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Thread: Convex spokeshave, How to use a

  1. #1
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    Default Convex spokeshave, How to use a

    I have bought a convex soled spokeshave, sharpened the blade to 20 degrees, set it to protrude a hair's breadth but I can't get a smooth finish on hard or soft woods. The tool judders badly and produces a rippled surface. [I don't have any problem using a flat soled spokeshave].

    What am I doing wrong?

  2. #2
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    I have the Lee Valley convex spokeshave. It takes a bit of practice. Skewing the spokeshave helps a bit. So does pulling rather than pushing (depending on the work-piece and grain). I found that I rely on the sole of the convex shave less than I do in the normal flat shave. This means that I need more control in my wrists to keep the blade from catching. Try rotating the shave as you pull towards you to feel the point at which it goes from shaveing to cathing and chattering.

    I've also found that I almost never use the convex shave becasue the flat soled one will do most of the inside curves I have to work on.

    dave
    Last edited by dmede; 07-24-2006 at 01:14 PM.

  3. #3
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    I have a Stanley convex sole spokeshave and have better luck pushing it than pulling (to each his own, I guess.) I like to rest my index fingers on the adjustment knobs. I seems to help keep the blade in contact with the workpiece. I second the idea of skewing the blade, particularly if you are rounding a surface such as a spar.

  4. #4
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    What brand is it? I find that most new-manufacture Stanley spokeshaves are utter crap, especially the convex sole models. I had the same problem and figured out that the issue was that Stanley appears to make the convex sole model by simply taking the flat sole model and milling the sole convex. The castings in old spokeshaves took the shape of the sole into account, so you could have a narrow throat.

    This results in a huge throat, which is why you get the tearout. If you make a sketch, you can visualize what happens when you remove material from the sole like that.

    As far as usage, when you use a spokeshave, you should be bearing down on the sole ahead of the blade.

    Since I tossed my Stanleys in the junk bucket, I'm a happy camper with my Lee Valley/Veritas 'shaves and my vintage 'shaves.

    If you're determined to make your shave work, there's a good article a few years back in Fine Woodworking on remodelling new 'shaves to get the desired narrow throat and make it usable. The process involves raising the the bed with thickened epoxy to narrow the throat and provide a uniform bed so the blade will be less likely to chatter.

    Also, new 'shaves have crappy cap irons / chip breakers. The edge is rounded because they're tumbled to polish them. This makes them tend to clog with shavings, since the round edge allows the shavings to jam under it. The article recommends making a new cap iron out of 1/4 ins brass as to make the old cap iron work would involve removing too much metal to get to a sharp edge.

    Or, you could get an old 'shave and revivify it or buy a good one from Lee Valley, Lie-Nielsen, or Dave's Shaves. Myself, I tend towards buying new, 'cause I'd like manufacturers of quality tools to continue to exist.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmede
    Skewing the spokeshave helps a bit.
    Skewing the blade changes the blade geometry so the cutting angle is effectively lowered. It also adds a modicum of "slicing" action to the cut.[/quote]
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  6. #6
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    The only design of convex Stanley spokeshave that I can get to work well is sold here as the 63 series.It is painted black and has no adjuster screws.My feeling is that the handles on the larger type are too far above the cutting edge and this added to the other factors mentioned above leads to the chattering.

  7. #7
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    I am by no means a woodworker, but there was a very informative article about spokeshaves and their use in a Wooden Boat magazine a couple months back. They mentioned installing wooden handles under the iron ones, to give more stability. Might be something to consider.

  8. #8
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    Default Convex Spokeshave

    The Spokeshave is a Record No. A151. Don't know if this is a well-known make in the USA but Record tools used to be considered good quality here when they were still being made in Sheffield.

    I've tried skewing it when using and this does give a better result.
    Pulling instead of pushing doesn't seem to make a difference.

    I suppose that, ideally, the radius of the curve of the sole should be approximately equal to that of the curve you are trying to cut, so that as much of the sole as possible is in contact with the work: but to achieve in every case that would require a lot of convex spokeshaves!

    Anyway, thanks for your advice and interest.

  9. #9
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    Sorry, but since no-one has asked the obvious question, I will. Is the blade sharp? I mean really sharp - as in cut-your-eyeballs-just-by-looking-at-it sharp? Spokeshaves don't work worth a damn if they are even a wee bit dull. - Norm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twister
    I suppose that, ideally, the radius of the curve of the sole should be approximately equal to that of the curve you are trying to cut, so that as much of the sole as possible is in contact with the work: but to achieve in every case that would require a lot of convex spokeshaves!
    Actually, the bearing on the sole, ahead of the blade is more important than the bearing on the entire sole. You should be applying a lot of pressure with your thumbs so the 'shave is guided by that part of the sole ahead of the blade.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by outofthenorm
    Sorry, but since no-one has asked the obvious question, I will. Is the blade sharp? I mean really sharp - as in cut-your-eyeballs-just-by-looking-at-it sharp? Spokeshaves don't work worth a damn if they are even a wee bit dull. - Norm
    That's true. If you can't shave with it, it's not sharp enough.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  12. #12
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    Smile

    ditto on Norm's post. polish it like any other blade. also it is torture to get the right edge on a curved or even skewed blade for that matter.
    "those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you. So carve your name on hearts and not on marble."

  13. #13
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    Regarding Record, they are well known to woodworkers here. I tried to buy a Record vise a few months ago only to find out they weren't available anymore, either here or, I think, in the UK. I believe they sold most of their tooling to Anant in India, but I don't have any experience with the newer tools.
    I bought a couple of used Stanley spokeshaves (a combo-concave one in fact) at the CWB event. Hope they work well!
    Lew

    Quote Originally Posted by Twister
    The Spokeshave is a Record No. A151. Don't know if this is a well-known make in the USA but Record tools used to be considered good quality here when they were still being made in Sheffield.
    Anyway, thanks for your advice and interest.
    Last edited by Lew Barrett; 07-28-2006 at 04:50 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett
    Regarding Record, they are well known to woodworkers here. I tried to buy a Record vise a few months ago only to find out they weren't available anymore, either here or, I think, in the UK. I believe they sold most of their tooling to Anant in India, but I don't have any experience with the newer tools.
    Hardwick's has the Anant-made Record vises in stock.

    From what I've heard, Anant is making them about as well as Record. The finish on the ones at Hardwick's didn't look quite as nice as the Record version, though.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  15. #15
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    Working inside curves with a convex-sole shave is a little tricksy and needs practice.

    I found that the amount of iron protruding was critical - and that it needed to be matched to the curve radius, one approach was to set the iron "proud" at one side of the shave and "shy" at the other - then you can hunt out the sweet spot - this won't work for thick cuts.
    Even when they work, they don't work well. I blame engineers.
    The only thing engineers have done to the toaster in the last 80 years is make it disposable. I think it applies to a lot of things

  16. #16
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    Long before you have those fussy, weird-soled spokeshaves working properly on tight curves (if you ever do), your counterpart using wood rasps and old machinist files has already applied the first coat of varnish and has finished supper.

    Why do you spose it is you never see an antique, convex-soled spoke shave?

    Shucks, fellas....getting a compass plane with a 12" sole to work efficiently can be challenging going up and down the grain....shorten that sole to 1" or so, and do you have more Rob Lee marketing brilliance, or a really useful tool?
    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 07-28-2006 at 06:14 PM.

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