How to Use a Spokeshave – Types and Uses

Whether it is your first for hearing its name or picking it from your toolbox, a spokeshave is a highly useful tool. It is like a necessary device to give a smooth finish to all your wood projects—straight or curved. Whatsoever be the case, if you are wondering how to use a spokeshave, you are at the right place.

In this article, you will learn all about the different types of spokeshaves and how to use them. Let’s cut through!


Spokeshave and Its Types

A spokeshave is a small piece of equipment with two handles with a short blade at the center. It is primarily used to sharpen wooden objects to give them a smooth finish. However, like any other tool, a spokeshave is also of many types based on its blade’s shape. Read on to learn about the different kinds of spokeshaves and their uses.

Flat Bottom Spokeshave

As the name explains, it is a spokeshave with a flat sole and blade. Though it is mostly used for surfaces that are curved outwards, you can also use it on flat areas. It is perfect for trimming wood with precision, unlike a router.

Uses: Despite being flat, it is a highly versatile spokeshave. You can use it on all the surfaces curving outwards. These include a curved chair back, curving table leg edges, and more.

Convex Spokeshave

It is a device with a flat sole from the center but has outward arcs at both ends. It has a protruding, curved blade used to remove wood from items to give it a dugout look.

Uses: It is perfect for projects that require wood to be removed from the center. For example, the center of a chair seat, inside of a wooden bangle, etc.

Concave Spokeshave

The tool has a sole that is bulging inside, mainly used to fashion and smoothen round surfaces. However, you may not be able to use it for objects with a larger diameter than that of the spokeshave.

Uses: It is perfecting for giving a smooth finish to wheels, round bed frames, chair backs and legs, table legs, etc.

Rounded Bottom Spokeshave

These spokeshaves have a rounded sole, used for trimming the inside of a curve. Though you can use a flat spokeshave for the purpose, the rounded ones prove much more efficient for tighter curves.

Uses: You can use it to refine the inside of a curve like a wheel, inside the back arch of a chair, etc.

Combination Spokeshave

You will be surprised to see a spokeshave with dual soles—a concave and a flat one. These are handy alternatives as they eliminate the need for shifting from one tool to the other.

How to Use a Spokeshave?

Now that you have enough knowledge about various spokeshaves’ uses let us get to actually using it. You just need to hold it from the handles and push away from yourself against the wood. However, you can also pull it towards you if required.

The best way to hold the tool is by positioning your thumbs at the indents given at the back. With your index fingers on the front, you can maneuver the small device better according to the desired angle of cut.

One of the paramount features of a spokeshave is that you can use it on all shapes and surfaces. It has a relatively small sole or cutting area that lets you cut almost every type of curve. You can also use it for shaping complex forms like trimming spherical and cylindrical objects.


Tips to Use a Spokeshave

  • Change the settings of the spokeshave blade to shallow for thin shavings and deep for thicker shavings.
  • Make sure that you do not dig too deep into the wood.
  • Swap the course or direction of cutting if you think the spokeshave’s blade is tearing into the wood grain.
  • Prevent the blade from clogging by frequently removing the shavings. You can take off the blade if the wood pieces do not come out easily.
  • You can also use the tool with one hand if you need to hold the wood with the other.
  • If the blade goes dull, you can easily remove it for sharpening.
  • Always use a shallow setting first to test the depth and advance it if necessary. This way, you can avoid errors.

Wrapping Up

Spokeshaves may not be the most common but are undoubtedly one of the most functional tools for woodwork. They are perfect for giving a butter-like smooth finish to all your wooden items, something not possible with other tools.

When it comes to using a spokeshave, it is relatively easy, given you know the type of tool to use. In this article, you learn all about the five types of this carving instrument along with their uses. Plus, you also get detailed knowledge about using a spokeshave to obtain the desired results.

Now that you know how to use a spokeshave, effortlessly give your wooden projects the flawless finish they deserve!

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