Cool Asian Hand Tools

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Forum topic by Thuzmund posted 12-10-2016 05:21 PM 795 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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151 posts in 1834 days

12-10-2016 05:21 PM

I don’t speak Chinese, but I really liked this video about Chinese hand tool woodworkers.

If you use your imagination you can figure out what many tools are for. This one is a distance gauge, a little like a mortise gauge:

I liked this solution for keeping files and chisels secured (though I wouldn’t put super-expensive chisels in something like this):

And this is a simple solution to jointing an edge:

For the guy who has everything:

I had a friend tell me what they said in the very beginning of the video. A craftsman said, “As long as I can buy iron, I can make any of my tools.” I can respect that!

There are a lot of great ideas and inspiration here. A lot of our ideas about what a tool should look like, etc., reflect what we know. For instance, I will try to put horizontal handles on a homemade plane soon. I would have never thought about that, but it’s worth a try.

You have to figure that anyone working with wood, at any time and in any place, always faces the same problems. How to secure wood, measure and mark, split, cut, etc. If you feel like you’ve seen everything, look further out :)

-- Here to learn

7 replies so far

View bandit571's profile


21801 posts in 2889 days

#1 posted 12-10-2016 05:27 PM

Wait until you try a plane like this one…

Had a tough time finding a couple square nuts to fit into the slots…

As for the cross handles

They are driven in with a friction fit, no glue used….

( I might try to make one of those frame saws…)

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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151 posts in 1834 days

#2 posted 12-10-2016 07:13 PM

Wow! Are those Asian tools?

I love how the front of the plane has a carved area to push against instead of a separate piece of wood like the common western style.

I can’t understand how the jointing plane’s extra piece (guiding board) is attached to the plane though. How do those screws work?

-- Here to learn

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3696 posts in 2457 days

#3 posted 12-10-2016 07:16 PM

I thought those planes were pulled not pushed into the cut like Western planes. Maybe that’s just Japanese planes and not all Asian planes. Good video.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

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21801 posts in 2889 days

#4 posted 12-10-2016 07:36 PM

The “guiding board” is an adjustable fence

I could set the width of the cut by loosening the two bolts, slide the fence a bit, and tighten the fence in place.

Both of these planes are Traditional Chinese style planes.

On the jack plane, the index fingers go along the side of the top of the plane, the rest of the fingers go around the handle. Both thumbs sit behind the iron. And you just push away from your body to use. The handle goes through a through mortise behind the opening for the iron.

Both came from watching videos made by a GE Hong ( some have closed captioning in english) and he is speaking a form of Mandarin….

Was fun watching him use a chisel for chopping a mortise…...

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Thuzmund's profile


151 posts in 1834 days

#5 posted 12-10-2016 07:53 PM

Thanks so much for sharing! It’s really fascinating to think about tools as something you make and not always something you buy. I will check out those videos you mentioned.

-- Here to learn

View MrRon's profile


5203 posts in 3449 days

#6 posted 12-11-2016 09:24 PM

Those guys are true craftsmen. They don’t depend on fancy tools to make great pieces. We could all learn from them.

View JohnChung's profile


416 posts in 2280 days

#7 posted 12-14-2016 03:22 PM

Very good video there. It amazes me at times how far they went with so little.

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