Spokeshaves

IMG_0696

I have a couple of dozen wooden spokeshaves, different sizes, each unique. Each one of them, without exception, has a distinct curve in the blade, parallel the long axis. This curve has a direct relationship to the curve in a drawknife blade, as it existed before industrial processes took over in the 60’s-70’s. Broadaxes notably exhibit a three-way curve (as do the slick, and the better carving tools) in fact they are dangerously ineffective with a perfectly straight edge, whereas the modern drawknife with a jointer-knife blade is merely awkward.
Do you think the machine-straight edge of the current variety of spokeshave is informed by the curve? Or by the machine?

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About michaellangford2012

Timber framer, boatbuilder, dreamer, writer, musician; collector of books, tools, aphorisms. "There is nothing, absolutely nothing…half so much worth doing…as simply messing about in boats."
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5 Responses to Spokeshaves

  1. D.B. Laney says:

    Hi Michael,

    I, like you, have a particular fondness for shaves. Modern woodworkers and manufacturers have fallen into the trap of using the term spoke shave for all shaves. Hollowing shaves, (curved fore sole, little or no trailing sole), piåls, and other heavily curved shaves are clearly not intended for the production of spokes. In times past, shaves were used on flat, concave and convex surfaces. Today, we no longer use these tools for the broad range of tasks that they were assigned to in the past. More’s the pity, there’s no tool more enjoyable to use than a good, sharp shave (heavy emphasis on the word sharp).

    Dennis Laney

  2. Nice photo and collection. These are just novelties to most people now. I keep coming across people who just buy them (and other “outdated” tools) by the dozens only to have them moulder in the garage or shop. I’m glad some are lucky enough to have a nice home. Shaves are for making the things we no longer, as a group, make for ourselves; tool handles, walking canes, canoe paddles, simple spindles, bows, etc. I tought a few bow-making classes a while back and most of the students, even if they had experience making things from wood, hadn’t used or appreciated the shave before.

    There is something very satisfying about sitting down to work with a sharp drawknife or shave.

  3. Pingback: Skjøve, skavl, pjål – kjært barn har mange navn | Høvel & hage

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