If you are looking to get a silky smooth finish on your next woodwork project, you need to get your hands on a quality Spokeshave that will do more than just shaving. But the market is not short of options to choose from, and finding the right fit can be an uphill task.
Like technology, spokeshaves have come a long way. In the early days, they were seen as multipurpose tools mainly used to finesse crooked ends and undulated sunken spots. And although not much has changed, spokeshaves have become more specialized with models designed for specific tasks.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced woodworker keen on taking your carving skills to the next level, you will need a spokeshave that compliments your passion and desire. You need a tool that’s efficient, durable, and economical.
In this article, we are going to look at the features of the best spokeshaves that make a difference. We also lay down a range of options, any of which can help you get the most out of wood.
A Breakdown of our Favorite Picks
#01. WoodRiver Adjustable spokeshave
If you are conversant with woodwork, then The Woodcraft Company is not a foreign term as they are well known for their quality tools. This spokeshave is a product of the company, so be sure of uncompromised quality.
As its name suggests, it has an adjustable flat sole that makes it easy to create varied cuts of different depths. It has threaded rods to hold the blade in position. The rods are threaded into the blade, but you can remove then when honing the blades.
Its’ 1.05 pound cast iron body with comfortably curved handles ensures control, and you can comfortably operate with one or two hands. The adjustable shoe helps you control the depth of cuts to make precise shavings.
#02. Robert Larson 580-1000 Kunz 151 Flat Spokeshave
The Robert Larson 580-1000 is a top-of-the-range tool designed to offer a mix of comfort and quality. Its flat sole is perfect for finessing and sprucing up both straight and convex areas.
Manufactured in Germany, this tool has quality where it counts. Notably, it features a finely sharpened steel blade that’s held in position by a pair of adjustable screws to control shaving thickness. The blade firmly holds the edge during use to produce fine curves.
It has a well-assembled body designed for use with both hands to do a perfect job on wood carvings where a hand plane would fail.
#03. Anndason 2pcs Adjustable Spokeshave
In the woodwork industry, it is very difficult to come across a manufacturer willing to sell items in pairs, but that’s exactly what you get with this model. That might sound like a well-thought marketing gimmick, but make no mistake! This tool presents a combination of quality and durability.
It is particularly good for beginners thanks to its contoured handles that ensure a firm grip that’s so essential at the learning stage. The fact they come in pairs gives you a lot of flexibility while working. You can save valuable time by adjusting each to a different setting as you work on varied surfaces. For instance, you can use one for rapid shaping and the other for fine sleek work.
Its 9” carbon steel blade is ideal for wood shaping and is neither too long nor too short. The body itself is made up of high-grade metal to increase durability and stability on the shaving surface. According to the manufacturer, the spokeshave goes through heat treatment for toughness and hardness.
It comes with anti-rust oil applied before storage.
#04. Kunz Round Bottom Spokeshave
The Kunz round bottom spokeshave is a handy specialized tool perfect for sprucing up rough wood. Its flat bottom is ideal for concave surfaces. During use, it is important to understand the direction of wood grain, the right pressure and, hand placement for precise results.
The 2-inch German steel blade is sharp, and with the throat opening set to a fine cut, it produces paper-thin debris. In fact, most woodwork experts have it for scale down work where the goal is more control over the shaving process. It is designed to be pushed and pulled using both hands to finesse very rough edges. It has a lever cap to hold the blades securely.
Blade setting is a major source of worry for most woodworkers, but with this tool, it’s touch and go. It comes with a pair of brass adjustment screws that are easy to operate.
Perhaps the only downside is that machining on the surface was a little rough and therefore pull and push strokes maybe a bit shaky. Luckily, this can be rectified with a few strokes on a diamond.
#05. Swpeet 2Pc 10” Adjustable Spokeshave
If you intend to add basic spokeshaves to your collection, this would be a good pick. It comes with 46mm long carbon steel blades ideal for tasks such as shaping chair seats and legs. Out of the box, the blades are so sharp you’re advised not to touch with bare hands. And as if that’s not enough, the blades have been subjected to heat treatment to make them resistant to wear. With time, however, the blades become blunt, and you might need a file for sharpening.
