Japanese hand plane question...

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Forum topic by UncannyValleyWoods posted 04-23-2013 05:48 AM 1313 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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500 posts in 1376 days

04-23-2013 05:48 AM

I’m a newbie, so I certainly hope I am posting this question in the appropriate forum.

Recently, I found a genuine Japanese Hand Plane from the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

The blade is true, Japanese steel (so far as I can tell) and it is wedged in this darn plane so tightly I fear there is no possible way for me to retrieve it beyond cutting up the block around and retrieving it by force. I would hate to destroy the plane to save the blade, but as it is the whole thing is nothing more than a paper weight.

It’s a fine blade and I feel that if retrieved it will last a life time. If I do have to retrieve it by force, I am resigned to carve a new block for it to work within, but it would not by my ideal solution.

Any advice, apart from simply beating the hell out of it (I’ve tried) would be greatly appreciated.

-- Get Schwifty !

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


8403 posts in 3160 days

#1 posted 04-23-2013 05:53 AM

You know to whack the back end of the plane with a
hammer to loosen the wedge?

Japan is a more humid climate than so. Cal. so the planes
dry out and the irons can get stuck.

Read this:

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile


500 posts in 1376 days

#2 posted 04-23-2013 06:04 AM

Thanks for that link Loren. I definitely have tried whacking the end. No love though. Darn thing is in there tight.

-- Get Schwifty !

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2510 days

#3 posted 04-26-2013 12:09 AM

I would put it in the oven at about 120F for a few hours. Take it out and test occasionally. The wood should shrink enough after a while to get the iron out.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile


500 posts in 1376 days

#4 posted 04-26-2013 04:03 AM

David…I thought about doing that, but I was afraid the heat of the oven would cause the metal to expand and wedge tighter… Sounds like a a good idea though. I’m willing to give it a shot.

-- Get Schwifty !

View Loren's profile


8403 posts in 3160 days

#5 posted 04-26-2013 04:15 AM

I think you may crack the body if you dry it more.

Heating the iron with a propane torch will cause it
to expand a little and compress the wood. Heated
too much the wood will scorch. When the iron
cools off there may be a little play.

You might try putting the plane in the freezer
to see if you can shrink the iron a little.

View djwong's profile


167 posts in 2732 days

#6 posted 04-26-2013 05:01 AM

Having a tight plane body (dai) is better than having a loose one. Don’t even think about cutting out the blade and creating your own body. Unless you have some experience, I would not recommend it. The blade is held in place by a wedging action that is carefully cut when the body is made.

Hold the plane upright, with your hand holding the plane and the blade. Use a wood hammer and strike the upper corners of the plane body at the same angle as the blade. Alternate hitting both corners. It is not good practice to, but I sometimes also hit between the corners. Only strike the plane body on the upper edge, not the back. I have had some stubborn blades and they have always eventually come loose. You will be able to see the blade slowly working its way out as you strike it. I generally use an 8oz or 13oz hard oak hammer.

Check out this video –

Also check out the authors other videos on setting up a kanna.

Good luck

-- David W. Cupertino, CA

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