Category Archives: Daiku Study Meetup

Making Kebiki Together


The daiku study group met again. We’re a varied group of craftspeople that understand the power and functionality of hand tools, always a cool group of people.

For today we started with a rip sawing exercise, cutting shims. It gives a lot of opportunity to correctly start cuts, and a feel for the saw in the cut as it rides the kerf. I didn’t do a good enough job explaining the exercise, it turns out the most challenging aspect for this was not the sawing, but correct marking, which is not at all surprising in light of the common difficulties for cutting more complicated timber joinery. The saw exercise for the next meetup will be lap joinery with backsaw/dozuki!

Interestingly, the one piece of kit that has been consistently absent from the tools that people bring is an appropriate sized rip saw for these common tasks of ripping lumber up to 4″ or so thick.


With the height of my bench surface we all ended up down on our knees while sawing, very natural.


Peter has this great little sashigane you can see on the bench in the foreground, perfect for smaller work, I just love it!


I was watching out of the corner of my eye as Peter cleaned up the radius of the keyed wedge for his marking gauge. He has a skill for making molding planes, good quality work using good quality Japanese chisels.


Its interesting to me that everyone very naturally maintains a consistent relationship of their head to the chisel. I go a bit farther and usually sit on the beam while mortising. The same relationship is maintained while paring down end grain by connecting your chin to the top of the chisel handle. Chisel/Body/Mind


Peter also has a very interesting set of Ray Iles Chisels, really solid construction and top quality steel. Its not every day you get to take a chisel like this in hand to try, they’re quite expensive.


We took as the model for our marking gauges one of the most commonly used in my shop for dimensioning and general layout work. A fence about 4″x3″, beam about eight inches , a keyed wooden locking wedge. As you can see we all got up to something a bit different. For instance, I wanted a double beam gauge for mortising, especially for scoring the sides of stopped dado. None of us were able to finish in the allotted time, which was partially by design. I’m hoping that this will encourage further work at home.


I used an exceptional little piece of oak for my fence, really dense stuff that required lots of sharpening for my kanna to plane properly. The beams are red oak, much more forgiving by comparison.


Odate shows a double beam gauge with separate wedges and mortises for each beam. I know that I’ve seen these where the beam shares the mortise, but I was unsure if it would create an adjustment problem, where tapping on one beam would change the other. And it is true that it does take a bit more care setting a measurement between beams, but I’ve so far found it not to be too tedious to use.

I hope that this meetup has expanded horizons, I know that I’ve learned from watching the work of others! I’m casting about for good ideas for the next time we get together, probably something along the lines of further developing fundamental skills, like making a matched set wooden straight edge locked with dovetail keys! That sounds like a good way to focus on bringing lumber to four sides square and a bit of re-sawing stock with bench vise or low saw horse. Not to mention a keyed sliding dovetail. I’m liking the exploration of joinery when it also creates a useful tool!