Spokeshave: wood or metal?

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Forum topic by Red O'Leary posted 04-24-2015 01:11 PM 888 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Red O'Leary

2 posts in 1359 days

04-24-2015 01:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: spokeshave wood handle metal handle

I’d like to try my hand at making a canoe paddle and a spokeshave seems to be the preferred tool for the job. Finding a quality spokeshave looks to be a bit of a challenge, if you spend enough to get one that’s usable out of the box you’re looking at a Vetitas or similar or one of the wooden varieties Like a Daves shaves. What would make me want to pick one over the other. Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

-- Good luck, RED

5 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1225 days

#1 posted 04-24-2015 01:26 PM

Id look for used and sharpen the dog crap out of it. it is a very simple tool: a blade on two handles with a tapped hole and a holding screw. Make sure you true up the blade opening in the bottom and flatten the face. It is easier than a plane by far.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View jdh122's profile


1008 posts in 2812 days

#2 posted 04-24-2015 01:53 PM

I find the low angle type where the bade functions as the sole (like the Daves shave or the metal version made by Veritas and copied by Woodriver) to be a bit harder to use than the regular metal-bodied ones. I’ve had some luck with used spokeshaves, but really, really like my Veritas flat and round spokeshaves. The Boggs one that Lie-Nielsen sells looks nice too, but I have no experience with it. The only downside to the Veritas ones is that the throat opening is very small (and can be made even tighter using the shims they supply). So not quite as useful for rougher work that immediately follows the drawknife.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2364 days

#3 posted 04-24-2015 03:22 PM

I agree with Jeremy. I have a wooden one like he described, and flat and curved old metal ones. The wooden one never gets used.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Tim's profile


3803 posts in 1956 days

#4 posted 04-24-2015 05:52 PM

Something like a Dave’s shave has a very different cutting action than a metal spokeshave like a stanley 51 or 151. The wooden Dave’s Shave type cuts with a very low angle, nearly whatever your blade’s bevel angle is. Metal spokeshaves have closer to a 45 degree bed angle and cut more like a plane. So they are going to act a little different depending on grain orientation and wood type.

I think you could get by with either, I’m more used to a metal spokeshave. Spokeshaves take off relatively small amounts of wood so you’re going to need a roughing tool of some sort be it a bandsaw, hatchet, drawknife, etc to get close to your final shape before using the spokeshave to dial it in.

View Red O'Leary's profile

Red O'Leary

2 posts in 1359 days

#5 posted 04-25-2015 05:50 PM

Great, Thanks for the help guys.

-- Good luck, RED

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