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gyosh
06-14-2012, 09:05 PM
I need to shave down a bridge so I can adjust a saddle and I wanted to buy a nice Japanese hand plane to do it. Any suggestions for brand and size? Eventually, I'd like to build as a hobby so I don't mind spending for good quality. Researched frets.com for the how, now I just need to know with what. Thank you for your help.

Sven
06-14-2012, 10:15 PM
Which page at frets.com? I read about the adjustment on the Martin style bridge, and that was done with a shoulder plane where the blade goes to the edge. If you can remove the saddle first, I'd use my 'apron plane' from Veritas / Lee Valley.

gyosh
06-15-2012, 04:05 AM
Which page at frets.com? I read about the adjustment on the Martin style bridge, and that was done with a shoulder plane where the blade goes to the edge. If you can remove the saddle first, I'd use my 'apron plane' from Veritas / Lee Valley.

Hi Sven, thanks for the reply. And yes, it was the Martin page from frets.com. I can remove the saddle and it isn't very tall so that's why I'm going to need to take down the bridge a little before I work on the saddle. The saddle is so short, that I might have to router the saddle slot instead of taking the saddle down some more. It's a uke I built myself in a class so my thinking is the more I have to tinker with it, the more I'll learn. It's built with a Spanish neck/heel and the action at the 12th fret is noticeably higher than when it was first built. I thought the bridge may have pulled the top up, but I've put a straight edge over it, and it's still flat so my thinking is the neck/body must have moved a little. Am I even making the correct adjustment?

If I make a mess of it, I'll chalk it up to experience. It's all about learning!

Thanks again for the reply. There are so many tool choices out there I want to buy quality the first time and not have a bunch of "not quite right" tools I never use.

Liam Ryan
06-15-2012, 01:54 PM
That Veritas Apron plane is my most used hand tool.

Chris_H
06-18-2012, 06:08 AM
Lie-Neilsen makes nice planes. I have a L-N low angle block plane and find it suits most of my needs.

weerpool
06-18-2012, 07:38 AM
Lie-Neilsen makes nice planes. I have a L-N low angle block plane and find it suits most of my needs.

i use my gradpa's hand-me-down lie-nielsen planes. the only ones i own and use.

DeVineGuitars
06-18-2012, 08:19 AM
Lie-Neilsen makes nice planes. I have a L-N low angle block plane and find it suits most of my needs.
Same here. This is a great plane.

olgoat52
06-18-2012, 05:34 PM
I own 4 or 5 small LN planes. When you said your grandfather's handme down I forgot how old I was. Didn't realize LN has been making planes since the '70s.

gyosh
06-18-2012, 06:59 PM
Thank you all for the replies. It looks like there are a few that I need to research. I really appreciate the help. I can just imagine my workbench full of tools I don't use because I just didn't know any better and I'm hoping to avoid that by asking the guys who already know.

Sven
06-19-2012, 01:15 AM
I went ahead and bought the miniature shoulder plane from Lee Valley. Mostly because it was cute, but I have put it to very good use. Adjusting braces right up/down to the soundboard, cleaning up one piece bridges and other stuff. But I hesitate to recommend it if you want a slim collection, I could have used chisels or other [small] planes.

herbsandspices
06-19-2012, 04:53 AM
I went ahead and bought the miniature shoulder plane from Lee Valley. Mostly because it was cute, but I have put it to very good use. Adjusting braces right up/down to the soundboard, cleaning up one piece bridges and other stuff. But I hesitate to recommend it if you want a slim collection, I could have used chisels or other [small] planes.

HA! Sven, I'm the same way with the Veritas "Little Victor" plane & the mini Ibex planes... and they all ended up being some of my most-used tools.

Sven
06-19-2012, 10:06 AM
Yeah! The little Victor is such a marvelous tool. And I have several Ibex planes, but I like the smallest 8 mm ones the best.

gyosh
06-21-2012, 07:16 PM
Yeah! The little Victor is such a marvelous tool. And I have several Ibex planes, but I like the smallest 8 mm ones the best.

Okay, you guys are evil. Now I'm looking at all the cool stuff on the Lie-Nielson and Veritas websites.

So here goes. Eventually I want to build ukes as a hobby and I definitely want to start out building mostly, if not entirely, by hand. I want to understand the wood, what it will do, what it won't want to do etc. I want to learn about the wood in a way that probably can't be done using a bunch of power tools. I want the entire journey if you will. I might even use hand drills since I have a couple on hand in my workshop. So with this in mind, what other types of planes am I looking at down the road?

