Having botched the fitting of the blade to the dai on my first attempt at making a kanna with this new-used blade, I went into this weekend eager to start dai #2. What I got ended up being one of my most frustrating wood working experiences.
I prepped the maple block. The slab of maple that I pulled from the attic is grungy and rock hard, but I prepped the block without issue.
The layout went down without issue. At least I thought it did. I’ll come back around to that in a bit.
I began chopping out the waste, starting from the top side of the dai. Did I mention that this maple is rock hard? I resorted to a 1/2″ mortise chisel to beaver out the bulk of the waste. Then switched over to my cabinet chisels to finish the cutting. So far, so good.
Then I flipped the block over and chopped the mouth/throat opening.
Then I made the saw cuts to create the slots into which the blade will install. That went well.
Time to fit the blade to the dai. Here is where things began to turn.
As I began fitting the blade down into the dai it continually wanted to skew to one side. This happened with the first dai as well and I thought it was my technique. No matter how much I tried to correct it, the skew remained. During the layout I simply measured the width of blade and chip breaker and laid out the corresponding openings symmetrically around a center line on the block. Seemed reasonable when I was doing it, but as I was fitting the blade it continually wanted to skew farther on one side. I should have stopped and reevaluated everything, but no, I doggedly continued, still trying to maintain the symmetry and eliminate the skew. No matter what I did the skew remained all the while and my frustration began to turn to anger. Here is where things turn even worse.
The final hammer blow to seat the blade fully caused the skewed corner of the blade to catch the edge of the mouth opening. This, in turn, caused a portion of the mouth and sole to be chipped away. Frustration and mild anger now gave way to full-blown rage. In my younger days something would have went flying or would have been destroyed by the hammer in my hand. However, middle-age has softened me enough that I simply sat everything down, turned out the light and walked away.
When working on something like this I become borderline obsessive-compulsive. So I began re-reading articles and looking at photos trying to discover where I went wrong. While looking at a photo of the blade set I noticed something that I had overlooked until now. The damn blade is asymmetrical! I’m such an idiot! In the photo below you can see that the right side of the blade angles outward from cutting edge to top more than on the left side. Its not a huge difference, but enough to cause the skewing issue.
So that answers the skewing problem. It won’t be pretty but that is fixable. Now what to do about that chip in the sole? I came really close to scrapping this dai altogether until I remembered seeing this video.
That just might work.
So Sunday was “fix it” day. I paired away material from the side of the slot to match the angle of the side of blade. That took care of 99% of the skew. The remaining skew was due to my trying to compensate for it otherwise. Then I marked out and removed a chunk of the sole and fitted a new block of maple into the opening.
So now I have a reasonably square, and well-supported blade…
…and a tight mouth opening.
I may just be able to salvage this thing after all…maybe. At the very least I learned another lesson or two.