Japanese plane five ways

Most Japanese planes have some sort of western counterpart. There are Japanese versions of smoothing planes, jointers, plow planes, chamfer planes, and so on. This is a Japanese plane that really doesn’t have a western equivalent. It’s called a gotoku kanna, or five purpose plane, according to the translations I have read.

The plane has a body that looks like an inverted T, and the blade runs across the width of the plane.

This plane gets its name from the fact that it can serve five purposes: left sided rabbet plane, right-sided rabbet plane, left grooving plane, right grooving plane, and a smoother, as can be seen in the following pictures.

The gotoku kanna does an admirable job in four out of the five functions. It cleans rabbets and trims side walls of rabbets and grooves on the left and right very nicely. But as a smoother, well, it really kind of sucks. As the plane takes a shaving, there really isn’t anywhere for the shaving to go, as it gets caught up under the middle of the plane. The shaving gets jammed up, and it’s a pain to get it out.

Four out of five makes it a B-minus student, or, one grade below an Asian F. But I have to admire the gizmosity factor in combining all of these functions into one plane.

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