Clean Wood

Redwoods

Infringe upon the rights of no one. Borrow no tool but what you will return according to promise. Take no wood, nor anything else but what belongs to you – and if you find anything that is not your own, do not hide it away, but report it, that the owner may be found.

Brigham Young

In this post your humble servant will offer some advice that, if followed, will save Gentle Readers time, money, and wear and tear on their valuable woodworking tools. These are not original techniques; I stole them long ago from professional woodworkers in Japan. Wise Gentle Readers will be as bold.

Inspection & Questions

Before we go any further, Gentle Reader, do me a favor. Check the soles of your steel planes. Unless they haven’t been used much, you will probably discover scratches, some of them may even be quite deep. Do you think whatever made these scratches might also have dulled the cutting edges of your planes at the same time?

What could have possibly created these scratches? Have iron pixies been using your planes to shave bricks?

Unless you have a serious pixie infestation, it probably wasn’t anything as large as a brick, but rather tiny particles in or on the wood you have been cutting. Could these vicious, hard particles have grown naturally inside the tree the wood you are using came from? Is there anything that grows naturally inside a tree that is harder than a plane blade’s cutting edge and big enough to cause such deep scratches? Perhaps these abrasive particles were maliciously concealed inside the growing tree by compadres of the shambling horde of 6-armed, green-skinned, Fanta-guzzling aliens that follow me everywhere?

Or could the damage have been caused by nails, screws or staples left in the wood? Perhaps. Pixie toenail clippings? Happens more often than we realize. Tiny fragments of a divorce lawyer’s heart? Maybe, but they are rare and tougher than stellite. No, it’s more likely the culprit is something harder and more insidious than even Murphy’s pointy purple pecker, a substance all around us, one we often ignore.

Nitty Gritty

Logging Redwoods in Humbolt County California, 1905

Politics and journalism aside, we live in a dusty, dirty world, and although the steel in your tool blades is very hard, ordinary dust and dirt contain plenty of particles much harder. I guaran-frikin-tee you that collision with even a small particle of mineral grit embedded in the surface of a piece of wood can and will damage a blade’s cutting edge.

You may believe the damage is minimal and of little concern, but every time your blade becomes dull, you must resharpen it. Every sharpening session costs you time pushing the blade around on stones, time not spent cutting wood. And sharpening turns expensive blades and stones into mud. This is time and money wasted, lost forever.

And the abrasive action of dirt and grit embedded in wood is not hard on just chisel blades, plane blades and the soles of steel planes, but is even harder on sawteeth and wooden planes.

The damage is not limited to just your handtools either. Take a closer look at the steel tables of your stationary equipment such as your jointer or tablesaw. Unless they are new, you will find scratches. Has that pervert Murphy been smokin dope and humpin sumpin on your jointer’s bed when you weren’t looking?

Nay, Gentle Reader, supernatural causes aside, and unless you have been grinding legal beagle body parts in your workshop, these scratches are clear evidence that the wood you’ve been working is neither as clean as it looks, nor as clean as it should be. You’ve gotta do something about that.

Ruba Dub Dub

So what can you do? Strange as it may seem, the simplest and surest way to get rid of dirt and grit is to follow your mother’s instructions about the cleaning the bathtub: Simply wash it with soap, water and a scrub brush, followed by a rinse.

Bet you never thought of washing wood before have you?

The idea is to wet, scrub and quickly rinse the dirt and grit off the wood, not to make the wood soaking wet, so none of that “rinse and repeat” nonsense, and don’t get carried away with the hose. A bit of dishwashing soap or borax mixed in the water bucket will help lift out dirt and grit.

Don’t forget to pat each board down immediately afterwards with clean rags to remove surface water. Then separate each board, stand it on stickers on-end, or rest it on-edge, and allow time and circulating air to dry it out of the sun.

Remember to wet both sides of each board to minimize warping. And don’t soak a lot of water into the ends.

Disclaimer: It is not well suited for thin material or laminated wood products that might easily warp, or if you are in a hurry, or if you lack adequate space to properly air-dry the wood. 

Whether you wash the wood with water or not, be sure to do at least the following two steps on every board before you process it with your valuable tools.

Scrub Scrub Scrub

First, use a steel wire brush to dry-scrub all the board’s faces both with and across the grain. Yes, I know it makes the surface rougher. Tough pixie toenails. Scrubbing with a stiff steel brush is extremely effective at removing dust, dirt, embedded particles of grit, and even small stones from long grain. Give it a try and you will both see and smell the dirt and particles expelled. Pretty nasty stuff sometimes.

Saw Saw Saw

Second, and this is supremely important, before planing a board either by hand or using powertools, saw 2~3mm off both ends. This is why you have that circular saw with the carbide-tipped blade. If you can’t do that, at least use a steel block plane, drawknife, or other tool to chamfer all eight corners of the board’s ends to remove both surface dirt and embedded grit.

This step is critical because grit and even small stones frequently become so deeply embedded in endgrain that even a steel brush can’t dig them out. But sure as God made little green apples, Murphy will place them directly in the path of your plane blade.

If you do these things, your tools will thank you over many years with abundant chips, shiny shavings and cheerful little songs. Promise.

Yosemite Valley California, 1865

YMHOS

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our tools, please use the questions form located immediately below. Please share your insights and comments with everyone in the form located further below labeled “Leave a Reply.” We aren’t evil Google, incompetent facebook, or thuggish Twitter and so won’t sell, share, or profitably “misplace” your information. If I lie may the bird of paradise fly up my nose.

