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Old 11-05-2011, 05:23 PM
musicadivine musicadivine is offline
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Default Japanese Kanna, chisels & Western Planes, chisels

Hello,

I am just in a process of ordering several hand tools for my years long wish of making guitars and some help would be very nice. I ordered some different DVDs & Books and I saw there are several ways to do things. Being woodworker for 18 years, I worked with power tools & laquers almoust exclusivly and it bacame something I would love to escape as soon as possible. I decided that I want to use hand tools moustly for guitar. I already bought some tools (Low angle Veritas Apron plane, Schneider brace plane, calipers, knives, scrapers, gouges ect.) few years ago when I helped in restoration shop for a while, but most important tools like Hand planes, chisels and saws I need to buy now. I decided to go moustly Japanese this time with Saws, spokeshave & probably chisels??, but I am not sure for planes??? I already have Veritas apron as small allpurpose. But I need plane for Jointing and plane for thicknessing the Spruce Top & Rosewood/Maple Back and sides.
If I understood properly, luthiers usualy use low angle Bevel up planes for Jointing and higher 40-55 angle, Bevel down Smoothing planes like nu. 4 1/2 for thicknessing. Any recomendation in Lie Nielsen or Veritas line what works the best? It's even more confusing as many come in low and normal angle version? Mybe any great allround plane? Or Anyone use LN no. 9 Mitre plane for both purposes?

Now my prefered idea - Japanese Kanna: I expect that it will take longer innitialy to get used of Kanna pull stroke and even more to setting up the sole and blade and also to learn how to use it. Is anyone out there who use Kanna for guitar making? Can you use it for Jointing & Thicknessing ect. Also I am not sure if Kanna (with Blue paper steel) can work great on dense tropical woods like EIR, BRW, Wenge, Padauk... I am sure it would work exceptional on spruce.
1 more - is it better to use Paring Japanese chisels instead of the one with hoops & which steel you recomend for luthiers; white vs blue Paper or toughter variation of White called YC3?

Anyway, I already got advice from Brian Burns that Japanese chisels are moustly too hard and fragile and planes very hard to master, but it's hard not to ask 1 more time, to mybe find anyone who use them with great success.
Any advice or experiences would be helpfull a lot, , AA
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:26 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicadivine View Post
If I understood properly, luthiers usualy use low angle Bevel up planes for Jointing and higher 40-55 angle, Bevel down Smoothing planes like nu. 4 1/2 for thicknessing. Any recomendation in Lie Nielsen or Veritas line what works the best? It's even more confusing as many come in low and normal angle version? Mybe any great allround plane? Or Anyone use LN no. 9 Mitre plane for both purposes?
The #9 mitre plane is a specialty (read limited-application) plane. It is intended for use with a shooting board, mostly for end grain (90, 45 or other angles) and truing edges. It can be used to joint tops and backs. It is definitely not an ideal choice for a smoothing plane for thicknessing materials. A 4 1/2 is a traditional all-around smoothing plane, good for thicknessing materials. A low angle smoothing or jack plane are also good choices.

The choice of bevel-up, bevel-down and frog angle depend upon the grain of the specific piece of wood being worked - one works better in some situations, another in other situations. You can achieve the same result as a high angle frog using a regular frog, but with the blade sharpened to a different angle - use two blades with the same frog, one blade sharpened to one angle, the other to a different angle to simulate the high angle frog.

For jointing, I'd recommend a jointing plane such as a # 7 or #8. If you are on a budget, a low angle jack plane could double as a jointing plane. Any plane used for jointing with a shooting board must have its sides machined square to its base - so that it can lie on its side and still cut a vertical surface. Some of the bevel-up LN planes don't.

In all cases ensure that the planes you buy have an adjustable throat. This is critical.

If you haven't looked at them, Woodcrafts line of Woodriver planes are very good value for the money.

Can't help with advice on Japanese planes.

The hoops on chisels, Japanese or Western, are there to facilitate whacking them with a mallet without mushrooming the chisel ends. With the exception of hand-splitting braces, there isn't a great deal of whacking-with-a-mallet in guitar making. Generally, most any set of woodworking chisels will work fine for guitar making. You can go high-end or not. My favorites for instrument making are those sold by LMI, though, at least when I bought them many years ago, they were pretty roughly prepared and required considerable work before they were ready for use:


Last edited by charles Tauber; 11-05-2011 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:25 PM
tadol tadol is offline
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I would stick with western planes initially, and try out japanese planes as you have time. Past experience is that if you eventually decide to go all japanese kanna, you will have no problem selling your high quality western planes, but high quality japanese planes are difficult to sell if you want to buy some western planes. My experience is the learning curve is much shorter to get great results consistently from western planes.

For chisels, you can get some great used and antique chisels cheap, but it is alot harder to find (and evaluate) used japanese chisels. New tools you have to rely on the dealer, and there are some incredibly good chisels being made - but they are not cheap.

The one thing you need to really invest in is a good sharpening system. Without that, your investment in any good edge tools is almost pointless - I hope you've already planned for that!
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:51 AM
musicadivine musicadivine is offline
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Thank you for all the help and answers. I think I will go with Veritas planes as they are more than great. But would still like to own Kanna someday - it looks so simple and organic & still can make exceptional work. Regards , AA
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:41 PM
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murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Any plane used for jointing with a shooting board must have its sides machined square to its base - so that it can lie on its side and still cut a vertical surface.
Obviously it is preferable to have a plane whose sides are in fact dead square to the sole, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is an absolute necessity.

It is a simple matter to affix a long thin shim to the shooting board which will bring the plane sole vertical, and such a fix is a lot easier than having the sides re-machined.

What is essential, and worth spending time on, is making sure that the sole itself is truly flat, or at the very least making sure that the toe , heel, and the sole in front of the mouth are all co-planar.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:37 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
Obviously it is preferable to have a plane whose sides are in fact dead square to the sole, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is an absolute necessity.

It is a simple matter to affix a long thin shim to the shooting board which will bring the plane sole vertical, and such a fix is a lot easier than having the sides re-machined.
The original question was about buying planes suitable for thicknessing and joining tops and backs. If one is purchasing a plane specifically for the purpose of joining tops and backs, and one chooses to use a shooting board to do it, my advice remains to purchase a plane who's sides are square to its sole. Sure you can buy a plane that isn't and then fool with shimming the shooting board just right for that one plane, but why would you want to add that effort if you're going out to buy a new plane specifically for that purpose?
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