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  1. #1
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    Default Japanese Planes Vs Western Planes????

    Ok, I live in Japan and have access to Japanese planes etc. I have used your standard Stanley/Lie Nielsen type planes all my life, but which does a better job?

    From what I can tell the Japanese planes require much more tinkering, but when they are dialed in they seem to do the best job. Am I wrong or right?

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  3. #2
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    Dec 2008
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    Adelaide, SA
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    Quote Originally Posted by JapanDave View Post
    Ok, I live in Japan and have access to Japanese planes etc. I have used your standard Stanley/Lie Nielsen type planes all my life, but which does a better job?

    From what I can tell the Japanese planes require much more tinkering, but when they are dialed in they seem to do the best job. Am I wrong or right?
    Interesting question...have you tried emailing Stuart from toolsfromjapan for his thoughts?

  4. #3
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    Sep 2009
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    Minnesota, USA
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    Sharp is what counts whether it is a wooden plane or an iron plane, whether you push it or pull it, since you are in japan and have access to Japanese planes use them. "when in rome".

  5. #4
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    Nov 2007
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    Lawrencetown, NS, Canada
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    It's really up to the user to make a tool work well. Some might describe adjusting a Japanese plane as "tinkering", while to others lugging the weight of a western plane is a "chore". Ultimately (and objectively), its about the results and not the tool(s).

  6. #5
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    May 2010
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    Wellington, NZ
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    The philosophies behind western and Japanese planes really are very different. With the Japanese plane, most of the value is in the blade, but for Western planes it's more evenly split, with greater value in the body etc.

    Having recently acquired a half-decent Japanese plane (Tsunesanboro Doshyoppone), I have to say I'm leaning more towards the east on this one. It's works stunningly well and IMO was fantastic value for money. And it worked right out of the box - no tinkering required.

  7. #6
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    Jul 2005
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    Oberon, NSW
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    Technically, I don't have a clue.

    However, in practice I found I have far better control with a japanese plane.

    Even accounting for all the fiddling to set it up just so, I find I finish the job more quickly; once in use I don't have to keep one eye on my technique and another on what I'm doing... I just "use it."
    I may be weird, but I'm saving up to become eccentric.

    - Andy Mc (AKA "Ghost who posts." )

  8. #7
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    Sep 2009
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    Minnesota, USA
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    Default

    Planes have more to do with physics than philosophy. Good steel is fairly equal worldwide, wood is wood and people are people. The best bevel angle for an iron, and the best bed angle for a plane for a specific type of wood do not change anywhere in the world. If there were two planes on a table, one western, one Japanese, both made for the same task, one is sharp the other is dull, I would choose the sharp one.
    It is also important that we don't confuse the issue because we are comparing iron planes to wooden ones, we can do that with western planes alone. I have a friend who uses western planes, he says they have 3 parts and have wooden bodies.

    I wonder what they call a plane from western Japan, or a plane used in a Japanese Western film?

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by msiemsen View Post
    Good steel is fairly equal worldwide
    Except in Japan, where it's better

  10. #9
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    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    One factor that is often forgotten when comparing tools from different cultures is how they are used. There is a difference between how traditional Japanese and Western Woodworkers use tools. Try using a Stanley #4 while sitting on the floor and you will quickly find out why Japanese planes and saws more effective in that working position. Depending of what is being cut and planed, it just so happens that Japanese planes and saws can also be effective when working in a standing position, but the reverse does not always apply.

  11. #10
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    Apr 2012
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    Japan
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    Ok, so I have my eye on a Kanna made by Masato Yokosaka. Can some one tell me if there will be great differences between some of these top guys.(A very broad question which leaves a lot open for discussion, which I am hoping for mind you) Cheers

  12. #11
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    Jan 2010
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    Range View, Australia
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    East, west, dear or cheap, much depends on the one doing the pushing or pulling.
    Cheers, Bill

  13. #12
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    Nov 2011
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    Vancouver
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    I'm sure a kanna made by Masato Yokosaka would be a pleasure to use, as would any hand forged blade. A bigger difference can probably be found in the choice of blade materials. As with western planes, the most prized kanna seem to be the smoothing planes.

    I've been familiarizing myself with kanna by buying them used and learning their ins and outs. For most western/metal planes there is an equivalent kanna, and there are many ways a kanna can be tuned... so I guess my suggestion would be to invest in a set of lower grade tools, which can perform quite excellently given the right tuning. That way, when you make the leap to a higher grade tool you can get more value out of it and take care of your investment.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
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    For softwoods I prefer Japanese/eastern style planes. Laminated Japanese high carbon steel blades are tempered harder and keep their edge longer than western high carbon steel plane blades.

    When it comes to hardwoods (we have most of the hardest here in Australia*) I find that even the hardest tempered high carbon steel just doesn't keep a cutting edge, even HSS struggles on some our hardwoods. The Japanese blades makers do produce HSS chisels but hardly ever HSS plane blades. So a western style plane with a HSS blade is a better option for such hardwoods, although my Terry Gordon plane with a 60 deg. pitch HSS blade is a 'hybrid' that does work well on these timbers.

    Once you learn to use a wooden body plane it take little or no more time to adjust than an iron body plane. The blade itself, as distinct from adjusting the blade in the plane body, is another matter. The Kanna (and for that matter nomi) blades do require more effort to prepare and maintain, but that effort is rewarded with the durability of the edge and quality of the finish when working with soft to medium density woods.

    Having both eastern and western planes I reach for a wooden body plane in preference to an western iron body plane and only go western when I have to do so on our extremely hard woods.

    If I was in Japan (or most areas of the Nth hemisphere) I would definitely be going with Japanese planes.

    Neil
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    * the hardest known of all is Buloke which grows locally here in South Australia, which I do use from time to time:
    No 1 - Buloke Australia {Allocasuarina luehmannii}
    Janka hardness 5060 Pounds Force {lbf} - 2294 Kilograms Force {kgf} - 22.5 Kilonewtons {kN} - 22500 Newtons {N}, Specific Gravity 1.11
    If you are interested there is a listing of the hardest known woods under the heading The Hardest Wood In The World, Known To Man or On Earth Is ...

  15. #14
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    Apr 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilS View Post

    The Japanese blades makers do produce HSS chisels but hardly ever HSS plane blades. So a western style plane with a HSS blade is a better option for such hardwoods, although my Terry Gordon plane with a 60 deg. pitch HSS blade is a 'hybrid' that does work well on these timbers.

    Neil
    As I look to my left, I see a list with over 70 different laminated HSS planes in a catalog in all conceivable configurations, turn back a couple pages and can see another 15 or so with PM-HSS blades, for when regular HSS just isn't good enough.

    I'm just kind of wondering what 'hardly ever HSS plane blades' actually means.

    Stu.
    The Tools from Japan Blog (about Japanese tools and such)
    &
    The Tools from Japan Store.

  16. #15
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    Apr 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schtoo View Post
    As I look to my left, I see a list with over 70 different laminated HSS planes in a catalog in all conceivable configurations, turn back a couple pages and can see another 15 or so with PM-HSS blades, for when regular HSS just isn't good enough.

    I'm just kind of wondering what 'hardly ever HSS plane blades' actually means.

    Stu.
    It means I'm out of date, ignorant of the recent developments, and should be ignored...

    Apologies for misleading anyone!

    Some of my premium turning gouges are PM-HSS and my go-to-tools for when I'm turning our tough and abrasive hard woods, so should likewise be ideal in a plane blade for the same woods.

    Having now gone and had a closer look at those Tsunesaburo PM-HSS blades you have with the modified backs, I'm thinking one of those might just be added to my ever growing to-buy list...

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