Kinshiro Planes 金四郎鉋

Does the Japanese plane in the photo above look a little strange? It should. It’s a specialized plane for cutting decorative latticework used in traditional Japanese joinery and casework. There are more photos of this plane below.

We have a limited number of planes in-stock by a famous craftsman that used the brand name “Kinshiro” 金四郎 when he was active. This brand name translates to “golden fourth man.” It was once common in Japan to give male children names that reflected their order of birth.

Kinshiro is a Niigata Prefecture solo craftsman named Kuriyama Noboru 栗山昇. Born in 1932, he is the second generation in this line. The brand name came from his father’s name, “Kinshiro,” the first craftsman in the line, and reportedly a very severe master. Mr. Kuriyama retired in December 2011. 

Mr. Kuriyama specialized in making plane bodies, but made various other tools as well, including marking gauges, cutting gauges, and kudegoshi using blades provided by his distributor. Mr. Kuriyama’s dual-blade marking gauges (二丁鎌毛引き) are famous even outside Japan.

The blades were forged by a Niigata Prefecture blacksmith named Ishibashi Kenji, who has since left us for the big woodpile in the sky. Mr. Ishibashi used Aogami No.1 steel. I assume he used jigane from the same bridge in Yokohama that Niigata blacksmiths are still using today.

Small tool blades are a niche market served by specialist blacksmiths, so you may have not heard of Ishibashi Kenji-san before, but whatever you do, please do not mistake him with Ishibashi Toshichiro, a Niigata blacksmith who made standard plane blades and got in trouble for unknowingly making weapons for the Yakuza. Tsk tsk. Toshichiro’s blades were unimpressive.

Kinshiro’s products are well-known for their precision, functionality, extremely high quality and subtle style. We have been using Kinshiro products for many years with absolute satisfaction. They have always been expensive, but worth every penny. They have not decreased in value since his retirement.

Although new, and of course never used, these planes are old stock and a few of the blocks have some patina.

Most of them are extremely rare and are no longer made anywhere in Japan. When they are gone there will be no more. We wish we could hold onto them forever, but the time has come to release them into the world.

If you like rare collectable Japanese planes and appreciate exceptional craftsmanship, these will interest you. But don’t wait too long.

The Kinshiro planes we have in-stock are listed in the table below. Prices and more photos are the link below. Even if you aren’t interested in purchasing a Kinshiro plane, the photos are worth seeing. Be our guest. If you have questions please use the Questions Form below.

Link to Photos and Pricelist

ミニ組子 青海波 和風雑貨 インテリア 欄間サンプル タニハタ
ミニ組子 分銅輪つなぎ 和風雑貨 インテリア 欄間サンプル 組子欄間 タニハタ
Kinshiro PlanesWidth
Ireko moulding plane 入子面鉋27mm
Ireko moulding plane 入子面鉋36mm
Etemen Adjustable Chamfer Plane 猿面鉋 30mm 30 °/ 60°
Kiwaganna Skewed Rabbet Plane right hand36mm
Kiwaganna Skewed Rabbet Plane left hand36mm
Kiwaganna Small Skewed Rabbet Plane right hand single blade30mm
Kiwaganna Small Skewed Rabbet Plane right hand single blade15mm
Ovolo Moulding Plane 銀杏面鉋6mm
Ovolo Moulding Plane 銀杏面鉋9mm
Ovolo Moulding Plane 銀杏面鉋15mm
Flat Ovolo Moulding Plane 平銀杏面鉋5.4mm
Flat Ovolo Moulding Plane 平銀杏面鉋6mm
Flat Ovolo Moulding Plane 平銀杏面鉋12mm
Ogee Moulding Plane 瓢箪面鉋6mm
Ogee Moulding Plane 瓢箪面鉋7.5mm
Ogee Moulding Plane 瓢箪面鉋9mm
Ogee Moulding Plane 瓢箪面鉋12mm
Ogee Moulding Plane 瓢箪面鉋15mm
Ogee Moulding Plane 瓢箪面鉋18mm
Ogee Moulding Plane 瓢箪面鉋24mm
Roundover Moulding Plane 坊主面鉋4.5mm
Roundover Moulding Plane 坊主面鉋7.5mm
Roundover Moulding Plane 坊主面鉋9mm
Small Roundover Moulding Plane 豆坊主面鉋2mm
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋9㎜
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋12㎜
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋15㎜
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋18㎜
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋21㎜
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋24㎜
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋36㎜
Round Moulding Plane 外丸鉋42㎜
Hollow Moulding Plane 内丸鉋7.5㎜
Hollow Moulding Plane 内丸鉋9㎜
Hollow Moulding Plane 内丸鉋30㎜
45° Mitre Plane 留め鉋 (SOLD OUT)18㎜
Narrow Chamfer Plane 糸面鉋3㎜
Hanagata Kumiko Plane Square No.1 Extra-large 花形組子 角1号特大
Hanagata Kumiko Plane Round No.3 Large 花形組子 3号丸
Osaka Dado Plane 大阪作里18㎜

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our tools, please use the questions form located immediately below. Please share your insights and comments with everyone in the form located further below labeled “Leave a Reply.”

Japanese Planes – Mitre Plane 留鉋

道具屋の展示会で掘り出し物に出会うの巻。
#wood #woodworking #woods #金四郎 #留鉋#当時の値段#バイブス#宍戸建具店 #南相馬市#鉋
A Tomeganna Plane by Kinshiro (Kuriyama Noboru)

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.

YMHOS

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our tools, please use the questions form located immediately below. Please share your insights and comments with everyone in the form located further below labeled “Leave a Reply.” We aren’t evil Google or incompetent facebook and so won’t sell, share, or conveniently and profitably “misplace” your information.