If I Can’t do it Right…

…I can at least learn from my mistakes.
Well crap!  Here I was, all pleased with my freshly minted kanna.  Wrote a post all about it.  Showed it off…blah,blah, blah. Everything was right with my world, but then…

As I refined the conditioning and tried to take a nice thin, wispy shaving, I began to get really nasty chatter.  What the…hmmm…I must need to sharpen.  So I honed my blade and reinstalled it.  Same nasty chatter when trying to take a thin shaving.  My sole conditioning must be off.  Nope, no joy there either.  That is when I got a sick feeling in my stomach.

The only other thing that could be causing the chatter is a poorly supported blade.  Essentially, when set for a very thin cut, the blade will be pulled down and back then spring back up.  Chatter!

Son of a….sure enough, after a quick inspection the blade is not contacting the lower portion of the bed.  I should have caught this monumental error long before now, long before.  Enthusiasm and tunnel vision seems to have led to my downfall.  Heck, I even posted a picture of the problem and still didn’t catch it.


The pencil points to the area where there is no blade contact.


Unfortunately, by the time I remove enough of the upper portion of the blade bed, the blade will be far too loose.  Yes, I could shim it, but the thought of another shimmed dai right from the start drives me close to crazy.  So I’ll be making yet another dai over the weekend.  Wish me luck…

Greg Merritt

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20 Responses to If I Can’t do it Right…

  1. Randy Allen says:

    Why don’t you try a slightly larger diameter pin? Not a shim.


  2. jefski says:

    I’m still extremely impressed with your chiseling skills, and will be glad when I can come even close to what you’re doing.

  3. Matt McGrane says:

    Well, you know what they say – practice makes perfect. You’ve just made a handful of these planes so far (or maybe a dozen?), so you can’t be hard on yourself. Getting things to your standards of perfection will come – and seems to be coming rapidly.

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Sometimes the only way I can learn something is by doing it the hard way. Basically make all the mistakes up front and get them out of the way. LOL. I’ll get it right…eventually.

  4. Salko Safic says:

    I’m glad your not giving, it’s all part of the learning curve which we all face daily. People think after repeating a process for a few weeks they’ll get the knack of it and pretty much master it. I think that’s hog wash. The only time when you’ve truly mastered a particular operation is when it comes out perfect every time and you’ll know because something will just click and you’ll do something slightly different to what you normally do and then you’ll say aha now I know how to do this. I face this challenge everyday.

  5. Tony says:

    You can do it!

  6. Jonathan Elliott says:

    It’s so refreshing to follow along on your journey, thanks for sharing so honestly. The comments are super encouraging as well. I’m brand new to hand tools and still learning to saw in a straight, plumb line! It makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes, I had no idea how much time it would take to build skills but it’s encouraging to know it’s just part of the normal journey and there’s a lot more ahead for me. Just need to take a deep breath and enjoy the learning process 🙂 best of luck this weekend, excited to see the results!


    • Greg Merritt says:

      It is exceedingly rare that anyone is a “natural” at any kind of skill. Skill must be earned by doing. Plain and simple. Treat every failure as a learning opportunity and you will succeed in the long run. Another way to look at is this. Skill is understanding all of the mistakes that can be made and then avoiding them.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    I have a (almost a) plane billet with a slight twisted mouth in the shop just laying there… Because sometimes that just happen, so we start all over again, its easyer!
    (I’m actually quoting mr James Krenov from a video I saw – can’t find it though)

    So good luck!

  8. momist says:

    Have you thought that – perhaps – the wood has moved since you first made it, and that is the cause of the fault, not that you made it wrong in any way? Once wood is removed, cutting the blade recess or even the ‘conditioning’, there might be movement as it responds to the changes in tension within the wood. I know you intend to make another, but beware that this might happen again after it has been made. Just saying . . . not to try and put you off.

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Wood movement could play a role in this type of issue, but I can’t blame it for this particular case. The first photo above was taken as I was fitting the blade to the dai. Which was immediately after chopping and cutting the openings. The second photo was taken a week later. I simply made an error when chopping the bed. I know exactly where in the process I did it too. I shall reveal all in the next post.

  9. Robb Smith says:

    Could you remove a little wood and insert a piece of hard and decorative wood that would support the blade?

  10. Pingback: Hira Kanna Remake-Part 1 | HILLBILLY DAIKU

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