Spokeshaves

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I don't own any spokeshaves and have never used one. I don't know if I've never needed one or just didn't know I needed one. Just got Lee valleys latest flyer and there on the back cover is their latest offering. Wooden handled flat and round spokeshaves. Now these certainly looks like tools I should have in my toolbox, but what would I do with them. I usually like to come up with a little justification when buying new tools so I am looking to the group for some help here.
TIA
Woodpecker
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The one I have is at least 60-70 years old.It's not something you immediately grab for in the shop but it is great for doing rustic work.I've made hand made dowels with it,set the blade back and trimmed off step edges,great for putting small radius on corners that need paint or varnish. Come to think of it,....it's a handy little versatile tool. dp

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IMHO, it depends on if you do much curved work or not. I have ... er ... several, and I use them on a regular basis. I'd have to disgree with one of your statements above (a shave is for "rustic work"). A drawknife is for rustic work, a shave is a finishing tool.
I do a fair amount of carving, and I make bowls without the help of a lathe. Shaves really stand out in situations like this, and a well-set one can handle the grain transitions on curves without tearout.
As for the original poster: If you haven't missed not having one, then I guess you've been fortunate. But I know that I couldn't get by without one. And I just enjoy using a shave. It's one of the more relaxing and pleasureable shop activities around.
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) And the LV/Veritas shave wouldn't be a bad place to start for a newbie to shaves.
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HEP! Disagree! I can make my drawknife do as fine a work as you may care to define!
(mind you, it can also hog bits out better than a scrub plane...) :D

the ones I still use a lot are the brass mini shaves LV used to sell a few years ago. The three small ones with the different soles. They are so handy to clean up carvings it's unreal.

wait until you start on the *big* drawknife... ;)
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Nuno Souto
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Noons wrote:

OK, you got me, Nooners. :-) I should know better, and in fact, over the holidays I carved a small statue out of a mesquite log using my trusty old Jennings for roughing the piece out. With a little different approach (skewed with a light touch), I was able to get close to a finished surface on it. But I still took my shave for the last bit of smoothing of the surfaces.

I never did pick up those guys, but between my mini-Guntershave with a radiused sole, big Guntershave with a barely-radiused sole, MF#1, Stanley #53, low-angle Veritas, plus the new Veritas #151, I think I've got all the bases covered.
And no ... I don't have a Tool Problem.

When I was hogging wood off with the Jennings, I was working up quite a sweat. (And yes, the chunks were larger than a scrub.) Not quite the same as leisurely peeling off little curlies with my shave. :-)
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) But I admit I still need more practice with my drawknife.
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I was under the impression that drawknives were invented (if that's the correct word) for "rustic work" such as making round poles, log house construction, and the like. Does anybody out here in Fort Stinkin Desert know what they were initially designed for?
Where is Eric Sloane when you need him?
(That's a rhetorical question if you're humor-impaired.)
--
Jeff Thunder
Dept. of Mathematical Sciences
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On 9 Jan 2004 19:25:07 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@math.niu.edu (Jeffrey Thunder) brought forth from the murky depths:

(Nobody here but us Indians.) They're for slicing wood. Planes flatten, drawknives round and shape.
Alex Bealer sez "Two tools similar in the techniques of use and design and almost identical in function are used to shape smaller timbers and boards and provide a smooth, if somewhat irregular, surface. These are the drawknife and the spokeshave, both already unfamiliar to many modern woodworkers and somewhat difficult to acquire in modern stores."
Michael Dunbar likens them to planes, but says they're a cross between a hewing tool and a plane. As he states in his book, I, too, cussed the thing the first hour I worked with it. I then learned to loosen up my grip and was in love with it in no time. The looser the grip you have on it, the more control you have. Go figure!

He's right there on your bookshelf, sir. "A Reverence for Wood" is my favorite, but I don't think there's anything in there about drawknives in that one.
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Well, now that I'm back home, I see that A Museum of Early American Tools has exactly what I was looking for. To quote:
The drawknife was used to taper the sides of shingles, to rough-size the edges of floor boards and rough-trim paneling before planing them, to fashion axe, rake and other tool handles, and wheel spokes.
and The final finishing on much drawknife work was done by [the] spokeshave.
I rest my case. :) (Not that anyone is listening any more.)
--
Jeff Thunder
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They are still used by coopers today for smoothing the sides of barrels. And a host of other uses.
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Nuno Souto
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The "old" ones they sell are head and shoulders above any with the steep angle of attack. Not that the new ones aren't pretty, but the 1/8 A2 irons with edges in line with the cut will work rings around 'em.
With the old-style design, it's difficult for even kids at school to make the shave chatter.

