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Thread: I got my first spokeshave, and I can't get it to cut...

  1. #1

    I got my first spokeshave, and I can't get it to cut...

    Hey all. I got an old Stanley 151 in the mail. I tuned it up. Did like 200 passes on the coarse diamond stone, and did the same all through the other grades to fine. Then the strop.

    Pretty standard. So I think the blade is sharp enough to cut, but when using it I'm still getting a lot of chatter on my maple. It cuts okay on softer wood.

    I skewed the blade a bit because I saw Paul Sellers mention this. It somewhat helped.

    The biggest problem is on very hard wood like maple, I am getting all chatter with dust instead of shaving. Any idea what it could be? Would photos help? I can take some tomorrow.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    I assume you have the blade in correctly - bevel to the rear? You may have too much blade exposed. Wrong angle on the blade - 30* works for me. The bed for the blade could need flattened. The cap iron could be maladjusted. Just some thoughts.
    Last edited by John Keeton; 01-21-2021 at 10:16 PM.

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by John Keeton View Post
    The bed for the blade could need flattened. The cap iron could be maladjusted.
    Thanks, John.
    Is the bed the same as the sole? I did flatten the sole, which I forgot to mention above.
    How should the screw on the cap iron be set? Should it be flush against the blade or out a bit?

  4. #4
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    I have a different spoke shave than that one, but I often find when I am getting chatter I am taking too much of a cut. You did mention it was cutting OK in softer wood.

    I did internet search for images to be sure, but similar to my spokeshave you have a bevel down plane with a very short sole. I have a very similar model from Veritas.

    I would suggest cutting a half circle onto the end of a 2x4 with whatever saw you have handy and get to know the tool, they are a lot of fun when they are dialed in. You could even start working the corner of a 2x4 in your vise to make the roundover bigger. If they aren't fun to use it is usually because they have dull edges, or maybe a blob of something on the bedding surface the iron rests on (like a frog on a Bailey) or just not adjusted correctly for the current cut. Besides twisting the handles to skew the cutting edge in the cut, you can also use the two adjusting nuts on the threaded rods to skew the iron in the mouth.

    My spokeshave (I only have one) is very sensitive to grain direction. It just will not cut uphill. If I need to take off a lot of material I use a draw knife or a chisel to get close and then clean up with the spokeshave.

    Also, when you have a uniform surface on a coarse stone you probably can get by with a lot fewer strokes on the finer stones as you work your way up your grits. Once I have an iron uniform on my coarse stone usually 15-20 strokes on 600 grit will get rid of the marks from my coarse (300 grit stone), and then maybe 20-25 strokes at 1000 grit to clean up from the 600, etc.

    Good luck and welcome.

  5. #5
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    I am getting all chatter with dust instead of shaving. Any idea what it could be? Would photos help? I can take some tomorrow.
    Part of the problem with images is you can post them but you can not see them until you pay $6 to become a contributor.

    Is the bed the same as the sole?
    No, the bed is the part of the spokeshave upon which the blade lies.

    The blade should be checked to make sure it is flat from side to side and end to end before making any corrections to the bed or lever cap.

    If the spoke shave is held up aimed at a light source in a way to look between the bed and the blade with the cap tight, there should be no light seen between the bed and the blade or the cap and the blade. Being careful with a thin file it should be easy to work down any high spots if needed.

    Setting the spokeshave flat on a surface and resting the blade on the surface while the cap is tightened seems to be too much blade extension for me. My small wooden mallet is about 7" long with a hardwood head about 1" round by about 2" long. Light taps on each handle will retract the blade if the cap screw is a hair loose.

    Oops! Just realized the OP has a #151 with blade adjusters. No need for a hammer to set the blade. Only two of my shaves are modern enough to have this feature.

    Often my spokeshaves are held at an angle to the work while using a slicing motion to reduce chatter or roughness.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 01-22-2021 at 12:46 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  6. #6
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    John, If you can post some images it might be helpful to show some of your shavings from softer wood to see how thick your shavings are.

    To help hold the blades when sharpening my trick was to make a holder with a 1/4" thick piece of oak with a screw, nut and a washer so it is easier to control the small blade.

    Here are a couple of images for others to see and for you to see if you decide to become a contributor.

    One Problem.jpg

    This shows what it should NOT look like when looking at a light source through the unit. This one also had a line of light between the blade and the bed.

    Softwood end grain is a good test of sharpness:

    Shaving End Grain.jpg

    These shavings are very thin. Softwood end grain will often separate, leaving gaps, with a dull blade whether with a plane, a shave or a chisel.

    That shave is a #63 with a rounded sole.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 01-22-2021 at 3:15 AM. Reason: That shave is a #63 with a rounded sole.
    "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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    Been there. A couple comments:

    Just when you think you're sharp, you're not. Double check your edge.

