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Discussion Starter #1
A while ago I bought a set of pinnacle spoke shaves. One with a flat base and the other with a convex surface. The flat base has worked wonderfully, gives me the surface I was looking for. The curved base on the other hand has done nothing but skip across the wood and gives me a wash boarding like effect that is far worse than what my band saw put on there. I did some research and found that a few things can cause this:

1. blade is too far extended, but this will happen until the blade is completely withdrawn into the spoke shave.

2. using against the grain, but this happens even when I go with the grain... down the slope of the cut.

3. dull blade, the bevel is mirror sharp sharpened up to 8,000 grit water stone.

is there anything else I'm missing?
 

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I have rounded/finished approx 70 kitchen utensil handles from 1" x 1" x 14" birch stock. I hand carve the spoon bowls and fork tines. Sanded, branded and 350F oven-baked, olive oil finish.

The $50 Stanley Crapshave hangs on the wall. I run a pair of $14.99 Samona SS from the village hardware store. The blade in #1 was so good, I bought #2 within about a week.

There are a couple of things which would apply to the Pinnacle SS (how I wish!).

1. I measured the factory blade bevels at 28 degrees. With no SS experience, I decided to keep them that way. Tune up on 1500 grit then hone with chrome green on cardboard = flawless cuts. I tend to skew the SS for a shallower approach angle and the cutting is effortless. I realize that you can't do that in a curve.

2. Tuned up, getting the cutting depth set for chatter-free (with the grain) was a fiddle. Lots of trial and error then button it up tight. #2 was set for really wispy, shallow cuts to take off the ridges.

3. How wide a shaving do you expect to be able to pull off? I find that 1/2" wide is a bit of a struggle, physically. Each corner takes 30-35 pull strokes to round it off then a few passes with #2 for the ridges. That means I rarely pull a shaving more than 1/4" wide and I can go as fast as I like.

4. How fast are you pulling? Keep the nose down hard on the wood. A slow pass is harder to control than as fast as I can go . Miss a bit? No worries = catch it on the next pass or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, I believe I was a bit optimistic about the width of the shaving. I appreciate your help.
 

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You're most welcome. After all the SS is made for buggy-wheel spokes, spoon handles. . . . anything going from square corners to round. As much as I enjoy wood carving, using spoke shaves and the curlies that they produce are a satisfaction. Especially the tight wispy ones almost like hair.

As a matter of fact, I was thinking about this again this morning.
I concluded that I would bust a gut, make a mess on the floor, if I ever tried to pull a 1" shaving.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll leave the wide shavings to my pre-war stanleys. And I guess the best/only option for smoothing the band saw marks from a concave curve would be the oscillating spindle sander.
 

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No offense intended toward Robson Valley but my experience is quite different.

The speed of the stroke has little to do with reducing effort.
Full width shavings are to be expected if the surface is flat.
You do not need to push down hard on the tool.

I don't know about the brand of tool you mention but if the castings are poor and the blade is not fully supported the blade will chatter. Most people don't sharpen a blade as sharp as the think they do.

Today I spent a few hours making a wreathed handrail part. It is rough cut on the bandsaw and then shaping prior the molding is completely done with a spokeshave. The surface should be smooth straight off the spokeshave.
 

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Assuming that everything else is correct; blade sharp, right amount of blade projecting, etc. then it comes down to position of the plane to the wood. With a flat soled plane you simply push but with a curved sole plane you have to find the position where the blade engages AND the sole rests on the wood at the proper point. The tighter the radius the sole the more user control required such as a compass plane or a cigar plane.

My suspicion is that the iron is not as sharp as it should be. Simply because it is shiny does not mean it is sharp. I was at a handrail class about a month ago with about a dozen guys shaping parts with spoke shaves and only one person had a truly sharp plane, the others were making the plane function only because they could push hard enough to plow through the material.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I take it to 8k grit till there's a bur, then polish off the bur... I can shave with it when I'm done. Is there something else I should be doing sharpening wise?
 

