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2022 KITH-Handle making set

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I thought it would be fun to explore some Japanese handle making tools!  I apologize if I get any terminology wrong, still working on memorizing it all. :)

My plan is to make a smaller 2" or so Japanese Plane (Kanna) complete with the dai but no chip breaker(from my understanding that was a later introduction and it should still be functional without), A handle or scabbard chisel (Sayanomi), and a marking knife (Kiridashi).

The plan right now (if you followed my KITH last year you know how good I am to sticking to plans..>_>) is to forge the Sayanomi out of some 1085 round bar I have, and use some antique wagon tire and buggy springs for the Kanna and Kiridashi bodies/cutting edges respectively.  The thought is this should give someone a set of tools that can make a handle from a block of wood (minus the splitting/cutting part).  There will be many a new skill to try, so bear with me, lol!:P:lol:


FIRST OFF: The Sayanomi

I admit I got lost in the idea of chisel making, and not necessarily Sayanomi making, so I may or may not decide to remake this...But here we go!

I did my best to follow along the board that Gerald Boggs made in this thread which was extremely helpful in getting my feet wet for making wood working tools, and I adapted as needed.


Not many pictures since it was a new process, but you can see the starting stock in the first photo and a relative scale with my hand in the last one

IMG_9269.jpg first Rough Forge.jpg Rough Forge.jpg sayanomi finish forging.jpg sayanomi curvature.jpg sayanomi starting stock.jpg


Right now it doesn't feel unwieldy or too heavy, but I'll test it before I decide to remake it or not and see how the weight and proportions feel.

I plan to use some more firewood pile saved Madrone for the handle; this particular piece has some nice spalting I'll show off once its properly fitted.:D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did some more work on this project this week.

I worked down a piece of huge wagon tire I got a while back, its about 3/8-1/2" thick by 2.5-3" wide.  I had hoped it would be some nicely patterned wrought like the little wagon tires I have, but it appears to either be mild or insanely well refined wrought since there's no pattern when etched.  It does forge similar to copper though, so I'm leaning towards refined wrought...

I don't really have pictures since I'm low on time to forge recently, and I'm a little rusty not only in forging but in the documenting process.

Here is the mild/wrought Kanna Blade with the Steel bit welded on.  I had the steel shift a little during welding, so I ended up with some overhang:wacko:  I also mixed up which side to mark, so the stamp will be down when being used, but what-the-hey, its there now, lol!

Kanna-ba weld.jpg kanna-ba stamp on wrong side.jpg


I also did a quick kiridashi with a lap weld.  this one is lined up a little better, but of course i forgot about the mild/wrought squeezing out quicker, so I have some overhang on the side, lol

kiridashi stamp.jpg Kiridashi weld.jpg


Here is both of them cleaned up a little with a cut-off wheel, and a picture of the working ends; at least those welds ended up clean (so far:ph34r:)..

I'll throw up more pictures after the grinder gets done with them.

kanna-ba and kiridashi cleaned up.jpg Working end welds.jpg


I have to say I'm a little ashamed at how sloppy these welds are.  I just got in a rush and didn't take the time to properly match up sizes of materials.  It'll be fixed on the grinder, I know, but I don't like the waste it made or the fact that I opted to just cut it off instead of doing it right.

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  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)

Life has been hectic, so I'm struggling to find time to be out at the forge this year.

I had made some progress on the Kanna-dai (plane body)..."had" being the operative word there...


Things started out challenging, but doable.  Lots of line scribing, but with a few resources I found I just followed the directions and eventually got there.  I Did some beginning marking and chiseling with small tools to make sure I wasn't over-enthusiastic

Kanna progress3.jpg Kanna progress1.jpg  Kanna progress.jpg


Kanna progress4.jpg


Eventually I went home and used a large chisel for the major stock removal.  The tutorial I was following suggested a drill with depth setters for this process, but that sounded like a good way for me to mess this up quicker:P  Eventually I made it through and had the blade roughly fitting ready for tuning.

Kanna progress5.jpg


And then my Dai had other plans...:wacko:

Kanna progress6.jpg  Kanna progress7.jpg


So we're back to square one.

I enjoyed the dai making process immensely, so I'm excited to do it again.  Not sure if I want to try for a clearer piece of Madrone again, or maybe use White Oak.. I know Japanese Oak isn't the same, but I'm not sure what the best approximation would be...

My plan is to start from scratch and remake the blade as well so the stamp is on the correct side, lol.  I'm hoping for a good day or two in the next few weeks to be out at the forge, so hopefully I'll have a good update shortly..and maybe even before the deadline!


Edited by Jaron Martindale
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, no such luck on the forging days so far...:(

I was dinking around with the Kanna Blade and Ferric one day, and I may have..well..forgotten about it..

Kanna Over-etch2.jpg Kanna Over-etch1.jpg Kanna Over-etch.jpg

(I figure if I etch the whole thing like this I can auction it off as antique..:ph34r::P)


I was worried It may have been a total loss, but it seems to have ground out just fine.  Considering the trouble I 'm having digging up time to be out at the forge I think I may just start another Dai using the reground blade after I clean it up a little more.

Kanna re-etch1.jpg Kanna re-etch2.jpg Kanna re-etch3.jpg

The blessing in re-grinding the blade was that I was able to accomplish a bit of a better distal taper so it should have a better fit-up in the long run


I have the new dai marked and ready to carve over the weekend.

KAnna Dai take2.jpg

This is also Madrone, harvested from some downed limbs I saw while hunting last year.  I left it in block form for a little over a week before I picked it back up and it hasn't twisted, checked, or bowed, so I believe its dry enough to work with.

I'm not exactly sure how, but I'm determined to have at least SOMETHING to present for this year's KITH!

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"Over the Weekend" my butt :P:rolleyes:


BUT!(eh-hehehe...butt..) I did get it Carved!

KAnna Dai take2 progress.jpg  KAnna Dai take2 progress1.jpg  KAnna Dai take2 progress2.jpg

That small crack is very minimal and left-over from the natural checking, it doesn't appear to hamper any functionality, and is actually hard to see in person. I left it because the dai was getting a little thin for my liking and I didn't want to make it so thin it would flex when using it.


I have everything functioning, and it took some thicker ribbons out of a pine board and some thinner/wider shavings from a 1/2 oak board.  This is from a quick 600grit polish, so I 'm hoping that with some sharpening and stropping it will perform adequately.  It is a little wonky to get seated straight, but it CAN be done! lol

KAnna Dai take2 progress3.jpg KAnna Dai take2 progress5.jpg


On to completely flattening the Bottom, chamfering the corners,  and cleaning up what I can on the insides!

I may just make the deadline for at least a Kanna...

KAnna Dai take2 progress4.jpg

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The Dai is Flattened and chamfered(?)! ON TO POLISHING!
 I ended up taking a bit of the checking out to help remove places for grit and grime to get in.
Kanna Dai Flattening.jpg Kanna Dai Flattening2.jpg Kanna Dai Flattening3.jpg Kanna Dai Flattening4.jpg

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And Kanna Is done!

Finished Kanna.jpg Finished Kanna1.jpg  Finished Kanna3.jpg Finished Kanna4.jpg


Not the set I had hoped to put up, but I'm happy enough with this guy.  If I get a chance to forge between now and the deadline I'll try to get a Sayanomi chisel sorted out, too :)

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Looking great!


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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  





J.States Bladesmith | Facebook



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