    Is the blade oriented properly? It will install upside down and if done it make a scraper that just chatters and makes dust. Since it cuts on soft wood I'm guessing this is not the case.

    Set the shave for a fine cut. Really fine.

    Maple is a bear to work with, and especially so against the grain. Try the cut from the other direction and see what happens.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    Been there. A couple comments:

    Just when you think you're sharp, you're not. Double check your edge.

    Set the shave for a fine cut. Really fine.

    Maple is a bear to work with, and especially so against the grain. Try the cut from the other direction and see what happens.
    My thoughts exactly - sharpness, depth and direction.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
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  9. #9
    I am certainly no spokeshave expert, what I've found is there is a bit of a learning curve to spoke shaves & they are a bit tricky re: honing, blade depth and ergonomics. It helps starting out on an edge of some soft wood 1/2 - 3/4" thick to help get the mechanics down. How you hold it it important too. Against intuiting, but not only by the handles, with your thumbs pressing either side of the iron lowers the center of gravity and gives more control over the tilt. Short firm strokes work best for me.

    That said, honing can be a bit tricky too. The big issue is keeping the angle consistent. AFAIK, you just about have to sharpen them freehand, maybe they will fit a certain type jig. I know some people make a holder which helps keep the angle more consistent.

  10. #10
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    Not sharp enough, and too big of a bite.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    John, If you can post some images it might be helpful to show some of your shavings from softer wood to see how thick your shavings are.

    To help hold the blades when sharpening my trick was to make a holder with a 1/4" thick piece of oak with a screw, nut and a washer so it is easier to control the small blade.

    Here are a couple of images for others to see and for you to see if you decide to become a contributor.



    This shows what it should NOT look like when looking at a light source through the unit. This one also had a line of light between the blade and the bed.

    Softwood end grain is a good test of sharpness:

    Shaving End Grain.jpg

    These shavings are very thin. Softwood end grain will often separate, leaving gaps, with a dull blade whether with a plane, a shave or a chisel.

    That shave is a #63 with a rounded sole.

    jtk
    Jim,

    Show off . That's a nice sharp, well set shave.

    ken

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Engel View Post
    I am certainly no spokeshave expert, what I've found is there is a bit of a learning curve to spoke shaves & they are a bit tricky re: honing, blade depth and ergonomics. It helps starting out on an edge of some soft wood 1/2 - 3/4" thick to help get the mechanics down. How you hold it it important too. Against intuiting, but not only by the handles, with your thumbs pressing either side of the iron lowers the center of gravity and gives more control over the tilt. Short firm strokes work best for me.

    That said, honing can be a bit tricky too. The big issue is keeping the angle consistent. AFAIK, you just about have to sharpen them freehand, maybe they will fit a certain type jig. I know some people make a holder which helps keep the angle more consistent.

    Robert,

    If you have a Tormek or a Tormek bar set up on your grinder the Small Knife jig works great for grinding most shave cutters. BTW, the same knife jig or the large one can work well on draw knives. There are a couple of other Tormek jigs that make having either a Tormek or just the Tormek bar on your grinder worth having. One that is very handy, I believe it is called a small tool holder, is great for reproducing the curve on outcannel gouges.

    ken

  13. #13
    Thanks, guys!

    I will look into all the recommendations today and see if it improves the situation. My guess is maybe that bed is not flat, and maybe it's not sharp enough (I did so many passes!)...

    Oh, one other thing I noticed: it's cutting more on the edges when it does cut. I rounded those off with a file. But it still seems to want to cut there. The center of the blade produces no shavings. I thought this meant the blade had a curve to it, so I tried flattening it, and then resharpening it, but it still does this. So when I do get shavings they are on the edges...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Serna View Post
    Thanks, guys!

    I will look into all the recommendations today and see if it improves the situation. My guess is maybe that bed is not flat, and maybe it's not sharp enough (I did so many passes!)...

    Oh, one other thing I noticed: it's cutting more on the edges when it does cut. I rounded those off with a file. But it still seems to want to cut there. The center of the blade produces no shavings. I thought this meant the blade had a curve to it, so I tried flattening it, and then resharpening it, but it still does this. So when I do get shavings they are on the edges...
    Check the blades edge with a square or straight edge. Check the sole of the spokeshave for any convexity. Some of the planes that have come my way have had this from previous owner's lapping gone wrong.

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

  15. #15
    I would suggest you make sure the sole is flat. Lay a piece of 220 sandpaper on a dead flat surface and rub the sole on it to flatten it. Move up to 320 and 400 to finish the surface. The edge of the blade should be straight across and preferably at a 90* angle to the sides, though that isn’t as critical as it being straight across - level. You shouldn’t ever need to round over anything if it is properly tuned and handled correctly. It may be that the bed is not flat and tightening the cap iron is bowing the blade. You may want to start from scratch and retune the shave. Paul Sellers has a good article on it - https://paulsellers.com/2014/07/fina...-series-maybe/

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