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What's a Mujingfang?

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Review by Belford posted 01-10-2017 01:56 AM 1532 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
What's a Mujingfang? What's a Mujingfang? What's a Mujingfang? Click the pictures to enlarge them

I own several types of woodworking planes. My German (ECE) planes are like driving a semi across a sheet of Rice Paper. My American planes (Stanley) are cantankerous until sharpened and set with an exacting procedure that I can never get exactly correct. My English (Record) planes are mere replicas of the American Stanley or vice versa. All have some good features and bad and for the most part get the job done.
I don’t own any Japanese planes and therefore have no remark upon them.

Now comes the heresy……the best woodworking planes I own are Chinese (Mujingfang) woodworking planes. I understand many will disagree with my assessment of any of these planes, but here is my opinion. My opinion is based upon at least ten years of usage.

Prior to purchasing my first Mujingfang plane I was skeptical, not only because of the cheap price, but because of some perceived quality issues. My first plane, a ten inch, Ebony bodied smoother arrived pre-sharpened and ready for work right out of the box. I set the blade and within seconds I was producing wafer thin shavings on soft Pine. I tried curly Maple next with the same results and absolutely no tearout. Plus the plane wasn’t heavy and was a pleasure to behold. The workmanship was more then acceptable. In those days my first plane cost $26.00, today the same plane is $79.00.
Since my first Mujingfang, I have purchased seven more of varying sizes. All are either Rosewood or ebony and with the exception of the chamfering plane all have preformed as they should. (the chamfering plane does the job but is much too aggressive regardless the set.)
My smallest planes are not toys and are invaluable for leveling proud inlay. The four largest planes are used on either the push or pull stroke. I have a small Neoprene faced hammer reserved to set these planes.

In any case, my experience with Mujingfang brand Chinese woodworking planes has been outstanding. Your experience and opinion may differ. Beware, there are imitations and there is dude claiming to be an American living in Beijing who says he will send you Mujingfang planes at a discount. Part of the problem is that Mujingfang does not stamp their name on their product so it’s best to purchase from a source that allows for returns.

(by the way, my assessment of most other Chinese products is at complete odds with this review)




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Belford

45 posts in 19 days



13 comments so far

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Desert_Woodworker

397 posts in 725 days


#1 posted 01-10-2017 03:22 AM

...to make “rice paper” shavings with a plane… Thanks for sharing

-- Desert_Woodworker

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woodbutcherbynight

2630 posts in 1920 days


#2 posted 01-10-2017 04:46 AM

what has been your source for these planes?

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Belford

45 posts in 19 days


#3 posted 01-10-2017 05:12 AM



what has been your source for these planes?

- woodbutcherbynight


http://www.woodcraft.com/category/HT126-01/Planes.aspx

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eflanders

119 posts in 1361 days


#4 posted 01-10-2017 07:04 PM

Are these planes mostly used as a pull type vs. a push type like the Stanley and Record planes?

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Belford

45 posts in 19 days


#5 posted 01-10-2017 07:48 PM



Are these planes mostly used as a pull type vs. a push type like the Stanley and Record planes?

- eflanders


Either.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1106 posts in 1500 days


#6 posted 01-10-2017 10:47 PM

I have several Mujingfang

Mujingfang Ebony Adj Chamfer Plane
Mujingfang Ebony Shoulder Plane
Mujingfang African Ebony European (horn) Style Smoother – 9-3/4” x 45° 2” HSS Blade
Mujingfang Rosewood 11” Jack Plane 45° 1-3/4” Blade
Mujingfang Rosewood 4” Smoother 63° 1-1/8” Blade
Mujingfang Rosewood 8-1/2” Smoother 63° 2” Blade
Mujingfang Rosewood Adj Plough Plane
Mujingfang Rosewood Block Plane 6” x 1-7/16” 45°

