Champions of wood planing

In woodworking, planing is the process of using a very sharp blade to shave off pieces of wood. The people in the video above are some of the best at it in the world. The shavings they skim off are less than 10 microns thick. For comparison, the thickness of a sheet of standard copy paper is about 100 microns. (via @colossal)


  1. Sharp blades and courage are the key to planing. You gotta commit to the cutting pass. I use block planes all the time, they are awesome.  Especially for door setting.  I can’t tell you how many sloppily-painted-so-they-don’t-close doors I have saved with my trusty block planes.

  2. I was expecting cutting commentary.  All it was was another sport involved in points shaving.   I was board.

  3. Given a 2×4 and their planer, I suppose these guys are pretty much set as far as toilet paper goes.

  4. What I want to know is what type of wood they’re planing that can be shaved into such thin ribbons without breaking instantly. I’m guessing its something very close grained, like a type of maple or something?

    1. I also was wondering what kind of wood.  But did you see that those planes are hand-set and -adjusted?  No screws, no levers. Just gentle tapping with a mallet.

  5. Champions of plane iron sharpening and set up. Also, quarter-sawn green wood would explain why the shavings don’t snap, and why the guy has to clean the micrometer after measuring.

    1. Because they are better than us. We have pumpkin chucking, they plane wood so thin it floats in air. Also they are hella better at lining up for events than we are.

    2. Obviously the piece of wood they’re shaving from is already as flat as it’s going to get, and aerospace machining tolerances are silly for a material that expands and contracts with temperature and humidity, but I could see using the ribbons in some sort of layered inlay or insanely delicate papercraft.

  6. The Japanese pull their planes, while we Westerners push along the grain.  The angle for the blade is exacting, the blade very sharp and the wood soft (I’ll guess fir or clear cedar).  But props must be given to the human operator; it isn’t all up to the effectiveness of the tool.  It takes a light, consistent touch and concentration to create long shaved ribbons like those. 
    Here is a video of man teaching a class in building your own Japanese planes.

  7. The next morning, his boss, the chief carpenter at the job site: “For cryin’ out loud, Toshiro, you’ve been working on that one door all morning and it’s still won’t close!  Chuck the damn plane and use the Makita like I told ya; we ain’t buildin’ a Steinway!”

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