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Thread: spokeshave tuneup?

  1. #1
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    spokeshave tuneup?

    Stanley makes a flat bottom spokeshave (IIRC model 12-951). It's inexpensive and resembles the #151 but I'm told the bed casting is typically painted and rough making the tool perform poorly. Is this a tool I could tune up without too much trouble? File the bed flat, lap the sole, sharpen the blade and put it to work? Kuntz makes a similar spokeshave that costs more and might be made a little better but would still take some fettling.

    I've been looking at vintage #151 spokehaves as well but $30 - $50 for an user tool that probably needs at least as much work seems high to me.

    Can anyone point me toward more info on cleaning up and tuning a spoke shave.
    -- Dan Rode

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  2. #2
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    There was an article in FWW a while back, where they tuned up one of these types of shaves and ended up making a new, brass, lever cap, and rather than trying to file all over the bed, hit it with files in a few of the high spots, and then made a "new" bed with a thin coat of something like JB Weld or some sort of epoxy product. I'll try and dig out what issue it was in, but it was an interesting approach.
    " Be willing to make mistakes in your basements, garages, apartments and palaces. I have made many. Your first attempts may be poor. They will not be futile. " - M.S. Bickford, Mouldings In Practice

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  4. #4
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    Found it - it was the October 2002 issue, (#158) it's titled "Soup Up Your Spokeshave" and it's by Brian Boggs. It also shows up in a couple of Taunton handplane books - if you search "Soup Up Your Spokeshave" and "Brian Boggs" in Google, I'm getting a Google Books preview of the Taunton "Working With Handplanes" book, that lets me read most of the article. (Page 97 is telling me it's not part of the preview.)
    Last edited by Jessica Pierce-LaRose; 01-30-2014 at 11:40 AM.
    " Be willing to make mistakes in your basements, garages, apartments and palaces. I have made many. Your first attempts may be poor. They will not be futile. " - M.S. Bickford, Mouldings In Practice

  5. #5
    I personally am a believer in the make your own approach. You can buy a blade from Hock and use the teach shave instructions or you can buy the large or small kits from Veritas/Lee Valley. Both make exceptional low angle shaves. Either ways it is only a days work and you get a tool customized to your own choice of wood and shape. A shave is an easy tool to make.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  6. #6
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    If you want to fettle a couple of newer spokeshaves, I am tempted to make you an offer on a pair I have.

    Here is a former thread on some Kuntz spokeshaves:

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...unz-spokeshave

    Here is a post by Bob Smalser on fettling spokeshaves:

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...-Shave-Tune-Up

    Here is another post by me on how my opinion was formed on the two spokeshaves mentioned above:

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...sker-on-Shaves

    Since that was written I have bought two more spokeshaves. One is a flat bottomed Stanley of which number my memory fails and the other the Preston reproduction from Lee Valley. There was a thread on the LV spokeshave here. Most of us who purchased one found it needed a little fettling to get optimum performance. I also did a little work on the handles to make it more comfortable to use.

    Unless you feel a need for the adjusters on the #151, the #51 is more common and usually going for less. Just be sure you are buying one with some blade left. New blades will cost you as much a the shave. My hope is the blades out of my junk shaves are decent metal. Maybe they should get a test drive.

    For fettling you would need a very thin file if you have to work the bedding.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
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    The reason I like the #151 style spokeshave is the adjuster. (I'm told) It's pretty easy to make fine incremental adjustments and it's also easy to set the blade askew so that one side takes a wider shaving and one takes a thin shaving. What else I've read about spoke shaves is that a well tuned one is pretty easy to use but a poor example can be difficult to get good results.

    I've never used a spokeshave. I'm just hoping to get one on the cheap to learn and practice with.
    -- Dan Rode

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  8. #8
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    Thanks Joshua. I was able to track down the article. I'll read it tonight.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Pierce View Post
    Found it - it was the October 2002 issue, (#158) it's titled "Soup Up Your Spokeshave" and it's by Brian Boggs. It also shows up in a couple of Taunton handplane books - if you search "Soup Up Your Spokeshave" and "Brian Boggs" in Google, I'm getting a Google Books preview of the Taunton "Working With Handplanes" book, that lets me read most of the article. (Page 97 is telling me it's not part of the preview.)
    -- Dan Rode