All of them required tuning to work best. Cleaning up the mouths for better chip flow, flattening the sole (very easy), and flattening/sharpening the blades (none were ready to use – I tune on my Veritas planes/blades as well). All but the shoulder and plough required bedding the blade to the body and the wedge to get best performance. The 63° smoothers, the horn style, and the 11” jack work very well. The step angle of the 63° prevents tearout, and the chip breaker with the jack and horn style does the same. The block plane is ok. Not as good as a low angle iron block on end grain, and not as good as an iron block with a higher cut angle with the grain, plus it’s not as ergonomic. I actually prefer the ergonomics of my iron planes vs these – easier on the hands and wrists. I guess I have better luck with my Stanleys than you do – I don’t have the constant issues you state. I have pretty good luck with the chamfer plane as well. The MF jack performs about equal to a #4 as far as results on the wood. All of the MF blades hold an edge well, and take longer to sharpen.

I think the Mujingfang planes are a great value. Be aware they need some tuning, and the ergonomics are different – each user has to decide if they are better/worse. Also, the adjustment process can be frustrating until a user gets experience – true for any woodie with an adjustment mechanism.

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MrRon

3966 posts in 2754 days


#7 posted 01-10-2017 10:53 PM

I have watched Japanese craftsmen using similar planes using a pull stroke. They seem to have better control of the planing action. While in Japan, I watched a man who was a national treasure use a plane that was about 10” wide with the blade facing up which he held with his feet and pulled the wood toward him. These guys have had hundreds of years of tradition to get to where they are today. You just can’t argue with that.

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NormG

5559 posts in 2515 days


#8 posted 01-11-2017 01:02 AM

I have seen Japanese craftsman cut laminate with their planes, both with the blade facing up and them pulling the wood across it and with the blade facing down pulling the plane toward them. You are correct they have great control from what I have seen and the hundreds of years of prior tradition has served them well.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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Belford

45 posts in 19 days


#9 posted 01-11-2017 02:33 AM

I use any plane either push or pull. If suddenly find myself planning against the grain (with any plane) I simply turn the plane around, rather then repositioning the wood or myself.
At Old Fort William in Canada the carpenter has a 72 inch plane with a 4 inch wide blade. The plane is positioned upside down and supported on the butt end with two supports about three feet long and the other end sits in a shallow box on the ground.
When making barrel staves he moves the wood over the stationary plane. Using either a pull stroke or push stroke depending on which side of the plane he stood. Although on which side he stood may have had much to do with his dwindling endurance toward the end of the work day.

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StumpyNubs

7004 posts in 2311 days


#10 posted 01-11-2017 02:59 PM

I have always been fascinated with eastern woodworking tools, but afraid to buy any because I don’t know what is good and what is junk. I shared a classroom with Wilber Pan at Woodworking in America last year (He taught one of his classes after I taught one of mine). I wish I had had more time to talk to him about his Japanese tools.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

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AZWoody

726 posts in 735 days


#11 posted 01-13-2017 05:29 PM



I have seen Japanese craftsman cut laminate with their planes, both with the blade facing up and them pulling the wood across it and with the blade facing down pulling the plane toward them. You are correct they have great control from what I have seen and the hundreds of years of prior tradition has served them well.

- NormG

I can’t remember where I saw it but I was watching a documentary on woodworking and the pulling technique, whether it be with the planes or the saw was less to do with technique but out of the societal traditions of fusing spirituality with everything they do. When pulling, they pull the spirit of the wood to themselves.

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builtinbkyn

704 posts in 451 days


#12 posted 01-17-2017 05:31 PM

Nice writeup and review. I’m tempted to give them a try. There web site is linked below. They appear to be a well formed company geared to serving craftsmen. The site lists all of their products. Woodwell Tools is the company that produces these planes.

Woodwell Tools

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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AaronK

1455 posts in 2975 days


#13 posted 01-17-2017 05:39 PM

interesting, thanks for the link. I recently bought Grizzly’s long rabbet plane (https://www.grizzly.com/products/Curved-Profile-Long-Rebate-Plane-Rosewood/T10270) figuring I could cut it shorter and use it as a shoulder plane. It looks a lot like Mujingfang’s version. I am not sure to what extent this is a more generic Asian style.

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