Sunday, May 14, 2006


My first dai

It had to happen some day: I had to try to make my own dai. The occasion presented itself after I've visited one of the few remaining dai maker in Taiwan. The man still has some stock of 20 to 30 years old red oak blank and I've bought one to seet a 60mm blade in it.

Comparing the red oak from Taiwan with red oak dais I have from Japan, I can tell that the former is of very good quality. It is noticeably dense. I told to myself I would precisely measure this density but haven't done it so far.
The only concern I have is that the remaining stock is only mainly masame (straight grain), and very few pieces are oimasame (quarter sawn stock, more stable for a dai).

Drilling holes will be of great help in this hard wood.

Start chopping.

Chopping in progress

Checking the blade width and marking it

Mouth chopping, a critical operation where it's so easy to ruin previous job. Mouth opeing is done after about 2/3rd of the chopping have been done on the other face.

Side cleaning (chopping at that stage looks like a mess, doesn't it?)

Sawing the side grooves

The cutting is finished, now remains to tune the sole.

For dai making, I recommend Jay Van Arsdale's detailed step by step explanation on dai making:
I've seen it after my first attempt... Thanks Bob for the link!

just found your interesting work here! i am in Taipei.and just got several interesting tools(kanna) from Japan Takayama which were been seen long time ago. but i dont know how to email you those picture here. tks.
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