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Old 05-29-2011, 10:24 PM
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Default New Tsunesaburo

While at the William Ng School I picked up a Tsunesaburo 48mm Meigoryoumo plane. Tsunesaburo is one of the most well known plane makers in Japan, and has been in business for three generations. William imports these planes.

The iron is Super Blue Steel laminated to kamaji with a mokume finish. The dai (body) has a closed tsutsumi style mouth opening in shiragashi (Japanese white oak).

The blade has to be fitted to the dai, and the dai has to be trued. Setting these planes up can be a tricky process, so William spent some time with me to show me how it's done. I think it's going to be fun.






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Old 05-29-2011, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

It looks so simple, John. But I bet it takes a while to figure out how to use it well. Have fun!

I have a Japanese friend whose last name is Tsutsumi. I wonder what it means?
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

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Originally Posted by Poto View Post

It looks so simple, John. But I bet it takes a while to figure out how to use it well. Have fun!
Well, there sure aren't many parts.

But the iron has to be ground to fit the dai, the chip breaker has to be flattened to fit the iron, and the ramp of the dai has to be chiseled to allow the iron to slide in just enough for proper cut thickness. Then the sole has to be flattened. William uses a card scraper to make a slight hollow in the center of the sole, then flattens the outside edges. This reduces friction on the pull.


From Japan Wooworker:

The first time user should be aware that Kanna do not arrive from the maker ready for use. All best quality Japanese plane bodies (Dai) are made from select, air-dried Japanese Red Oak (Akagashi) or Japanese White Oak (Shirogashi). When the planes come from Japan to the drier U.S. climate some shrinkage occurs. Actually, shrinkage also occurs in Japan, and the Japanese woodworker expects to adjust or "condition" his plane.

The first step is to flatten the sole. There are several ways to do this. However, the easiest for the first time user is to use sandpaper on a flat surface, such as a table saw top. With the plane iron and chip breaker inserted tightly into the Dai, rub the sole a few times across #220 grit sandpaper placed on the flat surface. Inspect the sole and observe the sanding marks. Take a sharp chisel or plane iron and scrape the areas showing sanding marks. Again, rub on the sandpaper and repeat scraping until the sole is flat. This will be obvious because there will be even sanding marks the length and width of the sole. GO SLOWLY!

An easier way to scrape the sole is to use a Japanese Scraping Plane (Dainaoshi Ganna), our #01.240. The Dainaoshi Ganna is used across the grain of the sole. It is worked from the blade slot to the front of the Dai, and from the blade slot to the back of the Dai. Flatness can be tested either with a straight edge or with sandpaper on a flat surface.

Now remove the iron and chip breaker by striking the back of the Dai with a wood-mallet. Place the plane iron hollow side down on a flat coarse (#1000 or #1200 grit) water stone and hone with even pressure directly above the bevel until the area immediately behind the edge is flat from one side to the other. Now rub on a #6000 or #8000 grit finish stone until well polished. Next hone the bevel side on a coarse water stone until the "wire edge" is obtained. Then alternately hone the hollow and bevel sides on the finish stone until well polished. Use about 5 strokes on the bevel for each stoke on the back.

Now remove the iron and chip breaker by striking the back of the Dai with a wood-mallet. Place the plane iron hollow side down on a flat coarse (#1000 or #1200 grit) water stone and hone with even pressure directly above the bevel until the area immediately behind the edge is flat from one side to the other. Now rub on a #6000 or #8000 grit finish stone until well polished. Next hone the bevel side on a coarse water stone until the "wire edge" is obtained. Then alternately hone the hollow and bevel sides on the finish stone until well polished. Use about 5 strokes on the bevel for each stoke on the back.

To fit the chip breaker, place it in position on the iron. Be sure it does not rock on the iron. Any adjustment is made by tapping down one tab (found at the top of the chip breaker) or the other until the chip breaker sits evenly on the iron . Now hone the chip breaker hollow side down on a coarse grit water stone until a flat area is established directly behind the edge. Next polish this area on a finish stone. Turn the chip breaker over and sharpen at an angle of 20 on a coarse water stone until the edge is sharp, then polish the bevel and hollow side on a finish stone. Finally, hold the chip breaker at an 85 angle to the finish stone and make a dozen or so strokes. This will add a secondary or "micro bevel" on the chip breaker. The ideal chip breaker breaks the shaving without offering any further resistance.