Chris_H
06-21-2012, 08:01 PM
22 years ago I started building a house off the grid, on 15 acres of raw land in the Northern (very snowy) US. There was no power, not even a road in. I had about 5000 bf. of 1x6 t&g pine, and lots of other salvaged wood, and not much of a budget. As I had been working with tools since i was a little kid, I had a decent selection of power tools. I traded them all for hand tools. I started building with hand tools only. This bothered a neighbor who had moved from California, so he gave me a generator. I bought more power tools, and used them. Eventually I got a solar/ battery system, and a nice propane fired generator which could run a table saw. The day that 'real' power came in (8 or 9 years in)was momentous.. the first time I flipped the 'on' switch on the table saw, the way the motor started told me that this was a good day... Hand tools are great, indespensible. Power tools too. You can do the job either way, power, or hand. You can end up at the same place. There is something satisfying in using only hand tools, beautiful, romantic ( maybe in some sick, masochistic way) Using a quality power tool and doing quality work is just as satisfying, at least to me.

You can get by just fine with just one plane, that Lie- Nielsen low angle block plane could be the one... or another... ( could even be a carefully chosen thrift store score and a little TLC ) a really nice hand made Japanese chisel ( you will totally like that too), a nice combination square ( that might be my most used tool, if it disappeared, I can guarantee it would be replaced within days!) a decent set of dial calipers. Start with a nice bandsaw, not just a craftsman 14", but a decent one... Power tools are your friends too!

gyosh
06-21-2012, 08:37 PM
22 years ago I started building a house off the grid, on 15 acres of raw land in the Northern (very snowy) US. There was no power, not even a road in. I had about 5000 bf. of 1x6 t&g pine, and lots of other salvaged wood, and not much of a budget. As I had been working with tools since i was a little kid, I had a decent selection of power tools. I traded them all for hand tools. I started building with hand tools only. This bothered a neighbor who had moved from California, so he gave me a generator. I bought more power tools, and used them. Eventually I got a solar/ battery system, and a nice propane fired generator which could run a table saw. The day that 'real' power came in (8 or 9 years in)was momentous.. the first time I flipped the 'on' switch on the table saw, the way the motor started told me that this was a good day... Hand tools are great, indespensible. Power tools too. You can do the job either way, power, or hand. You can end up at the same place. There is something satisfying in using only hand tools, beautiful, romantic ( maybe in some sick, masochistic way) Using a quality power tool and doing quality work is just as satisfying, at least to me.

You can get by just fine with just one plane, that Lie- Nielsen low angle block plane could be the one... or another... ( could even be a carefully chosen thrift store score and a little TLC ) a really nice hand made Japanese chisel ( you will totally like that too), a nice combination square ( that might be my most used tool, if it disappeared, I can guarantee it would be replaced within days!) a decent set of dial calipers. Start with a nice bandsaw, not just a craftsman 14", but a decent one... Power tools are your friends too!

I agree with the power tools too. My dad was a machinist and I have a healthy collection of tools handed down from him (endmill, drill press, band-saw in need of a new motor and I'm not sure what size because I've got it in storage). I also have table saws, belt sanders, a couple grinders for sharpening tool bits and buffing wheels. I'm actually pretty well set on power tools. From what I see from lurking in the LL the only thing I might need that I don't have would be a thickness sander or lathe, but I can probably rig a thickness sander on my drill-press if I really need to. I just think for myself, and the way that I am about learning, I need to build one or two at least, completely by hand so I get a feel for it. The most satisfying part of the build class I went to, was being able to "play" on the pipe bender. I could tell the wood had a "speed" to it, meaning I could feel/sense when it was just about to give and bend. I imagine thicknessing a top or back would have that same kind of feel to it if done by hand rather than a sander, at least the first few times.

Thank you very much for your input. I really appreciate everyone's point of view. It can only be helpful to hear as much as possible from as many as possible.

Thanks again,

-Gary

Sven
06-21-2012, 10:32 PM
... Eventually I want to build ukes as a hobby and I definitely want to start out building mostly, if not entirely, by hand.
If you can be arsed, check my blog out. I do most of my ukes with hand tools. The big exception is of course the drum sander. I built two first but eventually sprung for a Jet 10/20 that I had to import from England. But it was a good decision.

Sven

gyosh
06-25-2012, 08:13 PM
If you can be arsed, check my blog out. I do most of my ukes with hand tools. The big exception is of course the drum sander. I built two first but eventually sprung for a Jet 10/20 that I had to import from England. But it was a good decision.

