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How to use a Japanese wooden plane

Last Update:2008/4/1

Part names on a Japanese wood block plane

Types of planes

Blade gauge

(back plate width)
Old unit
50mm 40mm sun 2
55mm 45mm sun 3
60mm 50mm sun 4
65mm 56mm sun 6
70mm 62mm sun 8
80mm 68mm 2 sun

For beginners, a blade smaller than 60mm (A) would be recommended.

Wooden blocks

  Oak trees are different from Japanese cedars and pine trees, as the grain is postitioned radially from the center. The growth rings would be at right-angles on the wooden block.

Tree rings

- To avoid warping and quick wear, wooden blocks which have been soaked in rape seed oil can be used.

- There are many kinds of wooden blocks, thin blocks for extra-fine finishing, blocks where the mouth is made from ebony, red sandalwood, red oak, or the mouth surface is interchangeable with a sliding mechanism.

- To avoid cracks in the wood block, one can also use blocks which have ebony, red sandalwood, or bolts secured to the head of the block.

How to use

Adjusting the blade, and how to use

nbsp;nbsp;The sharpness of the Kanna (Japanese wooden block plane) is dependennt on the combination of the sharpness of the blade, preparation of the surface of bottom of the wooden block, and how the blade is placed. Since the wooden block can be effected by temperature and the humidity, constant adjustments to the blade end within the wooden block will have to be made.


  1. Do not leave in direct sunlight, even when using.
  2. Do not leave in damp area, or allow to get wet.
  3. When storing, do no remove the blades. Simply retract the blade tip slightly so the blade setting remains level. When stashing the block plane, place the bottom on its side, or facing upwards.
  4. Never allow the back of the blade to rust. After each sharpening session, throughly dry and wipe with oil.

Sharpening a plane blade

  1. Use appropriate whetstone according to the wear of the blade. Move from coarse to fine grade whetstones.
  2. Do not apply forceful pressure.
  3. Start with a little bit of water. When whetstone juice is present, reduce the amount of water.
  4. Maintain the same angle as the original blade.

Contact us

International Affairs Section Regional Management Division Sanjo City Office
Address: 3-1 Asahicho2, Sanjo-shi, Niigata 955-8686
Tel: +81 (0256) 34-5511 (ext.403)
Fax:  +81 (0256) 36-5111

Sanjo City Office/955-8686 3-1 Asahicho2, Sanjo-shi, Niigata
Tel:+81 256-34-5511 (ext.314) Fax:+81 256-34-7933

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