days

#14 posted 10-19-2013 06:57 PM

I skimmed over this blog when you posted it Mads, but busy at the time and meant to look again later. Well I found it again! Excellent blog full of details, I have been wanting to make a jointer with the “extra cheeks” for the wedge so thanks for this post!

Wonderful plane, great work.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View mafe's profile


13344 posts in 4333 days

#15 posted 10-20-2013 07:29 PM

Hi there,
Tim, then I am happy, I always get happy if just one person can actually use the blog. It was great fun to make, so I am sure you will enjoy the build. Thank you.
Steve, yes I try, to enjoy and grow, even I just said to a friend the other day; ‘my ohhh I thought that after 40 we would be at a point, where we had learned all about our self and yet it never stops’, in a way wonderful though, as long as we enjoy the ride. ;-) I will hit the shop as a nuke.
Ken, ;-)
Stefang, I think the rent stays… hope… pray… Smiles.
fissionchips, ordered and received a set of gun blue, so now I just need to get the shop back open. Look forward to try this.
Lew, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I am in deep meditation.
Sam, smiles.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

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