In Japan, wood planing can get ridiculously competitive

February 13, 2013

You might think you're pretty handy with power tools. But Jason Kottke dredges up this stunning video of the 2012 planing competition finals in Uwajima, Japan. As in, wood planing. They take it quite seriously:

As Kottke notes, some of the planers are incredibly skilled, shaving off wood pieces that are just 9 microns thick:

9 microns! A micron is one-millionth of a meter or one-thousandth of a millimeter. For reference, the diameter of a red blood cell is 8-9 microns, a cloud water droplet is about 10 microns across, and an average human hair is about 100 microns across. How do you get such a thin shaving? A really sharp blade. Like maybe a knife sharped with .025 Micron Polycrystalline Diamond Spray?

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Brad Plumer · February 13, 2013