Japanese planing board / workbench (post)

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Project by mafe posted 05-17-2012 01:12 AM 15001 views 11 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Japanese planing board
Japanese workbench.

This post comes from my Japanese planing board blog.

It all started by me reading Toshio Odate’s book ‘Japanese woodworking tools their tradition spirit and use’, and now since I have moved to a new location where I at least for a while will have no workshop, the story will continue since I plan on using Japanese tools and methods in the meantime.

The sketch for my go on the planing board.

1. Me planing away on the test run of the bench – I really like using it.
2. Winding sticks to determine the high and low spots.
3. Scrub, flatten and smooth – Scandinavian, American, Japanese.
4. Using the bench stop.
5. My added shooting board feature.
6. I like it so much that it got a place in the living room.

I hope this could be to some inspiration, perhaps some planing boards.

Best thoughts,


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

25 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3458 days

#1 posted 05-17-2012 01:31 AM

Very nice tool. Looks good inside.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4354 days

#2 posted 05-17-2012 01:52 AM

really cool bench here…at least you have a bench to work on..but there is one thing here…i could not help but notice the book shelf in the one picture…yea…there are two shelves that hav a bow in them from the weight of the books…im going to try to not let it bother mads…lol…....but if ya could….could ya….yea…see if ya can fix those…lol…....yea i can be a little anal…lol…....grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3589 days

#3 posted 05-17-2012 05:14 AM

That is one swell workbench. Well done Mafe!

-- I never finish anyth

View Dez's profile


1172 posts in 5128 days

#4 posted 05-17-2012 06:02 AM

None of us knows where we may be tomorrow! I too have had to go back to our roots of “total hand work”
So cool it is to see where we ALL might go without our shops!
You go man! Lead me (and anyone that chooses to follow) into new (for me and others this day and age) techniques and processes!
Thank you for being the first at this time in our lives!!!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 4734 days

#5 posted 05-17-2012 07:34 AM

very nice bench… as for grizzman problem, a friend of mine once showed me a trick. you make “hidden support” for shelves by hiding the support inside a book cover… you can even make the top of the support a bit recessed so the shadow from the shelve will hide it completely.

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3907 days

#6 posted 05-17-2012 07:39 AM

Mads your a natural survivor

That is brilliant I was wondering what you would do

I was hoping that it was not going to be the ironing

board. :)

Working on the floor is wonderful gives you a great

feel for the wood

I’m looking forward to your future projects


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3664 days

#7 posted 05-17-2012 08:20 AM

Mads like the work board when your in love a ironing board or a whole shop you would still be happy.:)

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Ken90712's profile


17984 posts in 4239 days

#8 posted 05-17-2012 08:58 AM

Great work, always enjoy seeing tool like this. Hopa all is well buddy. Been a while. Amazing how busy we get.

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

View Schwieb's profile


1916 posts in 4512 days

#9 posted 05-17-2012 11:51 AM

Good to see you finding ways to keep making shavings, even when you are in “transition”. Handwork is still the best work.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View mafe's profile


13065 posts in 4139 days

#10 posted 05-17-2012 12:05 PM

Grizz, you are fast! But the book cases are now in the garage, they came from IKEA, thats why. Smile.

Ken, all is well, I’m trying to find me feet in the new place – yes time sometimes fly away.

Eddie, yes I think you are right, life is beautiful when we have the eyes open.

Jamie, of course you know this, yes it is a really close feel to sit and work with the wood like this, only the size can be a challange.

All, to work with Japanese tools are not just a new set of tools, it is a different approach (not that I’m a specialist), the pull makes the energy flow more free I feel, but most of al it is good for my arms (I am retired due to a spinal operation in the neck), I use the weight of the body to pull and not the strength of my arms to pull. In princip I think we could do the same with the push, but with te small planes and small work pices it is more the muscles than the body doing the job. (Why the Japanese planes do not need to be heavy.

Moshel, that is a good idea!

Dez, I have a strong mind that makes me question all the time, sometimes this is hard to hold – even for others, sometimes it is a strong force for me to move on, this time the absence of a workshop… I can feel it grows.
Yes every day it an adventure if we open our eyes like that – I do – when I’m not depressed… Smiles.

Philip, smiles here, still love your picture, so much love.

Grizz, the bookcases are in the garage now – IKEA junk. Love your sharpness and humor, thank you.

Jaykaypur, and feels good outside.

Best thoughts,

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

View mafe's profile


13065 posts in 4139 days

#11 posted 05-17-2012 12:08 PM

Dr. Ken, I think transition is my life, I always long for peace and calm – and end up in transition. Perhaps this is the key to my personality, transition… Now you gave me something to think about.
Best thoughts,

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

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 5178 days

#12 posted 05-17-2012 02:50 PM

Benches! We don’t need no stinking benches. :)

That’s my Mini-PortoBench 3000. I call him “Benchi-san”.
It’s a little all-in-one Japanese-style:
  • bench – cutting and jointing.
  • shooting board – edge and end trimming with planes.
  • clamping board – using ropes and wedges.

I carry one of these with me when I do woodworking demos, especially when making small craft items. I just set it on top of a table and go to work. When I am working outside, I use one of these on top of my PicnoBench 3000 (aka picnic table).

The main board is a piece of scrap 2” x 6” lumber (1.5 shaku long or about 18 inches), the plane rail is a piece of 1” square dowel parawood, the “stop” is an about 3/8” thick piece of poplar, the cleat-foot (underneath) is a piece of 1” x 2” pine. The cleat-foot hangs over a table or larger bench to brace this little workbench. The hanging cord is a piece of parachute cord. I hang everything on nails (hand wrought, of course) in my studio, if possible.

All pieces are attached with glue (free bottle of commercial wood glue from client) and bamboo “nails” made from skewers found in the mark-down bin at the local Meijer’s supermarket. Cheap is best.

The corners are lobed with a decorative Irisumi shape, ‘cause that’s part of my style. I burnt my Kanji logo on top with a woodburning pen. I generally don’t use any finish on these, ala Japanese style. However, I lube the plane rail with a little Kataneabura oil (Canola oil).

I also make these in larger sizes for bigger pieces of wood and projects. I make them from scrap, adjust the dimensions according to my needs and keep it simple.

Not available in stores. Void where prohibited.

-- 温故知新

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3743 days

#13 posted 05-17-2012 02:55 PM

I’m intrigued by this style of work. It seems like a natural progression for you, Mads. al

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 4685 days

#14 posted 05-17-2012 03:09 PM


Thats a interesting idea you have there. I went to look at your previous projects and they’ve all been deleted?

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4354 days

#15 posted 05-17-2012 03:29 PM

yea he doesnt seem to want to show any projects or let anyone comment to him, dont know why, ive never talked with him and im blocked from doing so, so are most people, dont know what the reason is.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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