Spokeshaves have been around since the dawn of woodworking and till now are unbeatable for diverse tasks in this field. This little ingenious tool will be an inevitable item in your toolbox once you learn to handle it.
In this article, you will get suggestions on how to choose this incredible small tool and some of the best spokeshave reviews of the market.
What is a Spokeshave?
A spokeshave is a hand tool which is used in woodworking for fine finishing. The small bearing surface of this tool has made it perfect for shaping edge work and fine curves.
It has a controlled depth of cut that can be adjusted by extending or retracting the blade into the tool. A thumbscrew on the tool opens the throat deepening or refining the cut.
You can use it for chair spindles and legs, axe handles, curved handrails, wheel carts, spokes, guitar, boats, bows, arrows, etc.
What are The Different Types of Spokeshaves?
For professional working, you should keep different types of spokeshave in your collection. Even in a single job, you may need multiple spokeshaves of different sizesin order to work with different curves.
There are big spokeshaves ranging from 240-305 mm length. Smaller ones are nearly 90-170 mm which you canuse for a more intricate work.
The flat spokeshaves consist of flat blade and sole and are used for a flat surface and outward curves. The round spokeshaves consist of flat blade but round sole and are mainlyfor inward curves.
For convex surfaces, you will get different spokeshaves in which both blade and sole are convex. For concave or hollow surfaces, you can choose concave spokeshaves where both the blade and sole are concave.
How to Use a Spokeshave
Low-angle spokeshaves have their blades set with an angle between 20–35˚. Bevel-up shaves are great at stock removal of straight-grained woods rapidly. They are great for ‘pushing’. Standard angle bevel down spokeshaves is great for a nice finish.
First, you have to do some tuning like sharpening the blade, flattening the bed, cleaning up the mouth, scraping this paint and smoothing the sole.
There are two handles in a spokeshave which you have to hold while pulling or pushing the tool against a workpiece.
If you learn both techniques, it will be easy for you to work consistently without changing your position. Always cut towards the grain. Cutting against the grain will be hard.
Hold the handles lightly with hands, don’t hold them on their ends, it wotn’t give you the proper control over the cut. Use your thumbs to apply pressure through the cut when you need to push out the shave. When pulling the shave use your index finger to power the shape.
To work on a concave surface, shave down into the delve from both sides and lift up as you reach the bottom of a cut. To cut a rectangular piece into a cylindrical shape you have to start by planing down the four corners to create an octagonal shape. Continue eliminating corners until you get a cylindrical edge.
How to Sharpen a Spokeshave
You who work with spokeshave must know that a spokeshave needs sharpening regularly. Even if you buy a spokeshave today, it may need honing the blade before use. Here we will discuss how to sharpen the spokeshave blade with sharpening stones.
You will need 3 flat sharpening stones, coarse, medium and superfine. Hold your blade approximately 25 to 30 degrees. Don’t go too much towards 35 degrees because the heel gets in the way on the very narrow flat sole.
Go full and stroke and sometimes go with a circle. It gets the swarf out of the way. Keep going until you feel a burn on this. You will notice that the corner edges of the blade has not been sharpened yet.
Now keep the blade lifting up until you get the bur there, again continue stroking it until you hear the sound of getting a burr. Lift one side of the blade not more than a quarter-inch and rub it against the stone. Lift up the other side and repeat this.
Now come to the medium grit stone and do the same thing. Work on the heel also, not just the cutting edge onto the 1200 grit super fine stone to polish the whole bevel.
Now take your blade on a strop and pull it straight towards you. Drag with all your strength at the same angle for 30-40 times and then, you are done.
What is The Best Spokeshave?
Here are the reviews some of the best spokeshaves of the market.
1. Anndason 2 Pcs Adjustable Spokeshave
Contoured handles are easy to operate and give you more control over the angle of cut, Great for woodworking, woodcraft, curved works.
Adjustable cutters are ideal for shaping the chair legs & seats, removing tree buckle, working inside the curves.
Allows you to perfectly dial in the thickness you want and it is even from one side to the other. Set one for fine shaving, and another for courser shaving.
Gives very nice cuts with little effort. The blades are sharp enough out of the package. With little modifications, you can up the performance. The soles are rough and will take about an hour to clean up and put a mirror finish on the blades.
The blade holds its knife-edge over several hours of planning. The steel is much harder than you are expecting for such an inexpensive tool.
Many a branded spokeshaves have a flatter sole and probably a much nicer blade and iron on it, but for 1/4 the price you will find it a very functional tool.Check on Amazon
2. Robert Larson 580-1000 Kunz
This is not one of your higher end tools, but it is well worth the money if you just need a small spokeshave for little jobs.
Good for detailed woodworking. Especially for convex surfaces. Solid and sturdy construction, with simple adjustments and a blade made of good steel. The blade holds an edge and is easy to adjust for really fine work on curves.
Right out of the bag these spokeshaves don’t work too well. The bottom is roughly machined, the slot is kind of ragged, the blade doesn’t have a good edge, it’ll skip and chatter and put nasty marks on your woodwork.
But with less than an hour of work, you can turn it into a pretty good tool. You will be amazed at how smooth it cuts and how easy it is to control. It will take off paper-thin shavings. Like all shaves.
