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Eastern Influence: Using Japanese Tools

David Thiel talks with Sandor Nagyszalanczy, author of Tools: Rare and Ingenious, and cabinetmaker Patrick Huggins about the proper use of these beautiful handmade Japanese tools.

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japanese hand plane displays decorative patterns
Photo 1 of 17The blade on a Japanese hand plane often displays extraordinary patterns like those seen here.

Metal Blades(1 of 17)

One of the standout features of a Japanese hand plane is the blade, seen here. The metal often displays extraordinary patterns, a tradition carried down from the art of sword-making. The pattern derives from heating up two differently colored metals and folding them over and over. Acid-etching and wire brushing enhance the pattern. The cutting edge of the plane allows it to slice very thin layers.

Next Photo: Red Oak Box

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