I know some people use a spokeshave to shape their necks, and I’m about to get one because my old Dremel-and-file method isn’t working for me anymore, and anyway I don’t want to get tennis elbow again if I can possibly help it, so I’ve got a Q maybe some of you can A:

Spokeshave: do I get a flat or curved blade, or does it even matter that much? There seems to be about a $20 price difference between the two, so if I can get away with the less-expensive option, I’d rather.

Views: 202

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I have a straight blade spoke shave, but I doubt that it matters if it is straight or rounded. Mostly it seems to be a matter of developing a technique for using the tool. It will remove a lot of material in a hurry and leave a very course (choppy) surface until you get a feel for both the tool and the direction of the wood grain.

It is definitely worth picking up and learning to use. You can produce a nicely rounded neck in a short time once you get the knack.

Good luck

My favorite neck shaping tool is the Y handled vegetable peeler. I have tried a few brands from a $2 one from Kmart to the Thai made Kiwi brand to a fancier looking metal handled one from Ikea. They all handle a little bit differently but all do the job. 


Go for a flat blade, and get a decent quality tool - a used Stanley or Record is your best bet rather than brand new no-name Chinese one. Don't expect a new one to cut well straight out of the box - the blade will most likely need sharpening and you need it adjust so that it is only taking a very thin shaving. The Stanley 151 pattern has two thumbwheels which make adjusting the blade easy. There are 3 main styles of spokeshave - straight (flat) , round (concave) and curved (convex) base - stick to the flat base one.

Here's how I carve my necks - the spokeshave work starts at around 6min 50seconds

Yes chickenbone, good advice. Cheap tools are just as such- cheap & no good for any kind of longevity & lack finesse 

CBJ is wise... I love my spokeshave.  Keeping the blade razor sharp is worthwhile effort.   I use mine on Maple...

Thanks for weighing in, all.

I got an okay-quality flat spokeshave.

And then I realized this: I don’t have a bench with a vise. So I can’t even use the thing until I figure something out.

I am beginning to suspect that I am not a genius.

Hi Clint, My suggestion may only apply if you also plan, at some time, to carve shapes like the heal of a guitar, or to blend the roundness of a neck into the square features of  peghead. Go for a curved style. 

My two shave's were over 50 years old, when I dropped one [about 15 years ago] and it shattered the handle of the flat sole spokeshave and ever since I have been using the curved sole one for all my shaping. In fact I just had to go and check to see which one I had been using.

But that is not all I use, I use my drawknife even more. See photo. However one does have to be more aware of grain direction so as to maintain a good surface. If the grain gets difficult I bring in the Spokeshave, and of course my Japanese hand cut rasp. 

No vise?......in the photo I show one of my systems for shaping necks. Instead of the vise shown you could clamp the neck to your worksurface.

Cheers Taff

Wow, you build nice ones.

Maybe I can clamp ‘em to the lawn tractor. (In addition to a vise, I don’t even have the bench said vise would normally be attached to. I’m really winging it here. Furiously winging it.)

  • I like my spokeshave ok, but what Taffy is showing I always knew as a drawknife and I find it a much superior tool for necks.  They work great unsharpened too, and can round a neck in a couple minutes. Sometimes the grain will fight it but most oak pieces can be made smooth enough to not really need sanding. I was given a huge one and bought another smaller one at an antique store.  Both will outlive me without question.

Thanks for the input, folks. I think I’m on a very different level, as an instrument-maker, than just about everyone. And I don’t mean a higher level, either.

After all of this, I think what’s going to probably happen is that I end up huffing away with a rasp to rough out necks while the spokeshave quietly rusts at the bottom of a toolbox, having never even been sharpened. I know me.

I had forgotten that anything related to woodworking is exactly like collecting vinyl records: you can’t just get a damn record. You gotta get outer sleeves and brushes and cleaning systems, and IKEA shelves, and by the way, what kinda stylus you using? Howzabout your speakers? Turntable looks a bit basic, too, while we’re at it...wait, you don’t have a 30-band EQ?!...

I’ll give the spokeshave a shot once I get the rest of the New Yankee Workshop set up, I guess. I’ve got blueprints for a DIY workbench, but I might be better off with a trip to Memards.

(Clarification, just in case: this is all written in the spirit of self-deprecating humor; I know that doesn’t always translate into text, and what with the rest of the internet being a brimming rage toilet, I’d hate for anyone to think I’m over here gnashing my teeth and making animal noises while standing on a milk crate.. I’m having a blast. Best forum I’ve ever been a part of. By the way, anybody wanna buy some records...?)

Hi, maybe your question could  have been, " should I get a spokeshave or a bench first?" . Any old table or chest of drawers or kitchen worktop/unit or desk can be made into a cheep bench.


Or even more fundamentally: “How do I make a CBG?”

(I’ve been doing this for six years. I think I may actually be getting dumber. Or I’m psyching myself out comparing my work to others’.)


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation?How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


digital tuner

Started by Brent Kasl in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Titch the Clown 8 hours ago. 8 Replies

What's on your workbench?

Started by Paul Craig in Other stuff - off topic, fun stuff, whatever. Last reply by Cause the Blue rat 20 hours ago. 691 Replies

Cbg snare

Started by Matt Schaller in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Cause the Blue rat on Saturday. 8 Replies

fret cutting jig

Started by Alan Dillard in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by steve hale on Saturday. 3 Replies

The first sale

Started by Blues Frog in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Blues Frog on Wednesday. 4 Replies

Tap Tuning

Started by Ken I in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Cause the Blue rat on Wednesday. 6 Replies

Blog Posts

3. German CBG Festival

Posted by Markus Gaiser on September 16, 2018 at 3:42pm 1 Comment

..absolute authenticity!

Posted by billy jones bluez on August 18, 2018 at 10:30pm 0 Comments

Other woodwork

Posted by Tom E on August 16, 2018 at 5:00pm 4 Comments

kannel/ kantele (Baltic psaltery)

Posted by Tom E on August 16, 2018 at 1:00pm 4 Comments

Latest Activity

Uncle John commented on Miku's photo

Guitar lamp / shell

"Very nice!   Nice art too!"
12 minutes ago
Uncle John commented on SlowHound's video

Late Night

"Oooh.  That relaxed me.  And I needed it. Very nice.  Kind of like being by a…"
13 minutes ago
Hans replied to Cause the Blue rat's discussion Bob Dylan's 'Knocking on Heaven's Door'.
"I play G - D - Am / G - D - C / G - D - Am / G - D - C - D for the verse. And G - D - Am / G - D -C…"
13 minutes ago
George Ross liked Cory's photo
28 minutes ago
George Ross liked GARY THORNE's photo
29 minutes ago
George Ross liked Wade's photo
37 minutes ago
George Ross liked Cpt. Nemoff's photo
41 minutes ago
George Ross liked Eero Tapani Lehtinen's photo
43 minutes ago
George Ross liked Eero Tapani Lehtinen's photo
45 minutes ago
Cause the Blue rat replied to Cause the Blue rat's discussion Bob Dylan's 'Knocking on Heaven's Door'.
"Ya, even Dylan plays it differently. In the original recording it's four chords. Depending on…"
55 minutes ago
Casey Baron commented on Casey Baron's video
56 minutes ago
Denny commented on Casey Baron's video

Jesus on the Mainline - Cover by Casey & Tyler Baron

"I never get tired of listenin to this!"
59 minutes ago



© 2018   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service