How to Adjust the Chip Breaker of Your Japanese Hand Plane
Riho Egawa·July 25, 2022
By correctly adjusting the chip breaker of your Japanese hand plane, you can eliminate issues caused by shaving against the grain, like tear-out and difficulties controlling it. You can see the difference in the wood shavings. Take care of your hand plane and it will take care of you! You don't have to be a seasoned craftsman to use a Japanese hand plane. Nor does adjusting the chip breaker have to be a daunting task.
In this article, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to adjust the chip breaker on your Japanese hand plane.
1: The Purpose of the Chip Breaker
When using a hand plane, it is more challenging to shave against the grain than with the grain. The chip breaker is designed to hold the wood grain down as the blade passes over it, which results in a smoother surface.
By correctly adjusting the chip breaker, you are able to eliminate issues caused by shaving against the grain.
The difference between using or not using a chip breaker is quite apparant when comparing wood shavings.
When shaving against the grain without adjusting the chip breaker, the blade can cause tearout and be difficult to control.
Taking the time to correctly adjust the chip breaker will result in beautiful shavings and no tearout on the wood's surface.
2: How to Adjust the Chip Breaker
To adjust the chip breaker, tap the top of it with a hammer to bring it's edge close to the blade's edge.
Continue tapping the chip breaker until the edge is just a hair width apart from the blade's edge.
3: How to Reinsert the Blade
If the backing comes out too much, by even a hair-width, the wood will not shave cleanly and the shavings will come out wrinkled. This is because the backing is hitting the wood and not the plane blade as it should. When this happens, you will need to take the blade out and readjust it again.
To re-adjust the blade, hold the plane body with one hand while using your finger to secure the blade and chip breaker. Tap the base of the hand plane to shift the blade forward and back into alignment.
Check out our other articles for more great tips on how to care for and maintain your Japanese hand planes!