The shop-made spokeshave is a fine addition to your tool kit. The wood bodied ’shave has the blade positioned flat to the sole, rather than angled as in its steel-bodied counterpart. Sometimes referred to as razor type spokeshave, these are the ultimate of a low angle blade.
Gil Chesbro developed the spokeshave as a class project. He and I have teamed up for classes at the Home Shop since 2001. Every student has to demonstrate that his newfound tool can work before he leaves class. Having students make the blade as well as the wood body has been added to the original class. Compared to the block plane blade, it is complicated with the addition of threaded rod posts that serve to hold the blade. Leveling screws give precise adjustment that makes this tool a joy to use.
History of the Spokeshave
The traditional wood-bodied spokeshave has a blade that lays flat to the work surface, or sole, of the plane. It cuts in fine, smooth strokes that rival or surpass its cousin, the angled blade of the metal-bodied shave.
The spokeshave receives its name from wood wheel making where it is indispensable to the wheelright in planing the transition from the square hub end of a spoke to the round. And you can fit the wood sole to plane in tight recesses if needed. Just increase the angle of wood in front of the blade. I suggest ordering parts for several shaves while you are at it.
This project first appeared in Popular Woodworking #164, October 2007