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Record A151 (round) spokeshave vs Stanley 151R - mouth width

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Jeff Plate

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Seeking help from those familiar with the Record A151. I have a (UK-made) Stanley 151R (round-bottom) spokeshave. The mouth opening is a good 1/16" in front of the blade, so not really conducive to fine shavings. Haven't seen the Record A151 in person (I'm in the U.S.), but from some of the photos on eBay, looks as if the mouth might be a little tighter. Is this true, or only the angle of the photos plus my wishful thinking? -- I shimmed the blade on a Stanley no. 65 chamfer shave down to almost no opening at all and had really good results, but the 151R blade would lift right off the adjusters if shimmed anyhwhere close to that. Just wondering if picking up the Record off eBay would get me closer. Thanks for your help!
 

ED65

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Jeff Plate":3utvpzst said:
Haven't seen the Record A151 in person (I'm in the U.S.), but from some of the photos on eBay, looks as if the mouth might be a little tighter. Is this true, or only the angle of the photos plus my wishful thinking?
It'll have varied unfortunately. They were produced over a long timeframe and variations in the patterns would have happened, then factor in vagaries of machining and it's certain to have varied, possibly by quite a bit. It did on planes!

The importance of a small mouth on spokeshaves is overstated a bit; and it really has no bearing on being able to take a fine shaving, you can adjust for that irrespective of mouth size. A finer mouth does help reduce tearout of course, and taking a fine shaving in the first place does already, but in spokeshave use a lot (most?) of that is controlled by carefully reading and following the grain so you're cutting downhill.
 

AndyT

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I can nearly help.
I have, like you a UK Stanley 151R round bottomed shave and an older Record O51R equivalent.



The mouth on the Stanley is 5mm wide



but the mouth on the Record is slightly narrower at 3.75mm



However, as Ed said, there's probably plenty of variation over the years.
I doubt whether it makes a huge difference - if you want to experiment, shimming would be easy to do, with a bit of a drinks can or some thin card.

I should also add that the irons in both of these are deliberately crooked - as recommended to enable a thick or a thin shaving to be taken by using one side or the other.

[Quick footnote on the Record numbering - they made their shaves in cast iron, coloured blue and numbered in their ordinary run of numbers but duplicated most styles in a slightly dearer "unbreakable" malleable iron, designated with an A and painted red.
My Record shave shown here is the simpler O51R, without the adjuster screws on the iron, not the O151R or A151R which had two adjuster screws, like the Stanley one beside it.

So my answer is only helpful if the O51R and the A151R had the same mouth width. :( ]

I do also have a newer, 1970s made in England flat soled Record O151 and that has a mouth 4.75mm wide, if that's any help at all.

I don't actually have one of every sort made, as I'm not a collector :---) - they are just the sort of tool that is worth catching when you see one at a low price, in case it's better than the others!

[Edited to correct some model numbers.]
 

Jeff Plate

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Thank you both for your helpful replies!
I have been playing around with shims. Spent some time sanding a piece of cherry to get it thin enough to work, but realized that plastic cut from a coffee can lid would be quicker, if less elegant. It narrows the gap by about 1/64" -- all that you can really do without lifting the blade off of the depth adjusters. That still leaves a pretty wide gap in front of the blade in the round-bottomed Stanley (in the flat bottomed version, and in the smaller no. 63, the same thickness of plastic gets the mouth pretty fine). I may try to pick up a Record 151/A151 when I see one for a good price. Missed one tonight that went for $12 or something on eBay, didn't notice when the auction was ending. So there are some out there.
I realize that technique is a great deal of the battle here, and I make no claims for mine, although hopefully it will improve over time. But any other help I can give myself in reducing tearout despite my own deficiencies is all to the good. In any case, sometimes the grain is just uncooperative. It helps to have the tool on your side as well, unable to take a big bite no matter how the grain changes direction. -- Thanks again!
 

Argus

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As it's a round-base shave, it is most likely to be used on a flat surface as opposed to a rounded one.
Even so, I believe that a keen edge is the most important issue at stake; more so than the mouth width. It must be as a razor to work effectively.

On the subject of mouth-width on spoke-shaves, I have, from a personal point of view, not considered it crucial because I use them as a roughing tool, one of a number of stages in shaping a piece - not expecting a fine finish. Even so, if tear-out is an issue I would proceed prematurely to my next stage, which is a scraper, set with an aggressive hook and forego the spoke-shave for something more able to deal with the problem.

As the OP mentioned in his question a round-bottom shave, I think that the mouth width (as long as it is not excessive as to affect the cutting angle) is even less an issue because the round bottom would be used, as a first choice, on a concave flat surface using a descending motion over the grain where you're more likely to be trimming end-grain.

From my limited experience, the act of building up user experience in controlling a combination of a very keen edge and a progressive set on the blade - (fine one side, moving to coarser the other) - is all that is needed.
 
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