Identification of Japanese hand plane

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Forum topic by Suarjoe posted 07-15-2020 01:31 AM 257 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1051 days

07-15-2020 01:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: japanese tools hand plane blade

I just acquired some new Japanese hand planes from an estate sale. I would like to see if anyone can help identify who made them and their approximate value. The largest plane is 11” long, 3 3/8” wide and 1 3/8” high. The plane blade is is 2 5/8” wide (65mm) and set at a 40 degree inclined angle.

4 replies so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3352 posts in 2299 days

#1 posted 07-15-2020 04:14 AM

The makers names is stamped on body and/or iron. Just need to read it?
Not being a jerk, simply read it. LOL

Here is my trick:
Load Google translate on to your smart phone, download the Japanese dictionary.
There is a picture translation mode that works on live images. Point camera at kana characters, and the English translation will appear.

If makers name or information requires several letters to create a single English word, the app will sometimes bounce around a bit and show multiple translations. Usually one for each single character and another for compound word. Japanese is pretty easy to translate as Kana character pronunciation is literal, with each symbol translating into a short 2-4 letter alphabetic syllable like ‘hi’, or ‘ka’ or ‘tsai’. Just string these together to find the word. But thanks to English and our numerous word meanings, can find groups of kana that mean different things when strung together. If you need to translate the alphabetic spelling of the kana to english, there are ton of japanese dictionary translation tools. is simpler than most and works ok.

The Google live translate mode works on billboards, computer screens, and it very hardy.
Practice zoomed in the individual kana on the Wiki page to help figure it out.

There are many Japanese plane brands. The only complete list of mfg names I have seen is in printed book, which is hiding somewhere I can’t find it right now. :-(
There are several folks on WWW that keep lists of Japanese plane makers. Here is one of my old bookmarks:

This LJ post might help too:

One last note: Many times a Kanna can have two mfg. One for the Dai (wooden body) and another for iron. When find decals/stickers on the Dia, these are more like brand labels or product description. Will often be the name of seller (like Ace Hardware or Craftsman in US), the purpose of the plane (smoother, jack, scrub), or some cheesy advertising about type of wood/iron used.

Not a Japanese hand tool expert, just sharing a method I use.
I learned the Google live translation trick doing business in Asia for decades. Takes some getting used to differences in sentence structure, but it makes it easy to survive in another country.

BTW – Can be really confusing while shopping in Japanese wood working tool store the first time, until you learn that kanna means plane, and is not a mfg. Or that just because all the planes have Tsunesaburo irons, does not mean he made the entire plane; have to know the Dia maker and/or the marketing labels to get final answer.

Hope this helps.

Best Luck with your translation adventure!

PS – Value of Japanese hand tools is flakey, due lack of demand in US, IMHO. You have to find a Japanese hand tool lover to get best value, and that is not easy or fast. Will leave any value discussion to real experts. :-)

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View therealSteveN's profile


5934 posts in 1379 days

#2 posted 07-15-2020 04:19 AM

Welcome Suarjoe.

Might get someone with the exact plane will recognize it, but you might want to take pics close up of all identifying marks, script, labels, the impression on the blade, etc, if you don’t get an immediate hit. They are the same as Stanley, Keen Kutter, Ohio, and Sargent on their Western counterparts, and will tell you, though in a foreign language.

I own a few, nothing of an expert, but in looking around I have found many of those Kanna with a red labels were in fact Korean. Most of the higher quality (dollar) Japanese usually are scarcely adorned, or with very bland makings/labels. Usually black and white in appearance. Not too sure about the less expensive machine produced variety though. Probably some of them from most of the Asian countries.

It will be interesting to see if we get a good choice of what it is.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Suarjoe's profile


3 posts in 1051 days

#3 posted 07-15-2020 04:35 AM

Thanks for the feedback. I will try both ideas…using google translate and upload better closeup pictures. Suarjoe

View r33tc0w's profile


192 posts in 1289 days

#4 posted 07-15-2020 05:05 AM

Try doing google lens app on your phone, it’ll picture search that symbol and might take you straight to it

-- Matthew 13:53-58

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