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slightly curved work: spokeshaves, rasps, etc.

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Forum topic by Millo posted 09-23-2011 06:20 AM 3228 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Millo

543 posts in 1773 days


09-23-2011 06:20 AM

Hello, everyone…

So, I am wanting to dig into this project of mine sometime in October (most likely, late October). It’s a wall-hanging mail organizer that will most likely have walnut sides. I want to do some shaping on these, around the bottom and top of these—think what some would call ‘clean, simple contemporary curved lines’, etc. Not sure that’s what I’d call it but that’s what I’ve seen that called.

Initially, I thought I might use a rasp. I have one of those Japanese rasps that Lee Valley and other companies sell. After some thought, I went, “maybe I can do it w/ just a block plane and it’d be faster, or maybe another CUTTING tool”... that’s when it dawned on me, ignorant newb that I am, the fact that maybe just maybe the perfect tool for the job was a spokeshave. This vid made me think a spokeshave might indeed be what I’m looking for: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUux8RBdrOY

For this particular project I’ll be doing subtle convex shaping on black walnut boards 5-6” wide (over maybe a 2” long span at the top and maybe 4” span at the bottom”), but not at a deep radius. You can assume the radius will not be symmetrical.

Maybe a combination of careful marking, the shave, (maybe a rasp) and some sanding will do. Personally, something tells me this would be more accurate, and less prone to provoking “OH $#|T!!!” ...’ugh, time to dimension another board” moments than using a handheld grinder… maybe, just maybe? I’m exaggerating a bit.

So, I immediately checked out the Woodcraft, Lie-Nielsen and Lee Valley websites, as well as traditional Stanleys, etc. Before I go any further, let me mention I am a newb w/o a real shop who is more interested in first collecting hand tools and hand-tool skills that will in the not-so-near future help in attempts at lutherie. I am currently building jigs and crappy simple projects at the local community college’s shop about 4 hrs a week, which where I plan to build said project.

As is expected, I was drawn to the cheap Stanley which can be had for less than $20 at amazon.com. I quickly got a bit of nausea thinking of how much work and many hours I’ve put into attempting to flatten some other cheap tools’ reference surfaces. Then, I went to Lee Valley and Lie-Nielsen and lo and behold… gorgeous tools. REad some reviews. Great stuff. REad some info here at Lumberjocks and thought maybe getting the potentially amazing Veritas spokeshave set or the gorgeous Lie-Nielsen Boggs spokeshave (which by the way if I remember correctly is recommended by David Charlesworth) might be OVERKILL. I of course don’t “need” the whole Veritas set—I could do with the flat one for the project at hand, and the concave one would help for some designs I have floating in my head. Then again, I really would hate to spend much time doing any set up other than flattening/honing a blade and adjusting cuts.

Which brings me to the question: Stanley, Kunz, Lee Valley or Lie-Nielsen? Here is one that might be the best compromise thus far: Woodriver spokeshave HAS ANYONE TRIED THIS SPOKESHAVE? Reviews seem to be mostly positive. BY THE WAY, I DO PLAN TO DO A LOT OF SLIGHTLY-CURVED WORK, HOPEFULLY MOSTLY WITH HAND TOOLS, in building simple keepsake boxes, furniture, etc. in the near future. This would include

From Lee Valley, are these an alternative FOR THE MOMENT?: Contour planes.

Do you guys have a specific tool to recommend? What type of applications have you used it on? What type of tune-up work have you performed on it?

Thanks!


19 replies so far

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4888 posts in 1346 days


#1 posted 09-23-2011 06:29 AM

If you are doing convex curves then a flat bottom spokeshave sould do. Chris Schwarz goes through his tool recommendstions on his companion DVD to the Anarchist Tool Chest. He highly recommended the Veritas / Lee Valley. It is the one in your link.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Loren's profile

Loren

7809 posts in 2371 days


#2 posted 09-23-2011 07:04 AM

Drawfiling with a bastard file defines the final shape of such curves
best in my experience. Do whatever you want to get to a shape
ready for filing, as long as you don’t tear up the grain too much.

Spokeshaves are… um, made for shaving wheel spokes, not for
fairing curves. But for what they do, most any brand of shave
will work okay.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Millo's profile

Millo

543 posts in 1773 days


#3 posted 09-23-2011 07:41 AM

What an intersting name, “spokeshave”, huh? LOL! Yup, I knew where it came from but seeing as so many people use them for other kinds of curved shapes… Huh, so maybe I can stick to a block plane? Had this idea shaves were easier to control for that type of work.

Thanks guys!

View JSilverman's profile

JSilverman

87 posts in 1337 days


#4 posted 09-23-2011 11:02 PM

I have and really like the Lee Valley spokeshaves- their “regular” ones are great and so is the low angle shave… also the wooden shaves from Daves shaves are fantastic if you want to go that route.
http://www.ncworkshops.com/

View Millo's profile

Millo

543 posts in 1773 days


#5 posted 09-24-2011 06:19 AM

DAve’s surely are enticing, but… $$$ Anyone tried the WoodRiver one? How about the low-angle Veritas?