It will chatter and dig if you are “greedy” in your depth of cut, but once you figure out the maximum depth for your material, it leaves a perfectly smooth surface.Check on Amazon
3. Kunz Round Bottom Spokeshave
Highly recommended as a staple item in a hand woodworker’s essential list of tools. Great for smoothing and shaping concave wood surfaces. It peels the bark easily and works around the knots in the wood.
Adjustment knobs are for the precise setting of the blade. The lever cap holds the blade in place securely. Round bottom for concave surfaces.
High-quality German steel blade ensures you paper-thin shavings, no chatter whatsoever.
A standard tune-up including flattening the back of the blade and honing the edge will turn it into an impressive tool. The machining on the face was a little rough, properly shaped but machining marks may add friction and make the spokeshave harder to draw. A few strokes on a diamond stone will solve that.
Once you figure out hand placement and pressure, the correct motion or cut depth, you will love it.
Some users claim about it that they have got nothing but chatter. Maybe the chattering comes from trying to take off too much material or the object not being properly supported. If you have never used a spokeshave before, one with a round face is probably not where to start.Check on Amazon
4. Stanley 12-951 Spokeshave with Flat Base
This inexpensive tool has been designed for curved work in woodworking, shaping chair seats and legs and other intricate curved items.
Flared handles are ergonomic and comfortable to grip and operate. The blade is not very wide. Like all such tools, it needs some serious honing but after investing a few minutes on the stones and strop, it’s a truly decent usable tool.
It easily shaves off paper-thin ribbons of wood and allows for accurate shaping of the workpiece.
The tool base is dead flat and nicely machined. Cast iron body provides a lot of heft making strokes easy and consistent. Blade tensioning is positive and secure. Cutting depth adjustment is a little tricky in that a 1/4 turn may go from no cut to a very deep cut.
It takes some time to get used to. It doesn’t require some pretentious “good hands” talent or even strong hands and upper body.
It is a clunky, utilitarian looking tool, unlike the works of art. The paint is a bit uneven and overall hideous.Check on Amazon
5. Accessbuy 10” Adjustable Wood Craft Cutting Edge Spoke Shave
A very good starter tool at a very low price. Handles are comfortable to operate. Once you figure out how to adjust the blade cutting depth, it works great. You can use this on everything from soft pine to walnut and oak with no problems.
The product is a good solid build for the price. The iron casting is not precision, but that only affects the look of the device and not the function. You can use it in shaping chair seats, legs etc.
It is perfectly functional after a bit of sharpening and a few adjustments to the body of the tool itself. You need to flatten the base and remove the paint otherwise paint kept rubbing off on your workpiece.
The adjustment screws are for setting the blade straight or at an angle. The blade does not keep an edge for long, and developes knicks after short use. But, directly after sharpening, it works great.
Therefore, a functional tool, not of the highest quality. You could pay more for another piece that’s all deburred, smoothed, and precise fitment. Otherwise, head for a deburring tool straight away.Check on Amazon
People also ask
Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.
What Do You Use a Spokeshave For?
A spokeshave is a tool used to shape and smooth wooden rods and shafts – often for use as wheel spokes, chair legs (particularly complex shapes such as the cabriole leg), self bows, and arrows. It can also be used to carve canoe or kayak paddles.
Why Does My Spokeshave Chatter?
That cap needs to be level and seated firmly all the way down. It’s just really easy for a small shaving to prevent the cap from seating firmly, which will result in chatter. Just my 2 cents. This is a common problem for first time users of round bottom spokeshaves.
What Does Spokeshave Mean?
: a drawknife or small transverse plane with end handles for planing convex or concave surfaces.
Do You Push or Pull a Spokeshave?
A spokeshave (above) more closely resembles a hand plane, with its adjustable, replaceable blade fitted tightly to the tool’s body for finer shavings. … Unlike a drawknife, you can push or pull a spokeshave, depending on grain direction and the most comfortable working position.
What Type of Carpentry Tool Is a Spokeshave?
A spokeshave is a hand tool used to shape and smooth woods in woodworking jobs such as making cart wheel spokes, chair legs, paddles, bows, and arrows. The tool consists of a blade fixed into the body of the tool, which has a handle for each hand.
What does a Spokeshave look like? A spokeshave is kind of like a plane in this way, except planes are used on flat surfaces. Unlike a plane, the hands are to the sides of the body, so they can be used to control the pressure and execution of the cut. … Spokeshaves can have flat, round, concave or convex soles.
Q. What is a draw knife?
Answer: A draw knife is a woodworking tool with longer blades to remove large slices of wood rapidly. It doesn’t work as smoothly as a spokeshave.
Q. What is a smoothing plane?
Answer: A smoothing plane is a bench plane that is capable of producing such a great finish which needs no use of sandpaper, coated abrasives, etc.
Q. What is a block plane?
Answer: A block plane is a small woodworking tool to use with one hand for cutting end grain.
Therefore picking up the best spokeshave from the wide range of collection is now up to you. If you need just a functional tool you can pick up the low priced tool mentioned above, if you want a professional outcome, try the high-quality spokeshave which may cost you some more bucks but will give you the comfort of use and satisfactory result.