Hand plane competition (Kezuroukai USA)

  |   Fun, Techniques, Uncategorized


“Kezurou-kai” is Japanese group with 15,000 members. Translation of this name to English means “Shaving – group” demonstrate the traditional Japanese hand tools, techniques and traditional method of building such as post and beam and stucco wall finish to the public. As people know, Japanese blade are made out of melting carbon steel to soft steel so it is hard and sharp at the carbon edge but flexible so shape can be adjusted, all done by hand except the pounding to strengthen the steel has some machine hammer on duty.  This include swords, knifes, chisels and planer blades. Why does this matter? It only matters for people does real fine work and people push the limits, craftsman and artist entire world, when they meet these fine Japanese tools that are made with skills, they fall in love because it does bring the work to the next level.

Hand planing is great example. Hand planer mainly used for two different application shaping the wood or finishing the surface, in joinery work it makes flat surface and shave the wood to line, shaving to pencil line but to outer edge of line or center of line depends on character of joinery, this is the scale of 1/32 inch as pencil line and joinery size to be control by 1/64 inch. For finishing if wood is planed properly, it gives mirror finish that would shed water which means stain would not penetrate in, this is the finish applied for the temples and still many Japanese style house build today. No stain!


saran wrap measures 9 micron at house

What happen if those professionals competing how thin it can be planed? This competition is about pushing limit, rules are plane shavings to be full width and full length and measure 3 points and take the thickest point not the thinnest point. Measuring instruments are micrometer. Micrometer measure the thickness in micron. 1 Micron is 1/1000 of millimeter or 0.00004 inch.  20lbs paper is a bit over 100 micron, saran wrap may be the one of thinnest material we touch often which is about 7-9 micron I measured at my house.

Long story short, winners at the Japanese competitions are around 4 micron, record I heard are 1 or 2 micron but not official. This is totally crazy, it does not change the dimension of wood, it takes 250 times of this shaving to lose 1mm in a wood.

First try at our shop 4 weeks prior to competition, with same way we have been sharpening, wood surface were nice and shining after plane, I did not had micrometer so I asked Kazu “What you think this shaving thickness is?”, He is the only one has attend the event in Japan but never competed and he told me “My guess would be around 40 micron” . I had no clue what that means but I thought it should be better than that, so order the micrometer and a few sharpening stone from Japan.

From this date, we had 4 weeks to competition and we hooked into this, plane the wood after work every day, we occupied the bathroom at the house every single night (Bath room has different use for Japanese wood worker, it is sharpening room), too embarrassed to even mention how long each night were to spend on this. My wife try not to spoke about, only my son Taro comes in bath room once every night and he say to me “One day off, puts three days back, right?” I said to my son “You know it, that is why I even took this to our year end camping last weekend!”

Kiyo got thinnest 5 micron

Kiyo got thinnest 5 micron

Story would not end, and for the people want to take off here, here is the result. 25-27 people enter into competition, we are only Canadian crossed border to join the event, thinnest shaving was 5 micron but it was not full width and length. Qualified shavings I thought were a few 7-9 micron and a few 10-16 micron. Kiyo was the one got 5 micron, Kazu had 10 micron full width, full length, consistent, Eijiro got good 16 micron, we all had our best at the competition so Daizen team did very well. I unfortunately got late to the competition, spend too much time on socializing…. It would been around 10-12 micron, will revenge next year!


Kazu, first try, 20 micron, he got 10 micron after this try

Kazu, first try, 20 micron, he got 10 micron after this try

Here continue the story.

zoomed with x20 micro scope, I have been using this microscope for about 20 years

zoomed with x20 microscope, I have been using this microscope for about 20 years and edge looks good, it is very sharp. This is showing finish with 8,000 grid, shows nice and smooth to the edge















This is picture with X100. Picture is not taken same blade but same principal, back side of planer blade finish with 8,000 grid. This shows the edge is not reached with sharpening and some large scratch. From this, I figure water at my house contains calcium that effecting this scare, since I saw this, I use only pure water prior to 8,000 grid. So it looks great in X20 but not in X100 which gave me some ideas how I can improve.

Chesel and planer blade sharpening, what matters most is the back side of the blade. How to sharpen this flat matters. In planing, if the back is sharpened properly, there are guy says he gets 10 micron with 1,000 grid sharpening at front edge. This is true. Chesel and planer both has hollow back which is to make the flat sharpening easier and more perfectly. This hollow is made prior the forge so it is not something would work same such as gliding the back hollow. For the planer, focus is to leave the sharpening surface minimum, if you keep sharpening the back, it makes flat wider and wider, instead, we pound the soft steel at front to push the blade so keep the flat surface minimum.