Sven

Thank you Sven, I think your blog is going to be referenced often. What size saw is that in the picture (shaping the neck)?

gyosh
06-25-2012, 08:14 PM
I received my Veritas apron plan from Lee Valley today. Tomorrow it'll be put to use on my bridge!!

Sven
06-26-2012, 01:38 AM
I think you mean my Ryoba saw. It's similar to this one wot I found on the net:
https://thebestthings.com/newtools/nakaya_saws.htm

Chris_H
06-26-2012, 01:59 AM
The Best Things is such a pretentious name for a store/ business... however, they also carry Japanese chisels made by the blacksmith Tasai, which are my favorite chisels so far. I also have chisels made by Matsumura, and Miyanaga ( from Japan Woodworker) I like the Tasai best, well worth the money. I also have some lesser quality Japanese chisels I use for brutal things like cleaning glue, or other nasty tasks, the quality difference between the nice hand forged chisels, and the quickly produced types, is very significant. It is a pleasure working with good tools.

gyosh
06-26-2012, 03:25 AM
I think you mean my Ryoba saw. It's similar to this one wot I found on the net:
https://thebestthings.com/newtools/nakaya_saws.htm


The Best Things is such a pretentious name for a store/ business... however, they also carry Japanese chisels made by the blacksmith Tasai, which are my favorite chisels so far. I also have chisels made by Matsumura, and Miyanaga ( from Japan Woodworker) I like the Tasai best, well worth the money. I also have some lesser quality Japanese chisels I use for brutal things like cleaning glue, or other nasty tasks, the quality difference between the nice hand forged chisels, and the quickly produced types, is very significant. It is a pleasure working with good tools.

Thank you Sven and Chris.

I live in San Jose CA. and my in laws are 45 min. north in San Francisco. There's a hardware store in Japantown that carries Japanese woodworking tools so I'll check it out on my next trip to the in-laws and see if they carry the products/manufacturers you've suggested. Again, thank you. I feel like you guys are saving me time and frustration (and money) in not having to learn through my own experience, which tools work and which tools don't.

Dougf
06-26-2012, 03:42 AM
Gary, I realize I'm a little late to the game here, but have you seen these? They're so damn cute!

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32680&cat=1,230,41182

Sven
06-26-2012, 07:30 AM
The Best Things is such a pretentious name for a store/ business...
I can accept paying that much for a chisel (not because I dabble in lutherie, but because I'm a fool) but would you look at the prices at this page?!

https://thebestthings.com/newtools/karl_holtey_planes.htm

Why bother with the .95 at the end of sums like that? Do very rich people even care about tools?

Mind boggling. Phew. I'm getting a beer.

Sven

resoman
06-26-2012, 07:46 AM
Sven, My gosh, I've NEVER seen anything like that!! I like havin good tools and I'm not afraid of spending for tools that will give a lifetime of service but that's ridiculous. I bought a couple old planes, $30.00 and $50.00 price tags and they work absolutely wonderful.

dofthesea
06-26-2012, 07:56 AM
The old Stanley stuff is pretty much the best planes you can get. Easy adjustments and old school steel which keeps an edge for a long time.No's...... 60-1/2, 65 for low angle block plane, and a 90,92,93 for a rabbit plane. Once you use a pre 1940 plane you will never go back.

Pete Howlett
06-26-2012, 08:11 AM
I'm selling my pre-war Bailey...

gyosh
06-26-2012, 08:52 AM
Gary, I realize I'm a little late to the game here, but have you seen these? They're so damn cute!

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32680&cat=1,230,41182

Hey Doug! How was France?

I hadn't seen those yet, but Lee Valley sent me a couple catalogs to look at. Starting to slowly build a hand-tool collection to go along with a bunch of power tools I already own. Still haven't built a bender, but that's next . . . after I hang new towel racks in the bathroom, replace the kitchen faucet, fix an outside faucet etc. etc. etc. I'll get to it before summer is over. I ordered a uke from Rick too. Figured cherry sides and back, adi spruce top.

UkeforJC
06-26-2012, 08:53 AM
As a plane-acquiring addict, I think the Lee Valley miniature block plane is very good.
http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=50232&cat=1,41182

Many people on this forum use this. It is fairly low price and very useful.

gyosh
06-26-2012, 08:54 AM
I can accept paying that much for a chisel (not because I dabble in lutherie, but because I'm a fool) but would you look at the prices at this page?!

https://thebestthings.com/newtools/karl_holtey_planes.htm

Why bother with the .95 at the end of sums like that? Do very rich people even care about tools?

