Does anyone have good experiences working with a spokeshave to carve necks? I picked one up but I apparently just don't know how to use it right - it bounces and stutters, gets jammed full of shavings, and just generally doesn't get the job done the way I see it working in all the videos I've watched.

Any pointers, tips, advice?

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I use a spokeshave for the basic shaping of a neck (i.e. rounding). It does a good job of removing material quickly. What I found when I first got it was that I didn't know how to adjust the blade for good cutting.

Try lowering the blade into the spokeshave body until just a tiny amount of blade is sticking out of the body. You don't want to remove big chunks of wood, just little shavings.

Practice on a piece of one-by pine. Work on the 3/4" edge until you get a feel. Try cutting in one direction on the pine, then the other direction. You should see and feel a difference. Keep working with the blade depth until you get to a cutting depth you are comfortable with.

It is a good tool, but you need a bit of practice to get the tool and your technique sorted out.

No expert but I have used on with some success

1. Is it sharp?

2. If it bounces and stutters are you going against the grain, try the other direction

3. Are you trying to take too much off on one pass?

4. Apparently its a push tool, although do pull it.

See the link below, note the support jig.

what the other guys have said. i used one to make a bow years ago. its not a plane dont take too much with each pass. keep it sharp and keep it flat to the wood. i had more luck drawing towards me than pushing it away from me. is yours a flat bottom or is it curved? they come in both types.

i would still use a rasp to do the heavy work then the spokeshave to finalise shape before getting down to the nitty gritty of sanding it smooth.

Thanks for all the replies - a couple followup questions:

1. How does one sharpen the blade? I'm assuming it's just a matter of taking it out and using a file?

2. Are there any general pointers on how to determine how far the blade should protrude from the body?

I also had more luck drawing towards me than pushing it away.

1. Don't use a file you will ruin the cutting iron.

You should use an oil stone or wet stone; you can use fine sandpaper stuck down to a very flat surface. Plenty of how to guides on the internet.

2. I set it t so barely protrudes, and then adjust in small increments until it the taking of a fine shaving. Test of some scarp.

I have used both the spokeshave and drawknife and for me, some pieces work great and some just don't work at all.  As others said, going the opposite direction can help too if it is catching the grain of the wood.

For your second question, it can stick way out too.  Then it acts more like a scraper and no worries with shavings building up.  It is a tool that takes some playing with to get the hang of it.

Which one did you buy?

As for need a honing guide like this one - Robert Larson 800-1800 Honing Guide

I tried doing it with out a guide and I'll never do that again. Trust that you need one.

Then you'll need some sand paper or better yet a sharpening stone.

I like these - DMT W6XP 6-Inch Diamond Whetstone Sharpener I also like the

Japanese whetstones.

So a Honing Guide and some sand paper is good enough.

So, I followed your advice and picked up that honing guide - and found that my spokeshave blade is too shallow to work with it! :-D - the blade isn't long enough to protrude far enough to get the 25 degree honing angle. Oh well! It will still be useful for chisels - but it's back to the drawing board as far as finding a guide for the spokeshave blade...

Drawknife/rasp/etc. for rough shaping. Spoke shave is what it sounds like...shaving the wood off, so to speak.

Hi, like all cutting tools they have to be as sharp to do their intended job well. I test mine...if I can shave hair of my arm, I'm happy.

However, the angle of the cutting edge also contributes to smooth cutting, harder wood often requires a different angle to softwoods.

A starting point for setting up the blade, as I was told as an apprentice, was to sight down the soul plate of my plane and I want to see a thin black line (the cutting edge of the blade) protruding from the slot in the sole plate. The same should work for your spokeshave.

As already mentioned play atttention to grain direction.


Hi Dean, crap happens but don't give up, I'm a firm believer in "try another way". I do not know what type of sharpening guide you have, but I bet there's a way to modify it.

i'm thinking of a hardwood insert that fits in like a chisel but has the meens to hold the spokeshave blade on its end and up against the oilstone. I have it sorted here. Give it some creative thinking.

Think outside of the cigar box. Ha ha. 



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