Tsunesaburo kanna restoration: 2. The blade/iron and chipbreaker

This post details restoration of a kanna by Tsunesaburo and continues from Part 1.
I correct the ‘ears’ on the blade with a white wheel on a stationary bench grinder. I make sure to mark the width I need to go to on each side first; then, at the machine, I just take it slow and use water as a coolant. I should also add I freehand this. Using some form of a jig, or at least a tool rest, will no doubt allow more consistent and repeatable results than mine. Even with my crude, simple technique the blade soon starts looking much better.
Bearded Witch Tsunesaburo-10

Most importantly, the edge is now centred. I grind a bit more than I need since I will be removing the chips in the edge and increasing the bevel angle, therefore shortening the blade. This will widen the edge again. I may need to fine tune it later. This is an ongoing maintenance aspect anyway and is very quick to do.

While at the grinder, I also take off the mushroomed sections at the top of the iron and the chipbreaker. This is a bit awkward to do since visibility is greatly reduced at the angle you need to hold the blade at (unless you want to introduce a bevel).  If you fancy giving one of your kannas a similar treatment but feel a bit apprehensive, you can just forego the grinder and use a file. The top half of your kanna will be made of either soft steel or iron, and will be very easy to work by hand.

BBW Tsunesaburo Part 2-2

Straight off the grinder

After grinding, I finesse the surface slightly with a second cut metal file. My intention is to rust blue the exposed bare metal later in order to somewhat blend these areas in.

BBW Tsunesaburo Part 2-3

After filing

I now turn my attention to the edge itself, and that shallow bevel angle. Continue reading

Tsunesaburo kanna restoration: 1. The Look-see.

A lot has happened since I last wrote something here as I tend to use Instagram for short stories from the workshop these days. I had to impale my thumb on a sharp blade to actually take the time out and write something for this blog. I hope to do that more often (writing, not impaling!).

Tsunesaburo Kage

I mentioned this kanna on Instagram before; it was made by 3rd generation Tsunesaburo in Super Blue Paper steel. Since it arrived from Japan almost two months ago, the wooden body has had more than enough time to acclimate. Now I finally had a moment to sit down, have a look at the kanna in detail and see what is required to bring this secondhand tool back into service. So, before I do anything, let’s take stock of what we are dealing with here…

The dai

The dai is very well made in proper Japanese red oak (this is the true hon akagashi!), and generally well fitted, with one unorthodox treatment. There is a series of overlapping relief cuts clearly made with a gouge, in the lower part of the plane bed.

Bearded Witch Tsunesaburo-1

An unusually relieved section like that would have probably provided a quick way to ease an aspect of tightness in fit, or perhaps to eliminate Continue reading

Bucket lists and Japanese saws


This blade was made by Mitsukawa in Japan and bar fully hand-forged saws it is one of the best of its kind. Mitsukawa make beautiful handles for their saws but I can work with my simple solution no bother.

Inspired by a friend, I started working on a list of things to do in the coming days and weeks. Things I have wanted or thought of doing but had other stuff get in the way. It was inevitable that some of these things would get me into the workshop and I started with a simple one: making an unused or unusable tool into a functional one. I have restored old tools before but was looking for something else.

Continue reading