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Thread: Spoke shave blades

  1. #1
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    Default Spoke shave blades

    I picked up a Kunz round profile spoke shave a while back to use for oar and paddle making. Used it for a bit after a quick sharpen, but I'm in the process of prepping all my tools for a project and decided to flatten the back.

    And holy heck is this thing not flat. Just ordered an extra coarse diamond stone since the coarse wasn't going to cut it in reasonable time. It looks like the iron was press stamped with a low spot towards the screw hole. I've cleaned up a bunch of Stanley iron and none of them were nearly this bad. Is Kunz just really low finish quality? Or are all rounded spoke shave blades going to be like this due to their shape and manufacturing process?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Why is it imperative to flatten the back side? I can see it for a chisel in order to pare flat, but the cut of a spoke shave, like that of a plane is always at an angle to the wood, it does not make a difference if the back is perfectly flat, just make it sharp.

    I do not see that Ron Hock has curved blades for spokeshaves, unfortunately. I have one on my Stanley 151 and it makes a lot of difference in staying sharp.
    Steve Martinsen

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Just a general comment. Kunz is the tool equivalent of a car built by a partnership of Chevy and Yugo. And, to my mind, slightly overpriced for what they are. I wouldn't expect a lot, but with luck you'll have glommed onto one that can be successfully fettled.
    David G
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Definitely not imperative, but it's also a thing I've done with every plane type tool I've had - just never had one this rough before. I think of it as a step along the way to making sure it is in fact me who is bad at the thing, not the tool.

    Good to know it's lipstick on a pig. Should end up a decent enough tool with some elbow grease, but I won't be getting any more of them.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    The part around the hole isn't ever going to do any cutting - have you met the steel ruler trick?
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Unfamiliar. Sighting with the ruler on top for gaps? I'm not worried about the area around the hole, but would like at least the forward 1/3 flat.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades



    The ruler gets used as a shim, not a straight edge.
    Last edited by P.I. Stazzer-Newt; 10-14-2021 at 01:09 AM.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    As long as the cutter makes good line contact on the back of the mouth it will work fine. It is not as though you are trying to fit cutter to chip breaker. Is the back of the mouth machined flat?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Spokeshaves always took a bit of fettling. They're cheap and don't have the fuss put on them like planes do when manufacturing.

    It's normal to have to sand/ file off paint/ overspray on the frog so it's got something flat to sit on. Flatten the back so the mating surface is good. Look at the cap and plane a flat on the edge touching the plane blade like you would on a normal plane so it's all well supported and solid. For sanding off paint on the frog bed, I find a flat file wrapped in some sandpaper slides around and gets it (pretty) flat, or at least better when I refurbished my Stanley, Record and then Preston spokeshaves. Remember these are high angle, as opposed to the wood spokeshaves which are low angle.

    I don't own a Kunz 55, though to be fair to them they are cheap and cheerfull at 30, I have the Clifton (550) version and that was plenty spendy in comparison: 120. Really only Veritas, Lie Nielsen or Clifton will sell you a spokeshave that doesn't need work out the packet. Back in the day 50-100 years ago they had to fettle the Records and Stanleys too if people were serious and used one.

    Interestingly the only plane manufacturer I've found were the Preston spokeshaves that used laminated steel plane irons. The ornate ones are real beauties to use and hold, the best ones also have a lateral adjust feature beside in/out. They're the best ever made I'd say, but they didn't so a spar spokehave I don't think.

    On a functional level, you should be able to get the Kunz working and it'll be worth it, I found the Clifton one I have makes rounding things twice as fast with the concave blade. Easy to use, so fettle away and make it into a tool. It's quite normal to take it apart and boss it, remove all the manufacturing problems. I kind a like the green too. And I like that Kunz aren't going pretentious. The chamfer shave they do is also real cheap in comparison - an old Stanley is 3 times the price. You'll probably have to fettle either.

    When mine needs resharpening, I'm thinking I'll stick that sticky sandpaper on a round mast offcut and do it that way. If your blade is completely **agged, new blades are available for 10 or so.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 10-14-2021 at 06:48 AM. Reason: 00

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    I agree with David Gs judgement of Kunz tools. Junk.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    It might be hard to do the ruler trick on a curved blade.
    Steve Martinsen

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Quote Originally Posted by offbelayknife View Post
    I picked up a Kunz round profile spoke shave a while back to use for oar and paddle making. Used it for a bit after a quick sharpen, but I'm in the process of prepping all my tools for a project and decided to flatten the back.