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  9. #9
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    I'm not against making my own but I have no experience making tools. I've been thinking about trying my hand making a simple block plane later this year but even that is a bit daunting for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson NH View Post
    I personally am a believer in the make your own approach. You can buy a blade from Hock and use the teach shave instructions or you can buy the large or small kits from Veritas/Lee Valley. Both make exceptional low angle shaves. Either ways it is only a days work and you get a tool customized to your own choice of wood and shape. A shave is an easy tool to make.
    -- Dan Rode

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  10. #10
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    The reason I like the #151 style spokeshave is the adjuster. (I'm told) It's pretty easy to make fine incremental adjustments and it's also easy to set the blade askew so that one side takes a wider shaving and one takes a thin shaving.
    I am sure having adjusters helps a lot in the beginning with the learning curve of spokeshaves.

    Setting one is actually not real hard with a small tapping mallet or hammer. A light tap on the blade will advance it. This needs to be a very light tap. A light tap on the handle on either side will withdraw the blade. The Lee Valley reproduction of the Preston shave is a little sensitive to this and has disciplined me toward lighter adjustment tapping. This has helped perfect the adjusting of my other shaves.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
    Daniel,
    A couple of years back, I bought a newer Stanley spokeshave (before I read these forums.) I spent a lot of time trying to get it to work. Filed the bed, etc. etc. The blade was arguably the worst part - warped. I spent forever flattening the back so that I could get it sharp. I even put in a new Veritas blade because the Stanley blade chipped. After all that, it will cut well, but the adjuster screws weren't installed properly (not perfectly aligned), so it is hard to adjust and always will be. While I'm sure I learned something fettling the new tool, if I could do it again I would get an old one - I think you will have better luck. (Or save up and buy a LN or Veritas now because you will do it later anyways - spokeshaves are great fun.)

    P.S. the Veritas low angle kit isn't hard to make. There are good explanations on the web that will help you. I made one blank with a cheap off cut of maple as practice, then made it with rosewood. That is my favourite spokeshave now.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Rode View Post
    The reason I like the #151 style spokeshave is the adjuster. (I'm told) It's pretty easy to make fine incremental adjustments and it's also easy to set the blade askew so that one side takes a wider shaving and one takes a thin shaving.
    and the downside to having the adjuster is that there is more metal sticking up which limits you to how tight a curve you can attack. Trade-offs everywhere.
    "If you have all your fingers, you can convert to Metric"

  13. #13
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    I bought two hf spokeshaves (round & flat) before I knew how to fettle them properly. I could not get them to work right until I read an article similar to this one (it may have been this one): "http://www.timberframe-tools.com/tools/tuning-up-a-cheap-spokeshave/". The article helped me understand how a spokeshave works. Since then I have bought more expensive spokeshaves. I now use the hf ones for roughing and the others for the finer work.

  14. #14
    Really? I picked up a used 151 some time ago and it's my go to shave. I find it odd some find these challenging to use. it's really one of the simplest tools out there. I let my kids use it over most tools b/c the results are so quick and satisfying. not hard to push and steer like a plane (my kids are young). I really like the adjustability of the 151, so I wouldn't bother w/ a 51 if given a choice. Not particularly difficult to set the blade either way but they usually go for similar prices on ebay. Personally I like old/vintage vs. new/cheap. A well used shave/plane was used for a reason -it worked! If you want new, get an LV or LN, not a green one. Or as Dave suggested make one (on my list as well). As far as fettling, clean off the dirt and grim, sharpen the blade, make some shavings and then, only then, make some minor changes if needed at all. Unless you know what you're doing, I'd guess most people do more harm than good w/ all this fettling business the magazine gurus purport. Knowing what needs to be addressed vs is just part of the learning curve of using the tool takes experience and practice. Please don't take a file to it, you'll likely overdo it. Sandpaper is slow, but far more forgiving unless the casting is really bad and you've got to knock down some serious burrs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Stephens View Post
    As far as fettling, clean off the dirt and grim, sharpen the blade, make some shavings and then, only then, make some minor changes if needed at all. Unless you know what you're doing, I'd guess most people do more harm than good w/ all this fettling business the magazine gurus purport.
    Well said and good advice.

    All tools should be given a "test drive" before any attempts at fettling. Maybe a clean up and sharpening is all it needs. Many used tools have likely been fettled by folks who used them to make a living.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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