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Spokeshaves have a lot of handy uses. They are basically the equivalent of very short planes. They're excellent for smoothing and shaping curved items. They're handy for shaping wooden bevels and chamfers. When I'm doing things like making furniture aprons with curved bottoms, I'll cut close to the line with the bandsaw, and then trim to the line with a spokeshave. It's easier and way more pleasant than sanding.
There are 2 basic type of spokeshaves. The typical metal bodied shave really is pretty much a short plane. It has a bevel down blade and a lever cap to hold it in place. The traditional wooden spokeshave (and the LV shave that has been on the market for a few years) has a bevel up blade acts as the back part of the sole of the shave. Many people prefer this type of shave.
If you want to try out a spokeshave at a reasonable cost, LV sells a pair of not-quite traditional wooden shaves. They're listed as "contour planes" in the catalog, and the pair of the small and medium shave are only $20. Wife included the pair of them in my big box o' tools from LV Hannukah present. With very little tuning, they worked well. (The friction fit of the tangs in the body was a little loose on the small shave, but I put a very small sliver of wood in the holes with the tangs, and now the fit is perfect.)
There are some variations of shaves on the market. One is a cigar shave, which is useful in tight radiused curves. I have one that I bought, and recently I made another one myself. I posted a picture here: http://groups.msn.com/StuffbyDaveWife/recentprojects.msnw?action=ShowPhoto &PhotoIDb
David
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On 09 Jan 2004 07:08:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comkey (J Pagona aka Y.B.) wrote:

Dunno if it's been said yet or not, but please do NOT buy the pretty blue Record shave all the stores seem to carry. They are masterful examples of lousy design, yet everybody sells them. People who buy them may never want to try a shave again.
Specifics:
1. The bed is not flat (critical), 2. The leading edge of the um - I think it's the equivalent of the cap iron in regular planes - is rounded on the _underside, which makes it impossible for it to brace the blade from chatter. The curve is so great you won't have much metal left if you try to flatten it on the grinder,
3. The blade sucks anyway.
Great example of a chattering machine, not of a plane or scraper of any kind!
James snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com
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I agree with you completely. I can make most anything work (I have a Buck plane that works very well) but these things need new parts made and re machining on others. Not worth the effort.

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On 09 Jan 2004 07:08:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comkey (J Pagona aka Y.B.) brought forth from the murky depths:

Cool.
I like the strange fish in your QuiltQuarium(tmLJ) there, too.
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hehehehehe....Wife really liked that. You coined a winner there.
David
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On 10 Jan 2004 00:00:56 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comkey (J Pagona aka Y.B.) brought forth from the murky depths:

Tendjewberrymosh, David. Gladtobeobserviz.
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I would have expected that as well, and I've always had a preference for low-angle shaves. But, the new LV shave gives the other one a run for its money. It is a joy to use from an ergonomic standpoint (wooden handles, curved depressions cast into the body for your thumbs to rest on), has the thick iron, and the added mass can be a plus, IME.
I guess it depends on what you plan to use a shave for. I expect I'll still reach for the low-angle shave for getting a surface ready for finishing, but I can see the other one being very handy for heavier stock removal. And it did a suprisingly good job on endgrain.

I've found that when I get chatter it's more likely a matter of how I am holding the shave. The low-angle design does help, but I was getting zero chatter with the other one. Again, the added mass may have been a factor, as I found it very easy to really hug the work with the shave.
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) If I was forced to choose between the two I *might* give the low-angle a slight edge for ease of adjustability, but it would be a tough choice.
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Precisely. And with the impatience of youth, one bad experience can be all that's required. Good reference on that big blade for them.

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I guess I should have paid closer attention to what you actually wrote, not what I thought I was reading. :-) You are absolutely right that the low-angle version is almost foolproof. And having a fair amount of experience with shaves, I know how to avoid chatter even on a tool that might be prone to it.
Also, maybe I'm a natural with these things. I remember when I first got an old #53 and put it to the test, and I happily made semi-round pieces out of square pieces for hours on end, just because it was so much fun. :-) Then I made a wooden low-angle shave with one of the irons that John Gunterman had made for his shave-making classes, and I was totally blown away by what it could do.
So, yes ... for a newbie to shaves, the Veritas low-angle would likely be the best first choice. For those who use shaves a lot for various tasks, the new Veritas high-angle would be an excellent addition to their tool arsenals.
Chuck Vance
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On 13 Jan 2004 04:59:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@swt.edu (Conan the Librarian) brought forth from the murky depths:

Verily!
I disagree. BUILDING ONE, as we did, is a better first shave, especially with a Hock blade in it. Learning how to use it as you build it makes it even better.
The Veritas L/A shave would be a better second shave.
And who needs a third? <ducking + nomex=ON>
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