Sunday, August 24, 2014

Woodworking in Burma, handtools

It's not always easy to scratch your handtool itch while on holliday, but I got lucky a few times. In the first place the wood carvers. This is probably mostly touristic entertainment, but they were quite serious about it. Just a pitty they cover most of it in glittering varnish, gold or black paint.

During one of our trips around Inle lake we encountered a guy making a bunch of simple chairs and tables. Morticing by hand, despite the router in the background. And he also used one of these typical Asian handplanes. This one has a double iron, bedded somewhat steeper then the 45 degrees we usually have overhere. It looks very homemade like. Another regular tool in Asia is the framesaw.

The highlight of handtool working certainly was this small boatyard, also in Inle lake. First time ever I saw pit sawing in real life! Another nice picture is the planing bench, very simple, but effectively enough, I guess.

Ripsawing by hand. Of course, what else?

And finally a picture of handplaning with one of these Asian planes. Good to see how they use these in real life. They probably use them in every possible way imaginable, but this handposition is unique to these kinds of planes.

That's all about the woodworking I've seen in Burma. It is a unique country. Because of its isolation during the last decades, you get a glimpse of the old ways of Asia. But Burma is changing really fast now, so if you want to see it yourself, don't wait too long. One last picture, the famous and unique rowing technique of the fisherman in Inle lake.


  1. Excellent Kees, seeing the pit saw in action must of been a highlight.

  2. Nice pictures!
    Did you ask if you could try one of the planes?

  3. Yes it was an amazing trip, not just these woodworking things but all the other culture and nature too.

    And no I didn't try the planes. I looked around to buy one, but couldn't find it in any of the shops I asked.