Water at my house, contains calcium, if I boil water in kettle for tea, it is visually notice, I see some white settlement, this definitely cause the sharpening so I made sure to clean the blade and stone and only use the filtered water prior to finish.

I used to use only 800 grid then prior to finish. This was enough to maintain very sharp edge for chisel and normal work but to go for 10 micron and less, I needed to stone, I purchased, #1,000, #2,000 and natural finishing stone (equilibrant to #8,000) and eliminate using #800.

Sharpening is moving from one grid to others, coarser to finer. At each stage, it create burbe at the edge and how much it creates is the measurement to move into next grid. Though rough grid such as #800 seems like damage the edge too rough it makes the edge week.

Difference between natural #8,000 grid and natural stone is that natural stone create aggregate that become finer and finer as kept sharpening but more the less, placing this in between the blade and stone, it works like compound that maintain the flat of the stone better. These are really hard to understand that you need to put time into this to feel.

So, 4 hours of sharpening every night was to explore, set the theory, and gain more skills of sharpening. Actual sharpening, maintaining edge from not damaged blade is about 30 min max.


One week prior to competition, my best was 16 micron. All hope was to wait the set of new stone that ordered but have not came in. New set of stone contains #8,000 diamond stone I meant to use only for the back side of planer blade so it reach to the edge with flat and also finish so none of other wrapping is needed.
















Driving to Santa Clara was 20 hours drive.


Planing wood at KOA campsite California 30 min after parked.

Event was Saturday so we left Kamloops after the work, Thursday 4PM. 4 of us got into my motorhome and started driving, felt like teens that something exciting ahead waiting for us. Long way ahead so I thought I would not talk about planer blade, base maintenance and so on, but conversation started right after we left and carried all the way to California. Friday 3PM we got close so we camped. All 4 of us brought sharpening set out, try out planing and got back to sharpening. My set of stone came in Wed afternoon and I did not had chance to try yet, so we tried at camp site. Got into dark so we moved to toilet facility at camp site and continue sharpened. Good that it was end of October, not many people at camp site, but a few people around did not even come close us to ask what we were doing, we all had sharp knife on hand and kept sharpening, it must been look so wired.


Lucky that bathroom at campsite had 4 sets of sink and nice and bright.



There were lots of great moments but I got right in a activity this time and had not taken any pictures.

Hand planing is very fun and shows how humans are capable that I don’t think machine can compete at the moment. It has lots to it, I only introduced one side of sharpening, how to maintain stone flat, method of sharpening, difference in stone, kind of blade, maintaining the wood base, fine adjustment of base, etc etc.

I am planning to do sharpening workshop at BCLTBI AGM that coming in Feb 19th at Chase Quaaout Lodge, anyone welcome to join.

Read More

Daizen university -Sharpening-

  |   Community, Fun

This is module 3 of weekend study we offer to our team, previous module was, wood fiber science and joinery engineering. This weekend was for sharpening , we use chisel every day, hand planer also mandatory to fine tune the wood fit, without properly sharpened edge we are not able to achieve the result. Time spend at the room to start with sharpening, logic, sharpening setup and procedure. We need to have medium (#1000-#1500) and finish (#8,000) or natural finishing stone also something to flatten the stone such as wet sand paper on glass, diamond stone etc, introduced method to flatten the face of stone, procedure of sharpening. Next we move down to floor, look the blade edge through microscope, this develop the eyes to see the edge even with bare eyes. Once people understand why stone need to be flat, more to say blade need to be flat on back of blade, went through the each step of sharpening procedure. This is entry level of sharpening but with this 3 hours of course, now the guys will have some decent edge of the chisel that they will see how much difference it made working on wood joinery.

We are planning to have this class again, anyone is welcome to join.

P9082505 P9082456 P9082492

Read More

Monthly lunch by Sanbiki restaurant

  |   Fun

Daizen crew eat lunch every first Wed of the month provided by Sanbiki Japanese Kitchen in Kamloops. Menu on this lunch are really special, very much like food in Japan, some may not be even introduced in regular restaurant in Canada. This is great catering service for anyone in Kamloops especially business group, we strongly recommend to try this out! Really special.

Remember, it is first Wed of the month, if you are heading our way, just give us a call by Tuesday, we will include yours into our heads count!




Read More

Dai’s pizza oven

  |   Fun, Newsletter

from Daizen News, June 2013

We have nice long days now. After the hard work, Dai freshens his mind by getting on to other projects. This year’s project is a pizza oven. If you’d like to build one, be sure to contact Dai. He’s finding many tips as he goes along, and he’s happy to advise you.


Read More

Daizen ideas, shared

  |   Design, Fun, Newsletter

From Daizen News  June 2012

A new sharing venue, Pinterest, is a visual online pinboard to organize and share the things you love. Daizen now has two Pinterest boards—one for inspiring visual inspirations (called Nice Work) and the other, Daizen Joinery, for  interesting accomplishments.