The bottom is made of wear-resistant material to ensure continuous standard work throughout the spokeshave’s lifetime. Adjustable screws will help you to adjust blade length quite effortlessly. As such, this item is made with a variety of surfaces in mind. It would be a good addition to any woodwork shop.
The handles are coated with corrosion-resistant epoxy for durability and have shapely contoured handles for that effortless grip.
#06. Accessbuy 10” Adjustable Wood Craft Cutting Edge Spokeshave
This tool is versatile that you can use on both soft and hard surfaces without complications. It planes complex and irregular patterns on your surfaces such as curves and arcs. Of course, for adjustable spokeshave such as this one, you have to master blade settings. Doing a couple of road tests before the commencement of the project is key.
It comes with an iron cast body that adds weight so vital for stability during use. But as with all metallic objects, you have to clean after every use and keep it away from moist surfaces to prevent rusting.
Occasionally flattening the base is important to remove the paint that tends to accumulate on your woodwork with regular use. The blades are sharp enough out of the box and can maintain their efficiency for a prolonged period. Replacement, however, is inevitable in the long run.
It might not rank top on the list of spokeshaves of the highest quality, but this item would be a worthy addition to your carpentry tools. That it lies on the lower end of the price range makes it an even more attractive option.
#07. Pinnacle No151 1/2 Radius Spokeshave
If you want a tool that offers comfort and quality in equal measure, the Pinnacle No151 would be a good pick. It is a made-in-Britain radius-soled spokeshave with a high-class Stanley gullwing design.
The body is manufactured from stainless steel, which is lighter and more durable than iron cast spokeshave models. The blades are cryogenically treated and have double tamper, so adjusting them to increase blade depth produces precise results.
When this spokeshave is handled with patience, practice, and technique, it guarantees perfect woodwork finishes.
#08. Stanley 12-951 Spokeshave with Flat Base
One of the best ways to get the most out of wood is to craft stylish curved pieces. This model is built for just that. Whether you want circular tables, or round baskets for storage, you will find this model quite useful. It is a product of Stanley Works, a renowned bolt and door hardware based in Connecticut.
The reason most spokeshave don’t do a good job when it comes to curved work has much to do with fixed cutters. This tool excels as a curving tool thanks to its adjustable cutters that allow you to cut to different depths. With a width of 2-1/8″, the cutters significantly reduce chattering and are easy to replace in case of damage.
The Stanley 12-951 comes with double handles to ensure a good grip that’s so essential, especially when working on chair seats and legs. It is suitable for flat and convex surfaces thanks to its flat blade. You will only need to find an alternative when working on radiuses of less than 6” in diameter. It also features a hard iron body.
#09. Pinnacle Spokeshave 151
The Pinnacle Spokeshave 151 presents a versatile tool that offers excellent results despite being on the lower end in terms of cost. It borrows a lot from the classic Stanley upswept gullwing design that keeps your fingertips up and away when shaving to maximize comfort. It is one of the top recognized performers under the Pinnacle brand. It excels at shaping wheel spokes, chair legs, and all sorts of rods. Its flat bottom can handle considerably tight convex and concave curves.
It features a ductile iron body that is strengthened with spherical graphite structures. This makes it resistant to wear. Compared to most models, this spokeshave is a bit heavier, and you might struggle to put in a continuous grip during the first few days of use. With a bit more experience, the heavy body increases tool control so much that you might find it much more comfortable shaving with just one hand.
One of its bright spots comes in the form of a 1⁄8-in.-thick blade that features high carbon RC60-64. The blade is treated to cryogenic temperatures (i.e., below −190 °C (−310 °F)), a process aims at significantly improving its wear resistance. Also popular is its adjustable shoe to enable you to control the depth of cut.
On its less bright sides, the handle lacks depressions, and thus mastering a good grip may take a while.
#10. Meolin Wood Craver Woodworking Adjustable Spokeshave
Does your woodwork partner like to try out new DIYs? If yes, this spokeshave model would be the ideal gift. This tool is pushed and pulled using both hands, and the heavy metal steel body guarantees the desired finish. Although it is mostly useful for surfaces with short longitudinal dimensions, you can still improvise with relatively long table legs.
The flat base design is efficient for curved surfaces. It has brass adjusting screws which facilitate horizontal and vertical blade setting to produce results on inclined flat surfaces and joints.