    And holy heck is this thing not flat. Just ordered an extra coarse diamond stone since the coarse wasn't going to cut it in reasonable time. It looks like the iron was press stamped with a low spot towards the screw hole. I've cleaned up a bunch of Stanley iron and none of them were nearly this bad. Is Kunz just really low finish quality? Or are all rounded spoke shave blades going to be like this due to their shape and manufacturing process?
    Kunz are pretty cheap quality, and you're right about the back of that blade not being flat, I have one, same issue.
    But in the round mouth shave thats not particularly important as long as the area around the "edge" is in contact with the stone when you're sharpening it.
    Oddly, all of the Kunz tools that I have, in spite of being cheaply made, have quite good steel in their blades.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Quote Originally Posted by SMARTINSEN View Post
    It might be hard to do the ruler trick on a curved blade.
    Kinda depends on the nature of the curve - it's quite common to have a straight iron mated to a radiused sole - less common is the curved iron....

    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    The offending steel - you can see that there are low spots along the leading edge and the hole. Seems the part was pressed out and deformed slightly along the radius.

    spokeshaveiron.jpg

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Looks like you got a free East German back bevel on that. That's a trick to reduce tear out on gnarly hardwoods instead of a high angle frog. So taking the good...your '55...it'll perform especially well around knots and reduce tear out but will push with more friction/ effort. It'd also be good taking a square piece of Sapele with figured grain down to an approximate dowel before a dowel plate etc without tear out.

    If it's too high and non functional...if you want to try your luck with a new blade...Rutlands UK have a sale on Kunz at present and a new blade for a '55 is reduced to 6.99. A Clifton blade is 20 but doesn't seem to be any stock anywhere. You could use that new one for softwood.

    https://www.rutlands.com/sp+replacem...keshave+rw1032

    I have an old Stanley and newish Clifton '55 and the blades are flat with no funny business. Remember Kunz probably made this tool, paying German wages, running a furnace, paint etc for about 12 total then a 6 profit, then
    6 for seller then 6 vat on a 30 end sale.

    Did you buy it new or from someone else? If you want it flat so the cutting edge is back to normal angle, use it to cut the profile, then stick some course paper on it and spend a couple of weekends taking the edge back to the flat area. Does it work like that though? If it does just use it. Sometimes you want high angle when you're getting unavoidable tear out, like burrs etc. Clouds/ silver lining and all that.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 10-14-2021 at 03:17 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    I bought a Kunz spokeshave after reading one of James Krenov's books,in which they were praised.I told a German friend that I was looking for one and he seemed surprised since he regarded them as nothing special.He was right.I found similar issues to the OP but a coarse diamond stone helped.It does take a decent edge and holds the sharpness for a while,but its still the last spokeshave I reach for.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    It was purchased new. I'll put the effort into making it as good as it'll get - it's pretty easy to have on my desk and spend some time at whenever I have a moment. Gotta fidget with something, may as well be somewhat productive.

    My other thought was that this is the perfect excuse to get a surface grinder

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    all of the Kunz tools that I have, in spite of being cheaply made, have quite good steel in their blades.

    John Welsford

    I heard that.

    Uniquely Kunz have a range of HSS 'standard plane' blades too. 70 a pop for a No.4.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    The scary sharp method would flatten the back side of the blade in a trice while you are waiting for your Norton extra coarse diamond plate to be delivered.
    Steve Martinsen

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Well, fellas, you can't complain that they didn't warn you. After all, they are aptly named!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    A bit of time on the extra coarse, very scalloped.

    kunz-blade.jpg

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    Quote Originally Posted by offbelayknife View Post
    A bit of time on the extra coarse, very scalloped.

    kunz-blade.jpg
    I would leave it at that and sharpen the cutting edge. Resharpening over time will remove that back bevel.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Spoke shave blades

    A bit of study on Japanese sharpening methods may help. I have had pretty good luck peening even old Stanley plane irons. You only need to "bend" them a couple of thousandths of an inch to make it work for you...

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