There had to have been some excellence in toolmaking in China’s imperial era. We can judge by the 2000 year old museum furniture—still in perfect condition—that hand craftsmanship was once as close to perfection as it can get. Well, what you have for hand tools today are pictured below. The Mujingfang tool company produces the best hand tools domestically. I do have some Muji planes and chisels that work quite well. Still, nothing here compares to what the Japanese are turning out.
In exchange for building book cases, my friend had a set of planes made for me by his Hunan countryside hometown carpenter. The book cases were a wedding gift, but the culture here doesn’t feel comfortable with unrequited gifting.
After working these crude forged blades over, I have given up on attempts to get most of these things into a working condition. They are on display in the shop and still hold great value as gifts and inspiration.
-- Jay in Changsha