Building the Spokeshave – Part 1

Here’s the first steps in making the wooden bodied spokeshave. These first few steps are the critical ones. Get these ones right and you’re home free. Part 2 is just the gingerbread.


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14 thoughts on “Building the Spokeshave – Part 1

  1. I have a couple of dozen wooden spokeshaves, different sizes, each unique. Each one of them, without exception, has a distinct curve in the blade, parallel the long axis. This curve has a direct relationship to the curve in a drawknife blade, as it existed before industrial processes took over in the 60’s-70’s. Broadaxes notably exhibit a three-way curve (as do the slick, and the better carving tools) in fact they are dangerously ineffective with a perfectly straight edge, whereas the modern drawknife with a jointer-knife blade is merely awkward.
    Do you think the machine-straight edge of the current variety of spokeshave is informed by the curve? Or by the machine?

    • It’s easier to make by machine. But the up side is that I’ve noticed no difference in the working characteristics of the modern straight bladed shaves and the old wooden shaves. In fact most modern wooden shaves work better simply because the bodies aren’t all worn out. Most old shaves just aren’t solid enough to work well.

      • For the ones that rely on a screw mechanism, agreed. Those are tedious at best. The others, with tangs that are a steel wedge driven into boxwood, a new throat piece usually sets them right.

        • The problem I usually find with the tang style is that the tangs slowly wallow out their holes and the fit becomes sloppy. Then they don’t hold their setting. On all that I’ve tried the cut would gradually get heavier until the blade would just pull out of the mortises. As much as I wanted to find a good traditional tang style shave, I’ve pretty much given up looking for them as I’ve never found one that could be made to work very well. All that I’ve taken a chance on were all wallowed out.

          • I understand the frustration, it’s just hard for me to pass up using a tool that’s likely more than 100 years old. I have found a few old spokeshaves with tiny nails driven alongside the tangs. Shavings, or thin shims and a bit of epoxy, work much better.
            Re: my original question: I think the curved blade is better suited to green wood, and the slight front-to-back curve will reach further into hollows when carving a spoon or a cabriole leg. Hock’s blades, as far as I know, are straight in both planes.

          • I’m with you on the 100+ year old tools. Nothing like them. I also agree the minor curve in the blade is an improvement. Not really conducive to machined work though. At least not at a reasonable price. Hock’s are flat as far as I’ve seen. They’re still good blades though. I think it works out ok in a shave because they’re so short soled. Axes are a different story because of their length. That’s my theory anyway.

  2. Great video. Really have missed your videos. Thanks so much. I’ve built a couple of different spokeshaves from kits and read Wilson’s book, but this is a great design, especially the adjustment from the top feature. It looks easier than some of the kits out there. Have you experimented with the sole angle to make a more rockered sole to get into tighter curves? Thanks again.

  3. Awesome Video, I agree with Dr. Nono. With the cost of the kit not considered, would you go with Hock or Veritas? You’ve gotten me motivated enough to try making my own spokeshave.

    • They’re both good options. You can’t go wrong with either. I’d personally go with the Hock just because I like the look better. But like my home brew blade the Hock requires a separate tool (allen key) for adjustment whereas the Veritas is self contained, no Allen key necessary. So it’s really about personal preference. You can’t go wrong with either.

  4. I’m in! I ordered the LV kit, and look forward to the build. One question, though: LV recommends a front bevel of 3-4 degrees, whereas yours is 8 degrees. Is this angle critical?

    • I wouldn’t say it’s critical. It just needs to be enough of an angle to provide clearance behind the cutting edge. Three degrees is awfully close to not enough. I’d go with at least 5. But you can always start low and increase the angle if the shave won’t cut right. It’s much harder to lower the angle.

  5. Oh, one other thing, what do you think of doping the threaded holes with CA glue a couple of times to “harden them up” a bit? Good idea / bad idea / not necessary?

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