Geez, that was embarrassing

A bunch of years ago, I bought a Veritas low angle spoke shave to help shape the curved uprights of a book shelf (if I remember correctly; they are laminated lath). But I just could not get it to work, so on a [another] shelf it went. Now, I’m staring at the walls, bored out of my skull, trying to think of something to build. How about another hammer? Sold! I’ll start with a handle so into the wood pile I dive (actually, up a ladder, since most of my wood is stored towards the ceiling) and pull out a branch of mystery pine (it has needles, doesn’t drop them in the winter, isn’t Fir, so it must be pine, right?). It’s soft like petrified wood (OK, maybe cherry or soft maple). And it has an elbow. While looking at the wood, trying to see the handle in it, I remembered that spoke shave, pulled it out and waved it over the wood. Still didn’t work. Adjust the depth. Nope. Adjust some more. Nada. Repeat a few times. Then look at the cutting edge. Eeek! It is actually rolled over so bad it is visible to my naked eye (and I don’t see so good). Put a new edge on and what do you know? It works just like the forums say a spoke shave should work. And it is a ton of fun. I should have tried this sharpening thing years ago, it seems useful.
Hmmm, if I sat at the other side of the vise, I could use it like a shaving horse.

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3 Responses to Geez, that was embarrassing

  1. Jay says:

    Everyone loves spoke shaves. I put my kids to work on a spoon we were making, and every time there’s an opportunity they go right for the spoke shave. There’s something sort of hypnotic and weirdly satisfying about peeling layer after layer. After layer. After layer. If you’re not careful you can seriously get carried away and start making toothpicks out of rail road ties. I’ve got the kit they sell for about $30 but have yet to put it together. It also looks like a bunch of fun. Do you like that particular shave, and how does it compare to say, a Stanley 51?

  2. Zander K says:

    So true, it is hard to stop. The low angle is the only shave I’ve ever used. I think, if I were do it again, I’d start with a “standard” angle one. The reason is, as with all low angle planes, grain direction: if you plane against the grain, you are guaranteed tear out and I have a hard time reading grain direction. And a hard time stopping at just the right place and changing directions. On the other hand, using it with the grain is just a joy. And it has both a flat and curved sole (by changing the face plate).
    The 51 – I don’t like the looks and I’ve heard/read they that they take some work to make into good workers (the Kunz version is true garbage). I would like to get the Veritas/LN version. Flat sole, and when I learned how to use/hold it, the curved sole. And a HNT Gordon shave. And …
    Oh yeah, my beefs are the blade lock nuts don’t work as well as I’d like so the blade can occasionally slip and setting the face plate is a pain. But it is nice to have those options.
    The kit looks very pretty, much nicer than metal.

  3. Jay says:

    Huh. You should get just a plain 51 or a 52. I forget which one has gull wings but that’s most comfortable for me, and it’s intuitive; there’s no learning curve. Even if you advance the blade too far out on one side, you can just adjust the position of where the blade hits the work. I think the 53 has an adjustable mouth, and for some reason I lose momentum when I’m tracking them down on ebay and have yet to get one but it seems like it would be a good model. I found and bought a Millers Falls #1 cigar spoke shave for the insides of saw handles. A bit of a bugger to sharpen and adjust–I’ve produced shavings, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I think it would be good as an alternative to sand paper.

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