Bringing a Kikai Shakuri Kanna out of the dark (Part 1)(Updated)

UPDATE: My friend yushi weighed in and this is indeed a Japanese Plough plane and not the sliding dovetail plane I bought from the description.  Time to have a chat with the seller I suppose  Maybe I can modify the plough plane or just make my own?  Bummer

I have an old Japanese plough plane called a Kikai Shakuri Kanna that has been a dark closet for decades; time to bring out into the light and put it to use.  The best description I have found is the one below which I found on a german tool distributor.

Kikai Shakuri Kanna (Machine Plough Plane)

The Kikai Shakuri Kanna was traditionally used to cut the various types of grooves needed to produce and install traditional Japanese Shoji doors. The hand-forged irons are held in place by wedges. Every plane has a differently shaped wedge, depending on the width of its iron. The planes have two nicker irons, also hand forged, to cut the fibers at the edge of the groove ahead of the main blade for the cleanest possible cut. One must of course set the depth of these blades very precisely to achieve the desired results.

The word “Kikai” in the name means “machine.” The other words in the name have a more precise meaning. Toshio Odate, in his classic book, “Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit, and Use,” remarks that generally as soon as nuts and bolts are added, a “tool” becomes a “machine” in Japanese. Depending on the way the Japanese characters are rendered in Roman letters, these planes are sometimes also written “Kikai-jyakuri-ganna” or “Kikai Sakuri Kanna.”

A photo of my plane is shown below:

It looks remarkably similar to the for sale on the fine-tools page.

Except newer of course.  More from the description on fine-tools:

“View from above. The two nicker irons are, with the wider planes, held at the proper distance from each other by a wooden wedge. With the narrower tools the irons seat against each other, and in the narrowest models they are placed one behind the other. In the left of the photos one can see the wingnuts and knurled nuts used to set the width fence. The plane bodies are made of white oak.”

Pretty much the same as mine, I thought I was getting a dovetail plane but now I’m not sure I have one.

So I took it apart and started inspecting it.


First the wing nuts and washers come off.

Then the gears


And then I ran into an age old problem, screws and nuts that won’t move.

Being tired in this 104 degree heat we have, I decided to put it aside until I could figure out how to loosen the screws and nuts holding the blades and the two other body pieces together.  They literally look like they haven’t been touched since the plane was made.

It was then I noticed something odd, the part of the plane containing the blade seems bent.

Do you see the gap on the left from the number 7 to 15?  Now the right side.

Hum seems straight, maybe I’m holding the level wrong.  It is hard to hold the level with one hand and the camera with the other and be able to press the button to take a photo.

Yep, seems like a gap to me.  Another thing to ask Junji about.

Even with the plane closed there is a slight taper. Is this were a sliding dovetail wouldn’t the nickers and blade be slanted in order to cut the female dovetail?  Seems to me this is a plough plane and not a sliding dovetail plane.  So off to get the screws and nuts loose and do more research.  Until next time.


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