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Wooden spokeshave - how to sharpen/hone ?

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baldpate

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Hi,

out of curiosity, I recently bought a wooden spokeshave off ebay. First one I've ever touched. I would like to know the correct way to sharpen/hone the blade on such a tool. I've searched this site but not found anything about sharpening them.

It is made of beech, with a brass mouth and a flat-bottomed blade (usual type, as far as I can tell from internet pictures: narrow blade, vertical tangs at either end which friction fit into holes in the wooden body). The way it sits in the body seems to make it the equivalent of a VERY low angle bevel-up plane - i.e., the bevel is on the upper side and the flat back of the iron is almost co-planar with the brass mouth plate.

The blade was pretty blunt and black when I got it. I used my WorkSharp 3000 to re-flatten and polish the back of the blade, then honed it on a fine oilstone. I wasn't sure how to handle the bevel side. I noticed there was a dip behind the bevel then a parallel ridge, such that the top of the ridge was pretty much coplanar with the bevel: I found this enabled me to hone the bevel on the oil stone (with the stone in its box, the tangs of the inverted iron just cleared the box on either side, and the bench top).

The result seems pretty good (and it's the first time I've used my oil stone since buying the blessed Work Sharp! This might be the beginning of a whole new experience :)). This spokeshave certainly works better than the piece of metal junk I previously owned. I haven't used it in anger yet, but the test cuts are encouraging.

My question is : how do you go about sharpening/honing such a blade? Is there a recognised/standard way? Are the blades of all wooden spokeshaves configured the same way?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience.

Chris

[a new searcher, on the journey]
 

Alf

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baldpate":1bsaklt4 said:
I found this enabled me to hone the bevel on the oil stone (with the stone in its box, the tangs of the inverted iron just cleared the box on either side, and the bench top).

*snip*

My question is : how do you go about sharpening/honing such a blade? Is there a recognised/standard way? Are the blades of all wooden spokeshaves configured the same way?
Like that; like that (as far as I'm aware); and no. The majority of old ones are, but you get the odd patented variety that isn't. Then there are the bevel down variety, which is just another flat blade. Then there are the modern sort that have threaded tangs, which may or may not be removable (the Veritas kit one is, the Hock et al? Not sure off the top of my head). It's a slippery slope, the shave slope. Don't, whatever you do, acquire a copy of Manufactured and Patented Spokeshaves and Similar Tools.
 

baldpate

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Thanks for the confirmation & other info, Alf.
Alf":2kb5b7ip said:
Don't, whatever you do, acquire a copy of Manufactured and Patented Spokeshaves and Similar Tools.
Just looked it up in the internet - at the going rate for second-hand copies, I think I'll be able to resist the temptation :) !
 

AndyT

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I think you are doing the right thing - and so is Alf. Indeed, if you are getting a sharp edge, it must be right, so maybe the question is "is there an easier way?"

I don't know of one. What I do is to hold the blade down on the edge of the bench with my left hand gripping it by the tangs, and gently rub the upper side of the blade with a little fine India slip stone (oilstone) (about 1" x 3"), keeping it flat against the surface - no steps, no rounding, just make the top surface one plane intersecting with the base at a sharp edge.
 

Alf

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Yeah, that's another option I've used in the past. Actually, that way I suppose you could maybe make it a bit easier still (if judging the angle is problematic) by using similar ideas as I used here. On the basis that horizontal is always easier for us poor hopeless human beings to get right than angle X or Y.
 

xy mosian

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One or two of the wooden spokeshaves I have are curved slightly side-to-side as used. These I polish on a fine-ish stone on the outer 'flat' side and the inner, bevel, I tickle with the blunt end of a slip stone using the thicker bit behind as a reference.
xy
 

Lowlife

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I still have a few of these that I made when I was an apprentice, don't use them much these days although they still come in useful now and then, I have always sharpened them with a slip stone as AndyT mentions above.
 
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