View JeremyPringle's profile

JeremyPringle

284 posts in 1197 days


#6 posted 09-24-2011 04:04 PM

Millo, the LV low angle spoke shave is really good. I have one and I love it.

Also, you mentioned that you are interested in making instruments? You are likely to use a spoke shave making instruments, as with any tool, if you have one, you will find a reason to use it. You did also ask about the LV contour planes (detail palm planes?). They would also be a good choice, and I can almost promise that you would use them making instruments. One thing that you do need to keep in mind thought, is that any contoured blade… is well contoured. They are going to take some time and practice learning how to sharpen them properly… but that time is well spent. Highly recommended!

Block planes can be great for outside radius work, but no good for inside work. I think you are in the right direction with a spoke shave or the detail planes.

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

739 posts in 2443 days


#7 posted 09-24-2011 10:13 PM

I’ve tried the Lee Valley spokeshave on my first project with lots of curves in poplar. It makes the work very pleasurable. Next I will get the curved bottom spokeshave for concave curves. These are marvelous tools, and feel super good in my hands! Next, I will have to display them nicely; then be sure to talk to them every time I pass by. They are great tools!

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3541 posts in 2684 days


#8 posted 09-24-2011 11:10 PM

I’ve often used shaves on guitar necks. Simple, effective and QUIET. Make ‘em super sharp and watch the shavings curl.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Millo's profile

Millo

543 posts in 1773 days


#9 posted 09-24-2011 11:22 PM

Excellent… I see you can use the Veritas low-angle shave for both flat and concave surfaces. Is it recommendable vs. the regular-angle ones? Description says it is good for precise work. I do want to use it sometime soon for some contouring on small keepsake boxes—nothing too crazy like Andy’s or Greg’s. Would it be a good choice?

View JeremyPringle's profile

JeremyPringle

284 posts in 1197 days


#10 posted 09-26-2011 02:27 AM

Millo, disclaimer this is my ‘opinion’, but based on what I have seen, done, and used, I find that if you are going to get ONE, get the LA option of it. They are (again, my opinion) more versitile to more jobs and can deal with crazy figures and end grains better than standard angle ones. And trust me.. once you have it in your hands, you will be looking for things to use it on.

View Millo's profile

Millo

543 posts in 1773 days


#11 posted 09-26-2011 06:16 AM

Hey Jeremy, thanks. I’ve come down to actually getting one or three of the regular spokeshaves after reading some reviews on other sources. The router plane will have to wait until next month, which is just around the corner. ;-) Thanks!

View Millo's profile

Millo

543 posts in 1773 days


#12 posted 09-26-2011 04:00 PM

I ordered the set of 3 w/ the tool roll. Now I just need to learn/figure out how to sharpen the little buggers. DO YOU GUYS USE SHOPMADE JIGS FOR HONING THESE?

I figured the “learning curve” for spokeshaves is steeper than that of a router plane, so I wanted to get used to them as soon as possible. I have used a router plane before.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3541 posts in 2684 days


#13 posted 09-26-2011 04:36 PM

I sharpen free hand. Sharpen just like a plane iron. Finish the back first then the edge. Do not use a rank cut. Fine shavings are the way to go. I also hold the shave at a slight angle when cutting.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View JeremyPringle's profile

JeremyPringle

284 posts in 1197 days


#14 posted 09-28-2011 03:18 AM

Millo, I am assuming that you ordered the Veritas spokeshaves? Good choice.

Veritas ships alll their blades lapped flat, but they are not polished. The first thing you will be wanting to do it polish the backs of the blades (1000, 4000, 8000). Then just as Bill explains, it will be far easier to learn to sharpen them by hand than making and fussing with a jig. Make sure that your stones are flat. This is often over looked and missed, but it very important. Then just hold the blade in both hands, rock back and forth until you feel the blade lay flat on bevel. Then, lock your arms into position and move your whole body. Of course there is the whole thing about making the secondary bevel and all that, which you know about? If you need more help, fire me off and email, and I will take some pictures of the process and send them your way.

And regarding the router plane…. you will not be dissapointed. I have both the large and the small router planes…. and I love them. If you check out my projects, I even made a special box just for them.

View Millo's profile

Millo

543 posts in 1773 days


#15 posted 09-28-2011 05:57 AM

Bill and Jeremy, thanks for your replies about sharpening.

Cool, I figured it’s a bit more awkward than w/ a plane iron given its size. I imagine even to polish those backs—yikes!

Jeremy, I have only sharpened bevels w/ a honing guide, never freehand. Yup, I do know about microbevels and assumed these wouls also have one. I will check the Veritas instructions to see what they suggest. I am excited, as well as about my decision to eventually get their router plane as well. Great looking box you got there for it. Great looking boxes in general, actually! An inspiration for a noob like me.Thanks again guys.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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