Because of the shrinkage of the plane body, initially it is unlikely the plane iron will protrude through the sole.

So, first push the iron into the Dai by hand as far as possible. There should be some sideways (lateral) movement of the iron. If not, remove the iron and with a narrow chisel pare a slight amount from each side of the opening for the iron. This will allow lateral movement for the plane iron and will eliminate the chance of cracking the Dai as the iron is driven in.

Replace the iron and push it by hand into the Dai as far as possible. Inspect the opening at the sole . If the iron is within 1/16" of the opening, it should be possible to tap the top of the iron with a mallet or small hammer until the edge protrudes through the sole. If the edge is greater than 1/16" from the opening, remove the iron and rub a soft lead pencil on the sides and back of the iron. Now push the iron by hand as far as possible into the body.

Remove and carefully pare, scrape or rasp the area of the Dai marked with the pencil lead until it is removed. Replace the iron, and check if it is now within 1/16" of the opening. If not, repeat the above procedure. Normally two or three times will suffice. Check the sole from time to time to ensure it has remained flat.

When the iron is finally fitted and in place, inspect the width of the edge of the iron at the opening. The edge should NOT be wider than the width of the throat. It will generally be necessary to grind or hone away additional material from the corners of the iron's edges. Inspection of the iron will show that the corners have been partially removed by the maker. The user must make final adjustments. If the corners are not fitted, it is possible for a chip to lodge between in the iron and the slot in the Dai. If this happens, the good cutting effect will be lost until the chip is removed.

At this time, check the chip breaker to ensure that it can slide easily into the Dai. If the Dai is two narrow, pare off a bit of the sides so the chip breaker can be easily inserted into place.

This completes adjustment for the small smoothing or polishing planes.






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Old 05-30-2011, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

So it's a bevel up? What's the bed angle? Blade angle? It looks very high angle.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

Japanese planesare completelydifferent to western, and they are harder to master IMO. With western we all want a dead flat sole, with Japanese just two or three points of the sole shoud be flat and level.. The toe, just before the blade and at the heel.
Johns kanna has the chipbreaker, and are the easier ones to master. Johns will probably have two flat points, at the toe and just before the blade. The rest is scraped away a hairs thinkness.. More or less depending on the way to want the kanna to cut.
I hear that blue steel has slighty better wear resistance to the White stee, but White can take a better edge..
John get yourself a set of tasai blue steel chisels, you'll probably never use all those others you have again
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

I always think the dai angle for Japanese dai's are too low for hard woods. Japanese planes were made for use with hinoki and cedar.

Last edited by Okami; 05-30-2011 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

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Originally Posted by Okami View Post

John get yourself a set of tasai blue steel chisels, you'll probably never use all those others you have again.
Okami, I did get this set:



Because of the laminated blade it's so easy to hone a very sharp edge. I've already found out several times this week that they'll slice through human flesh like it was warm butter.


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Old 05-30-2011, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

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Originally Posted by Poto View Post

So it's a bevel up? What's the bed angle? Blade angle? It looks very high angle.
Bevel down. Bevel up=no chip breaker.

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Old 05-30-2011, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

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Originally Posted by joraft View Post




If it's a bevel down, then either I don't know the chipbreaker from the blade, or I'm seeing something wrong. Is the blackish metal with the silver edge the blade? If so, then in the top picture it looks like it's sitting with its bevel facing up. With the chipbreaker behind it.

Or am I mixing up the blade and chipbreaker?



(Postscript: Ah - after some research I see that I am mixing up the chipbreaker and blade. D'oh!)
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Last edited by Poto; 05-30-2011 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: New Tsunesaburo

Sharpening Japanese steels is a joy you're right john, it's easy and deadly sharp. You don't really need a secondary honing bevel with Japanese chisels and blades, and that makes free hand on the stone quick and effective
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