The lever cap and fixation screw ensure that the blade is well-positioned. This tool measures 8.46” in length and 1.9” in width, the right size for good grip.
Double handles which lie near the surface might hinder performance. But this is unlikely to be a problem with continued use. As with all tools, you will be able to master a good handling technique as time goes.
#. Taytools 469553 2 Piece Set Flat and Round Bottom Spokeshave
If you are well conversant with spokeshaves and have worked with a variety of models, the Taytools 469553 would be a good an excellent addition to your collection. Every purchase comes with two sets, one with a flat bottom and the other with a round bottom. The flat one has a soled flat blade, and it is efficient on wider surfaces and cutting of concave shapes. The bottom shaped spokeshave produces well designed concave shapes.
They have a dual blade adjusting mechanism which controls the depth of shavings quite accurately. The adjustment knobs are made of brass and capped with stainless steel screws.
2” thick steel blades aid in producing fine chatter-free cuts in almost all types of wood materials. It also has a tough-ductile cast iron body with double handles shaped for control, ensuring a comfortable grip during push and pull.
The 1” wide sole provides rest, providing good conditions for you to press down the tool to achieve a greater degree of control.
What is a blade bed shim?
It is a tool placed under the sharpening blades to adjust the mouth opening to reduce blade tear and wear.
How do you install a blade bed shim?
First, it is important to determine the size of the mouth opening by use of a feeler gauge. After you have identified the correct size, remove the blade by loosening the lever cap screw. Place the shim and then return the blade and taut the lever cap into position.
Push or pull stroke, which one is best?
The decision to pull or push your spokeshave is a matter of personal preference. However, the pull stroke works well when going downhill while the push stroke works best when going uphill.
What is special about a wooden body spokeshave?
Though an ancient model, it is efficient when it comes to rough edges or difficult grain. The wood spokeshave blade is designed such that it cuts into the wood at a low angle of up to 27 degrees. The blade also has a 27-degree bevel for a more long-lasting edge.
How do you maintain a spokeshave?
To keep your spokeshave working and pretty as new, it is important to clean all machined parts. Most spokeshaves are built with rust-resistant materials. In case of rust, use a cloth dampened with mineral spirits. When storing, ensure the area is dry and well ventilated to avoid rust cases. You can also use paste wax to coat the sole to avoid escape of moisture hence inhibiting rusting.
After using ensure the sawdust is brushed or wiped off before storage. For adjustable parts like screw caps, you can oil once in a while for free movements.
How do you sharpen the blades?
Before you sharpen, use a jig to hold the blade in position. You can use either a file or a grit super fine stone as the sharpening tools. Place the blade on the sharpening tool and apply pressure as you move the blade back and forth. Repeat the process until the blade reaches the desired smoothness and sharpness.
What is the difference between a spokeshave and drawknife?
It is important to know that both tools deal with woodworks and curving but in a different design. The major noticeable difference is the depth of shavings. While a spokeshave makes small, finer cuts draw knives cuts are rough and deep, cutting more into the wood. The drawknife is technical and therefore requires learning skills for finer woodwork.
During shavings, spokeshave can be pushed and pulled from any direction while a draw knife can only be drawn towards the user.
What is the best way to hold a spokeshave?
Most spokeshaves have two handles, which you grab on lightly using the thumb and forefinger of each hand. For comfort, you should not position your hands close to the spokeshave’s edges as this inhibits proper cut control. For precise and effective end products, you are advised to tilt the spokeshave slightly opposed to straight up-down movements.
What is the difference between flat sole and compass shave?
A compass spokeshave has a rounded sole to access concave edges. It is rounded in the front-back direction for hollowing edges. On the other hand, a flat sole comes with a flat bottom and either a brass wear or a wooden plate. It is versatile as it produces excellent results on convex, round-bottomed, straight or concave surfaces.
Modern spokeshaves have transformed woodwork, and whether you are fine-tuning legs or table surfaces, you will need a model that provides good value for money. No matter the model you settle upon, it is important to keep your tool clean. A moist cloth does the trick, but with this comes the risk of rusting, so you have to let dry.
Though manufacturers may not say it, shaving and smoothing is very much an art, and it is important to practice before embarking on a project. For best results, keep the spokeshave steady and bear in mind that speed matters little, but balance is everything.