How the Master Craftsmen have Created the Most Incredible Japanese Hand Tool

How the Master Craftsmen have Created the Most Incredible Japanese Hand Tool.

The modern Kanna is made of essentially only 4 parts, the dai or body of the plane, most often made of shiragashi (Japanese white oak), the blade made of very hard steel laminated to a softer iron or steel backing, the osae-gane (lit; control iron ~ chip breaker) and osae-bou chip breaker pin. While the number of parts is already low, the chip breaker and it’s pin can be considered superfluous in a well tuned kanna reducing the number of parts to a scant two, blade and body. It has been said that “a plane is only a blade holder”, and in the case of a kanna, it would appear that the saying has significant merit.

However simple a kanna may appear to be, it is very much a study of subtlety. The devil, they say, is in the details.

Starting with the wooden dai, chosen to be economical of material, economical of effort, easy to adjust as needed and replaced without emotion when required.

The blade, thick and solid to add mass to the blade and prevent any chance of chatter, laminated with a small section of hard steel and main section of soft iron to allow easy sharpening and hollowed on the back side so that little of that hard steel needs to be abraded when sharpening and also allow the shaving to pass by without undue hindrance.

The chip breaker, again elemental often being little more than a bent piece of steel or iron, also laminated in the case of better kanna, there are no frills.

The pin, no more than a steel rod, precisely positioned in the body.

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