Mind boggling. Phew. I'm getting a beer.

Sven



I bet Ken Timms could build it better!!

Ken W
06-26-2012, 09:54 AM
Why bother with the .95 at the end of sums like that? Do very rich people even care about tools?

Mind boggling.
Sven

Because no one in their right mind would pay $7400.00 dollars for a hand tool. But 7399.95? That's a different matter. I just look at these tools and think that there is no way that I have $7400.00 worth of skill.

Chris_H
06-26-2012, 02:32 PM
wow, that was shocking... I expected expensive, but that was a bit much. I would like to hold one in my hands, see what it feels like.

Dougf
06-26-2012, 03:25 PM
France was great, Paris is a great combination of monumental grandeur and local ambience.

So have you actually started on your build? I started with the neck, I think I spend 8 hours on it.


Hey Doug! How was France?

I hadn't seen those yet, but Lee Valley sent me a couple catalogs to look at. Starting to slowly build a hand-tool collection to go along with a bunch of power tools I already own. Still haven't built a bender, but that's next . . . after I hang new towel racks in the bathroom, replace the kitchen faucet, fix an outside faucet etc. etc. etc. I'll get to it before summer is over. I ordered a uke from Rick too. Figured cherry sides and back, adi spruce top.

gyosh
06-26-2012, 08:07 PM
Okay, I'll be making a trip to SF on Thursday. In the off chance that they carry good chisels, what sizes should I be looking at and how many different sizes is a "must" to start off with?

And Sven. I already called them and I'm picking up the two saws you suggested.

thanks again,

-Gary

Chris_H
06-27-2012, 06:27 AM
I would go with 1/2" first, then, either 1/4" or 3/4" -1" If only 2 chisels, then the 1/2" and the 1/4", unless you have a purpose for the longer cuting edge. Also, those Tasai chisels are super sweet. The first time you use one you will appreciate it. He makes much more expensive chisels, that is his professional line. The higher quality Japanese steel is the best in human history.


You do not need a whole set of chisels, a few sizes will work fine.

Sven
06-27-2012, 08:16 AM
I went back to the saw page that I linked to, and I was surprised to learn that the steel in those saws is Swedish. Makes me wonder why we don't make the saws ourselves up here. As it is, I buy imported stuff in Sweden, made from material exported from Sweden.

And I didn't want to knock that website or the company behind it - it was just on top of a google search for saw pics. Still think that those planes were a bit pricey though.

I think Chris is right about chisel sizes. But I do love my wide chisel, it's 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 inches wide. I dug it out after watching that really old video of the guy (ok Ken, guys) building a uke. The handle was split from banging with a hammer, so I cut it off and rounded the end. Fits snugly in my hand and I use it a lot. One task is to carve the back of the headstock to thickness and a smooth surface. I can make it slightly wedge shaped since I use wooden pegs.

39579

http://www.argapa.blogspot.se/2012/04/thinning-headstock.html

Chris_H
06-27-2012, 08:28 AM
Sven, yes, I agree about the wide one/s.. I was just trying to make the jump in a bit more gentle, as mostly, the narrower blades work.

Most important, get the good ones, hand forged by a good maker. The lesser quality white steel chisels often have flaws in the steel which are both visible, and invisible. Using a well made chisel, and a cheapie, you will feel the difference. Also, the nice ones you will want to take care of, not abuse. They will hold their value, and the nicer ones will increase in value. My chisels are essential and used often.

UkeforJC
06-27-2012, 08:39 AM
I am also thinking, if you do make the bridge by yourself and want to cut the saddle slot by hand, it will be good to have a 1/8" chisel as well.
I have the Ashley Iles Mark 2 Bench Chisels purchased from the best things. http://thebestthings.com/newtools/ashley_iles_bench.htm
I like it very much. I have also heard that the two cherry chisels are good as well.
Lie-Nielsen or blue spruce chisels are very good, but cost an arm and both legs. Not really necessary..

Above all, learning how to sharpen the chisel is......the most important, doesn't matter what chisels you buy. You gotta sharpen them.

gyosh
06-27-2012, 09:32 AM
I'm a former sushi chef and my dad is a top-notch machinist so I'm not worried about the sharpening :)

"The Best Things" is probably a bad job translating job rather than a cocky claim about products.

