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I built a few spokeshaves with the Lee Valley kits, which makes them low angle wood ones. It was fun, but I have trouble getting consistent results. They like to try to take off enough to clog the mouth at whatever depth setting they're at, although if I'm careful they do ok. Even making sure I'm running with the grain it is hard not to get them to snag, so I'm not getting much better results than if I just used a drawknife.

Are they generally finicky and I just need more practice or do these sound like fettling issues? I think I'll try to get an iron one next time I'm antiquing to compare, maybe in the mean time I'll raid the scrap bin and hack away.
 

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I'm just starting to learn about using spokeshaves, so take this with a grain of salt. They do take practice. I found if I work faster with very light pressure then I can get good shavings. Otherwise I get a lot of chatter.
 

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I started with the Veritas metal low angle spokeshave which is the all metal equivalent of the wooden handle kits, as you mentioned.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=44834&cat=1,50230&ap=1

I did not use this much. I did have to pay attention to the depth setting and the grain orientation.

Decorative_board_after_buffing_closeup_1733.jpg

If the mouth is clogging you could try opening up the mouth.

I later purchased the normal style of Veritas spokeshave.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=49142&cat=1,50230&ap=1

I used the flat sole spokeshave to make the profile on some recent boards.

As before I had to pay attention to the depth setting. As the start it wanted to take off too much. I backed off to a thin shaving.

We always need to pay attention to grain orientation if we want to prevent tearout.

I was happy with the result. Not much sanding needed.

As you said, worth practicing on some scrap. Many hand tools require practice.

Sharp blade, thin shaving and light cuts to start with.
 

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I recently picked up a new Stanley 151 flat spokeshave and have had some issues with it too. I honed the blade the other night and it cuts better - but I can't seem to get thin shavings out of it. Should you be able to get paper thin shavings like you do with a plane? I've played around with depth adjustments for a while but it seems to go straight from a fairly thick shaving to no cut at all.
 

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Well I went to a Lie-Neilsen tool test drive today and I think my issue was with the tool.. I could take off paper think shavings with it. I noticed the mouth was much tighter than my Stanley.. Guess that is the problem.
 

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I find using spokeshaves not much different than using a handplane. The basics are the same...a sharp blade, fine tuning the adjustments, and most of all developing a feel for making it work. Between a straight, concave, and convex, the variety of cuts covers many applications.

I suggest just practice to get a feel for them.






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