Japanese Wood Bodied Plane

Ever used one?    I’ve used one since 1963.      I’ve shaped both balsa boards, and foam boards with them.     For a change of pace, I decided to make a small one  for trimming stringers.    I chose Brazilian Rosewood, both for it’s hardness as well as it’s beauty.   I’ll be using it on my next board, a 7’ 10’’ x 22   OBQ, personal board for smallish waves.  It’s not finished yet, but should be completed by tomorrow. (the plane)     Approx. 4 inches, by 1 1/8th inches.     Has anyone else made any of your shaping tools?    Just curious.


I live in Japan and almost strictly use wood block planes. I have some made by a master craftsman in Nagasaki city and also buy pre-war blades that I refinish and make blocks for. It is difficult to get shaping tools here so I make all my sanding pads…etc.

…hello BillT, for reference my Japanese curved trim plane dims are: 3 3/8 x 1 1/16 x 5/8 (apex); the apex of the rocker is where the blade appears on the bottom and is at 1 7/16 from back edge.

I bought it in Japan.

I made my own 11" x 4" wide plywood sanding block! It rates # 1 for overall sanding. A great tool I figured out on my own is using the flexible foam drywall sanding sponge! I use Gator brand found at ACE HARDWARE. It’s perfect for cleaning up. And I also found a stanely trim plane works excellent for
Taking the spine down.

Yeah I broke down last year and bought the one Foam EZ sells.  Haven’t used it that much.  Still manage to get away with using a Stanley Mini most of the time.  Switch to a spoke shave occasionally.

Lowel - you were spot on with Stanley trim plane! I did what ya said near the nose… it worked perfect. Anyway, after that, I used the gator sponge sanding block to fine sand any dips the trim plane left w out going crazy w it…just smooth um out, touch up any small scratches and send off to glassing…
Another idea I do is use a torn piece of 275 gr white sand paper to wrap bottom rails to tune it to pref. Works sweet!

i have a multi-angle,“little david” razor plane that works killer…brad over at foamyz gave it to me some years ago.

i also have a few curved wood block planes ,some from nippon…some i made…others from finland.

my favorite tool for steep curves in the deck/nose is my 1950’s fullsize spoke shave…i believe i gave jimmy phillips one identical to mine.



I have acquired these over the past few years. Use the smallest one quite a bit. A lot of history in these. The funky rounded one is a bowl makers plane and is over 100 years old. I also learned these are supposed to be used in a pulling motion instead of pushing.

Counting the one I just made, I now have five Japanese Wood Bodied Planes.      Your collection is absolutely stunning!       Where are you located, that enabled you to acquire such a great collection?      Very cool that you are still putting them to use.      Bravo!


I agree with Bill here, 

Hey thanks guys! I really enjoy simple yet effective hand tools. I live in Florida but a friend of mine grew up in Okinawa, now living in the states gave me 5 of them. His father was a boat builder/carpenter in Japan and these were his tools. He is stoked i am still using them with all the modern technology available. The forged steel blades stay real sharp for quite some time and have plenty of life left in them. Glad to see other people enjoy these types of things as well.

Cheers, Mitch

Aloha Mitch,

The story makes them all the more special, IMO.    Coming from one master boat carpenter’s collection is outstanding.     Wish mine had that kind of history.


Just an update, about the plane.    I purchased a 3/4th inch wide plane blade, from Japan Woodworker, rather than making my own blade.     Right now  the plane has a flat base, but I’m considering changing it to a curved base plane.     The Japanese laminated blade can produce ‘‘see thru thin’’ shavings.   I get quite a bit of satisfaction using this plane.     I’m considering making another small one out of Ebony, this time.    I love dense exotic wood.


i have some great wood for making planers with…i’ll bring some.


Aloha Herb,

That sounds great.     I’m looking forward seeing to it.


Well, on Tuesday  (the 10th)   I put my new Rosewood bodied plane to work, on my new 7’ 10’’ x 23’’ board that I shaped for the summer.    The board has a 3/8th inch Bass  stringer, and  the plane cut it like soft butter.       The reason it cut so well, was the  plane blade that I got through Japan Woodworker.    I used a small 4 oz. Japanese hammer  to tap set the plane blade.    All in all, I was impressed by how easy it was to use, and how clean it cut.


Hey Bill,
I would love to see one that you made. Never really thought about making one, now I have a new project, thanks. Any particular wood you prefer? So you like the Japan woodworker blades, are they forged? I could use one and that 3/4" size is perfect for the job. Thats the size of the smallest one I have and it gets used the most. Its funny the satisfaction that comes simply by using a hand tool, what can I say I love tools.
Anyway I have doubles of one of mine and would be stoked if you took it. It might need setting up and the blade sharpened but tons of life left and makes no sense just sitting collecting dust. When I got the planes I was reminded by the original owner the value of giving. You are a true craftsmen and I have learned quite a bit from you since joining sways. This is my way of repaying you for your knowledge. Please pm me your address and I will happily ship it to you.

Best regards, Mitch

I build only wood boards and have a couple tools that are especially useful.

One is a marking gauge I made many years ago.

For permanent marks there’s a sharpened bit of drill rod on one end and the other end has a friction fit hole for a pencil.

The two holes intersect and the notched dowel slides in or out to lock or unlock the marking arm by wedging against the flat on the arm.

The other tools that get a lot of use are the Japanese Shinto rasps.

Better than a Surform.

The offset handle model is good for concaves etc.

The offset handle comes off to allow use of both sides and freehand use as well. 

Coarse and fine on one tool.

They last a long time.



Aloha Mitch,

I really like Rosewood, because of both the hardness, and the beauty of the grain.     I have sent a PM with my address.     Your offer is humbly accepted.

Thank you,


PS:      I have had good luck picking up small quantities of exotic wood from Rockler.   The plane blade, from Japan Woodworker, was hand forged.