You guys are awesome. I'm thinking of going with 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 to start with, but you have me thinking about something wider now as well.

gyosh
06-28-2012, 09:48 PM
I'm a former sushi chef and my dad is a top-notch machinist so I'm not worried about the sharpening :)

"The Best Things" is probably a bad job translating job rather than a cocky claim about products.

You guys are awesome. I'm thinking of going with 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 to start with, but you have me thinking about something wider now as well.

I found a local source for the Tasai chisels. They also had similar saws (number of teeth, length, width) but they weren't the same brand. I was going to try to keep my money local if possible, but I'll probably order from "The best things" if you guys think the saws are definitely worth it.

Thank you for such helpful information,

-Gary

Sven
06-28-2012, 10:15 PM
Gary - most Japanese saws I've used have been very good, with small if any differences between them. I did have an American "Japanese style" saw that I didn't like at all.

So I say buy a Japanese one, maybe it'll be made of Swedish steel. I accept prices around 50 USD, spare blades are about 35. Saws in that range give me months of service, at least.

If I was planning on leaving any sawn surfaces visible I'd probably justify more expensive saws, but it's always sanding, planing or scraping going on in the end.

Sven

Chris_H
06-29-2012, 02:49 AM
My Japanese saws are the middle of the road type, around $50ish, maybe a bit less... have not yet tried one of the hand forged, hand tuned blades which are much more expensive. They probably cut better, but... to date, I have lived happily with the lesser saws. As Sven said, if I was leaving visible cut edges on nice pieces, with minimal sanding/ planing/ scraping after, better blades might be justified. For hand saws, the Japanese saws are excellent. If you are new to Japanese saws, it is probably a good idea to start with decent non-hand forged hand set saws. The Japanese saws are thin, the really nice ones are even thinner, and even more unforgiving of poor technique. If you accidently push with a thin balde, it will bend and crease.

And on the chisels... I feel a bit guilty.. I use mine all the time, can justify the cost, and like the Tasai the best. When I buy another, it will be Tasai. No regrets at all. I have another maker's chisel that is even more expensive, It feels great, and it's quality is obvious, but the Tasai are still my favorite. That said, the Matsumura is also decent, and quite a bit less $$. I have some cheapies that cost about $40 each, and they feel like junk to me. I could live with the Matsumura. The Tasai are an absolute pleasure to use, you can feel the quality, and nothing lacking. Still, at the end of the day, we need to be able to afford some wood, and maybe a little food too...

gyosh
06-29-2012, 04:24 AM
Gary - most Japanese saws I've used have been very good, with small if any differences between them. I did have an American "Japanese style" saw that I didn't like at all.

So I say buy a Japanese one, maybe it'll be made of Swedish steel. I accept prices around 50 USD, spare blades are about 35. Saws in that range give me months of service, at least.

If I was planning on leaving any sawn surfaces visible I'd probably justify more expensive saws, but it's always sanding, planing or scraping going on in the end.

Sven

Cool.

Thanks for the insight. The saws I found are right in that price range.

gyosh
06-29-2012, 04:28 AM
My Japanese saws are the middle of the road type, around $50ish, maybe a bit less... have not yet tried one of the hand forged, hand tuned blades which are much more expensive. They probably cut better, but... to date, I have lived happily with the lesser saws. As Sven said, if I was leaving visible cut edges on nice pieces, with minimal sanding/ planing/ scraping after, better blades might be justified. For hand saws, the Japanese saws are excellent. If you are new to Japanese saws, it is probably a good idea to start with decent non-hand forged hand set saws. The Japanese saws are thin, the really nice ones are even thinner, and even more unforgiving of poor technique. If you accidently push with a thin balde, it will bend and crease.

And on the chisels... I feel a bit guilty.. I use mine all the time, can justify the cost, and like the Tasai the best. When I buy another, it will be Tasai. No regrets at all. I have another maker's chisel that is even more expensive, It feels great, and it's quality is obvious, but the Tasai are still my favorite. That said, the Matsumura is also decent, and quite a bit less $$. I have some cheapies that cost about $40 each, and they feel like junk to me. I could live with the Matsumura. The Tasai are an absolute pleasure to use, you can feel the quality, and nothing lacking. Still, at the end of the day, we need to be able to afford some wood, and maybe a little food too...

Don't feel guilty at all. That's exactly the type of feedback I am looking for, I'd hate to have bought what I thought was a decent chisel only to find that there were much better tools available. Eventually there'll be a price to performance limit, but I want the best I can reasonably afford and justify.