Lee Valley/Veritas is at it again

Howdy, and happy gnu year to all you dorkers and dorkettes,
I just checked out the Lee Valley website, and they have a new spokeshave on their site: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageI142&categoryQ&abspage=1&ccurrency=2&SID It looks like the old Stanley #151 with some improvements (like a 1/8" thick iron and wooden handles). I was lucky enough to get a chance to test a pre-production model of this thing, and it is a fine tool. I tried it on some cherry bowl stock so it got a chance to cut endgrain, face grain, half-and-half, etc. My initial reaction when seeing the tool was that the mouth seemed a bit to open for my taste (I'm used to the Veritas low-angle and my Guntershaves where you can really finetune the openings). But when I put it to use, I found that it performed extremely well, with basically no tearout and leaving a fabulous surface. (They say that the production model comes with shims for closing up the mouth, so it should be easy to set it for really fine work or heavier stock removal. It also comes with either a flat or curved bottom.)
It has a very nice heft to it, which I found was useful for certain cuts (like endgrain), as it tends to hug the workpiece nicely. I used it both pushing and pulling (as I do with all my shaves), and again found the heft to be an advantage, especially for pulling as it made it easier to maintain contact with the work. The blade also held an edge very nicely.
Finally, having wooden handles is a nice touch. My only gripe about their low-angle shave is that I don't like the feel of the metal handles when compared to my own home-made shaves. Wooden handles just feel better and won't tend to get slippery when I sweat.
I don't plan to give up any of my other shaves, but this one will definitely be very useful. I picture it as a sort of transitional tool between a drawknife and my low-angle shave. The thick iron helps prevent tearout, so I can set it up for a bit heavier cut than the low-angle shave. The extra mass makes it better suited for slightly rougher work as well. And it performed extremely well on endgrain, even though you would expect the low-angle to be better suited for that (maybe again the mass helped here).
Kudos to LV/Veritas again for their work. If you are a regular shave-user, I'd definitely recommend you take a serious look at this tool. Between this shave and their low-angle version, you could meet most of your needs (very tight inside curves might still need something like a MF#1 or radiused wooden shave).
Chuck Vance (no affiliation, etc.)
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snipped-for-privacy@swt.edu (Conan the Librarian) wrote in

And the good news is that they are shipping! When I came home for lunch today, the package with the both of them was there on the table, waiting for me. The curved pieces of that project waiting in the garage shop just moved higher up the list!
I think I will like the the adjustment mechanisms better with these than with the low-angle shave, but then I don't have quite the extensive neander experience others of you have...
Patriarch
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