Japanese Planing Board w/Sliding Dovetails

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Project by Lemongrasspicker posted 02-05-2018 03:08 PM 11902 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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My workspace is pretty limited. in being so I have to get creative and look to different means for accomplishing my goals. That’s one of many reasons I study and practice Japanese woodcraft, the entire thought process behind the study is to make the absolute most of the absolute least.

The planing board is one of the most essential tools of traditional japanese woodcraft. As such there are many different designs/sizes/features on most of them. There is no right or wrong way to make a planing board, the only requirement is that it does what you need it to do.

For myself, I needed something that was wider than my planing beam I made some time ago. The planing beam tops out at about 8ish or so inches wide. This on the other hand is just shy of 12” wide, much more usable space. One of the main 8/4 pieces of red oak had a nasty check that I didn’t want to get worse, so I added an arikata to hold it closed, I think some folks call these dovetail/butterfly splines.

The sliding dovetails were something I had never tried before this project. They’re pretty cool, except I botched one up and had to spline it to hold it together, plus I also had to use a small fill for the big ugly gap I left.

The stop was from a piece of Osage Orange, really tough stuff, doesn’t blunt up your tools that much though. YMMV. I does add a nice piece of contrast to the rest of the board. Plus being tough as nails is good for something that’ll get bumped and bruised quite a bit during the lifespan of the tool. You can kind of see how the confidence factor increased the more I cut the dovetails.

I didn’t build this with an angle like some examples of benchtop planing boards. Reason being is that I also want to use it to cut mortises and doing that on an angle is a nightmare.

Anyways, really fun project, it weighs out to about 35-40lbs, with some rubber bench feet you can plane, saw, and mortise all day and it won’t budge an inch.

Thanks for reading/watching!


6 comments so far

View natenaaron's profile


442 posts in 3082 days

#1 posted 02-05-2018 07:29 PM

I like that. Good save on that split.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4151 days

#2 posted 02-05-2018 08:37 PM

Nice work!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View fivecodys's profile


1764 posts in 2921 days

#3 posted 02-05-2018 11:37 PM

Very nice!
I love the bow-tie!

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View dannmarks's profile


1031 posts in 1866 days

#4 posted 02-10-2018 05:05 PM

I am going to incorporate this into my Assembly table… Great idea. So simple.

View panderson317's profile


1 post in 1239 days

#5 posted 07-11-2018 01:47 PM

I’m jealous that you’re either barefoot or wearing sandals in all of your videos.

I’m looking at doing one of these myself. What is the length dimension on the top?

View Lemongrasspicker's profile


123 posts in 1781 days

#6 posted 07-23-2018 02:24 PM

I m jealous that you re either barefoot or wearing sandals in all of your videos.

I m looking at doing one of these myself. What is the length dimension on the top?

- panderson317

Haha! Alot of the time it’s stupid hot when I’m working so the sandals keep things from getting too uncomfortable.

The top length on this one was 24”. I just made a bigger one that was 48. If you’re going to make one I recommend making one that’s a bit bigger than your current needs so you can grow into it. I only had this one a few months before I needed something bigger.


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