Saturday 8 December 2012

Holm Oak

Japanese Oak (from an old Kanna) on the left.
Holm Oak (right) from one of 2 boards I have had in the workshop for a year.

It just so happens this piece is about right for Mk2 (!) on the spokeshave.
It planes really cleanly, feels denser than Japanese Oak,
and it is very heavy too.
Holm is an ancient word for Holly - it is an evergreen Oak.

Now I have a little experience here (not much)
so will start to share my top tips for Japanese Spokeshave building.
1. A rectangle is best, this is 33x22mm (I have a thing about numbers)
2. Stay approx 2mm from the line when preparing the bed (to a flat line)
3. The curve is pared in slowly when the blade is tapped in a little at a time.
When I get making again I will show this in more detail.
Can't wait...


  1. Berin,

    You said, "Holm is an ancient word for Holly - it is an evergreen Oak." Does this mean that it is technically a softwood? Do you know the Latin name for this tree?


  2. Hi Chris,
    Quercus Ilex is an Evergreen Oak, but technical definitions of whether it is a hardwood or softwood do not relate to its leaves, as my woodwork teacher always went on about, it is related to the seed, whether it is an angiosperm (hardwoods) or gymnosperm (softwood) and there are exceptions to the general understanding as I am sure you are aware, when teaching I always pass round a piece of Yew and a piece of Balsa just to confuse the kids, of course Holm Oak is as strange exception too! But it is an angiosperm.
    Do you have any experience with the wood - does anyone know much about it?!
    Kind regards,

  3. Hi, I just happen to discover your blog and love your tool making. I'm a french woodworker so excuse my English.
    Evergreen oak was used by plane makers from the southern part of France to make planes and hand tools bodies, its a very hard and dense wood but very nervous and true it looks a lot like japanese oak for kanna. I have a few planes in evergreen oak, I'll take some pictures and send them to you.
    Best regards

  4. Hi Francois, thanks so much for your comments, I would love to see any pictures of tools made from Holm Oak, it is very difficult to source here - I only have 1 plank left myself, more Kanna I am sure to come. You are lucky in France - it is a wonderful wood! Best regards, Berin.