This is a brief post about an unusual Japanese plane made by an unusual craftsman and used in an unusual way, or at least one not seen often in the West.
The plane is called the “Tome ganna” written 留鉋 which means “mitre plane.” In this case, mitre does not necessarily mean just a standard 45 ° mitre as in a picture frame corner, but the planes pictured above are indeed intended to cut a 45 ° mitre for corner joints between two boards.
It is specialized for cutting a critical part of the secret dovetail mitre joint used for casework, and is a standard tool for cabinetmakers and sashimonoshi in Japan.
The plane rides on its beveled sides when shooting the mitre joint.
This page has illustrations of how to cut this joint the Japanese way using this plane.
This job can be done using jigs and chisels, shoulder planes, or better yet, kiwaganna, but the tomeganna is better balanced and handier, can cut either direction more precisely and quicker, so is a must-have for advanced casework.
If you enjoy casework, the secret dovetail mitre is a challenging joint you really should give a try. The results are great fun, even if they aren’t flashy.
The excellent Mr. David Charlesworth has even produced a video sold by Lie-Nielson about how to make this joint, although he uses a jig and a paring chisel to good effect.
This is a link to a pricelist and pictures of our limited number of planes by the famous craftsman Kinshiro. You might find the story and photographs interesting.
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