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I tuned up my most-used SS yesterday.
A few wipes on 800, a few wipes on 1500 (grit papers) then honed with chrome green on the very finest Nabisco crackerbox cardboard.
Four things had happened:
a) It makes a hissing/swishing sound on a fast pull in birch and that had stopped.
b) After 60+ spoon & fork handles, I have a good sense of when the pulling just gets tougher.
c) Subjective, but I seemed to be getting more tearout (dull?)
d) Held up to a bright light, I could see just the smallest sparks of light from bent bits in the edge. The light is an 18W LED, as bright as an old 150W.
Adjustment:
To pull a round handle from 7/8" square stock, I count the pulls. Each corner is something like 25-30. Some, of course just take off the ridges made by others. I make no effort whatsoever to get a "machine-made" look to these things.

Since I have no plans to shave with either of my SS, I adjust the cutting depth by making a round handle from square stock! Some fiddle, too wispy to start with. Finally pulled a corner in 25-30 strokes and thought: "good. back where I was at before. Even the sound is right."

It just occurs to me: maybe the SS stutters because the bevel angle is too steep? Mine arrived at 28 degrees and I won't mess with success.
 

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JMHO,I think Keith has given some real common-sense remarks on the use of spoke shaves,I`ve used SS most of my life but I cant make comments on one brand being better than another or another brand being rubbish.The SS`s that I`ve used have all been Stanley's or Records which are just Stanley`s with a different name.

Maybe I`m lucky but I`ve never had any trouble with them what so ever a SS is a very precise tool and should not be confused with a draw knife,I use the SS pushing it away from me as much as possible and this is just my honest opinion but there is a definet way to hold it.

Its not held like the handle bars on a bike but between the fingers and thumb the best way to describe it is to hold a pencil in you right hand and one in your left hand that is basically the grip that you need on a SS the thumb gives you the power,the index finger holds the front of the plane down and stops it from chattering the middle finger controls the angle that the plane is presented to the wood.

The iron should be set looking across the sole of the plane so it is just proud and I mean just. The way the plane is presented to the wood dictates how much materiel is to be removed and that has to be just right.

There is more, but I think I`ve said enough for now. Billy
 

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I'm content to make "spokes" (aka kitchen spoon handles) with mine. The set up is such that almost all of it is pull strokes. When I get a little tear-out from a wave in the birch wood grain, a couple of push strokes cleans that up very well. Set for fine shavings, the SS is almost a finesse tool.
In terms of handling (had to think about this!), I have a loose LH grip on the left ear and my right thumb rides over the right ear. The rest of my RH is gliding under the stick. My shop is cold and I can't allow for any hand grime on any of my carvings so I am accustomed to wearing exotic $5.99 leather gloves for those and many other reasons.

Brands? I dropped $50 on a Stanley. I believe they forgot to harden(?) temper(?) the blade.
I could not pull it 6' without the edge caving in. Of course, I tried several times to get it to run right. You fool with a tool? No, you can't return it.

Nothing to lose, I got a $15 Samona SS through Home Hardware here in the village. Right mess of a tool when it arrived, even paint slopped on the sole. But once cleaned and tuned up, it performed exactly as I had hoped it would. So I ordered a second one to have both thick and thin. They are doing exactly what I need in this particular project.
 

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There are lots of threads and opinions on sharpening so I won't go into great detail but it is considered poor technique to hone one side and then polish off the burr, it leaves a work hardened edge.

Here is what I use;

-water stones but no longer use the higher grits
-A honing guide that is just for spoke shaves so I don't have to change everything when I want to sharpen bench plane irons.
-Then I free hand on the water stones
-Last I use a leather strop.

Sounds like a lot of steps but really only takes about 4 or 5 minutes.

I don't know much about the different brands. Started out with Stanley's and hated them, switched to Lie Nielsen's and love them.

One thing that occurred to me today is that I push, pull, skew the plane, push down harder at some times and almost not at all at others. It depends on how the wood reacts.

Here is a pic of a piece that was band sawn and then worked with spoke shaves, some of the profile work was done with different planes but it all started with a blank that was spoke shaved square.
 

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Keith, thanks for a window on the sophistication. Shere craftsmanship. I wondered if there was a carving, easily done, that would be appealing to the public. I made some kitchen sticks and passed them out. The feed-back dictated the final design styles for both the spoons and the forks.
When I have 100 of them out in the marketplace, I will quit. 30-40 to go, my heart and hands are no longer in it. I will hang up the spokeshaves for the carvings that I really want to do.
 
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