Pinterest/Daizen/Nice Work

Pinterest/Daizen/Daizen Joinery

Update–as of June 6, Daizen now has nine pinboards!  The others include Stair, Garden/Exterior, Treehouse, Organic/Earth Building, Japanese Architecture, Places To Go, Fly Fishing, and a fledgling one for Methods.

You can “follow” either of these pinboards by clicking the red Request an Invite button. Or you can start your own Pinterest. It’s a feast for the eyes!

Read More

A ring eclipse

  |   Fun, Newsletter, Trip

From Daizen News  June 2012

Dai just happened to be in Japan for an annular solar eclipse, where the moon passes in front of the sun, leaving only a bright ring of light. The next annular solar eclipse, also known as a ring of fire, will happen in 2023, so it’s a good thing Dai took this shot for those of us who may not have seen it.


Read More

Timber cubic pod

  |   Design, Fun, Set up / assemble, Work experience

12×12 cubic pod I started about one year ago is now completed and my kids are moved in.

Ideas in behind this is that I can complete all interior feature include electric wiring and move and attach to the new house I will be building. Three pod in raw now but I am not sure how I can pass the building inspection. Not enough thinking.

Build high ceiling and place kind of loft will gain good amount of floor space. For kids, this would be bed. I also placed large storage compartment which is connected from both bed space that is using as play space. Lego’s and puzzles are all spread out but out of my sight so they can do whatever they want to do without me telling them to clean up.

Large sized windows were bay out and use the space as nook, electric floor heating in place with cork floor on top. Folding sliding door really opens up space so tightly 12×12 pod does not feel so closed up.

Read More

Drift wood deck

  |   Design, Fun, Joinery, Set up / assemble, Team/people, Work experience

Willms family and me were at Valdes island last long weekend. This time, Kyle and I build intermediate deck between water edge to cabin. Idea is using available material which is drift wood.

Main member of this structure is post and double tie beam and floor joist beam on top. First, we went out and hunt some materials. Find that the size and shape are desirable. Drift wood is heavy because it wet and rocks are sloped and slippery so it is a bid hard work to gather all materials to the spot.

Drilling to rock was very easy. We cut up re-bar and epoxied into rock and wood. Structure are in rotation mode from the bottom of the post, post is in compression and fitting it in perpendicularity is the key so no shear strength applied to the pin. Beam connection to the rock is where the most force is getting and it is tension force. So made the pin location as far as it could from the end of the beam.

No tape measure or scribe, all cut by feeling and leveled by eye. Front face floor joist beam were placed with curved beam which makes three post angle in round shape as well. Find the most flat face and place up, other beams were straight but place the but and top of the logs to make the face of three logs to be as even as possible.  Front beam had a few high spot, middle beam were slightly higher than front and back so used straight board to guide all the way to shave the middle beam to achieve the flat. It worked out well.

We did not had enough decking materials so it is just placed on top so we could sit down and had beer!


Read More

Play structure

  |   Design, Fun, Set up / assemble

We build play structure with WRC(Western Red Cedar) Structure were connected with monkey bar that is leaned to be stabilized. One long beam on top is notched in main structure and fastened with through bolt. This beam hangs tire swing one side and regular swing on other side. With adult hanging and play hard, structure can shake but with kids, this structure is stable as self standing, no anchor. Monkey bar were custom made, powered coated yellow, lots of accessory from Home Depot, all corner of timber were chamfered round, every hardware give consideration not to heart kids. After structure assembled, got kids decided where to place every single piece of accessory as I installed.


Read More

Connection test at engineer work shop organize by Canadian Wood Council and Wood Works BC.

  |   Announcement, Fun, Work experience

Dec 2010, Daizen Joinery and Nicola Log Works demonstrated the connection test at engineer work shop.

We tested about 10 different connections, mortise and tenon, SFS WT screw, epoxy anchor, T-bolt, Sherpa, GRK screws and so on.

Mortise and tenon, it failed at beam side, it sheared off. Peg holes were 2 inch from the face, this was a bid surprise for me, I assumed it will brake the tip of tenon. Need to test more.

SFS WT screw were definitely functioning well, money saving screws. Method of test was, we braked half lap first, this braked at 4,000 lbs. Then we placed two SFS WT screw at the shear location and tested again. Test was stopped at 10,000 lbs, it did not failed, instead other side of connection failed. One screw, least add 3,000 lbs strength in connection.

Epoxy anchor, concrete epoxy fail too quick, but cold cure epoxy were so strong, it brake the weld that holding the wide web and test stopped at 12,000 lbs.

I have uploaded Sherpa test video on youtube

Tons of information from this test but not enough time to organized to share, please contact me at for any further test result.


Read More