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hittitewarrior

Noob Spokeshave Question

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I feel silly asking this buuut you do what you have to do.

I bought a Stanley straight blade spokeshave. I am in the process of building my first guitar, an iceman with walnut top. My intent is to carve the top pretty aggressively, and before doing it for real, decided to try the new spokeshave on a scrap piece of wood. I'm sure part of it is just experience level, but I was really having an issue with it chattering across the wood, and also just biting in and taking big chunks. I backed the blade depth back significantly which helped on the biting piece. I tried pressing hard, light, and at various angles. At the end of the day although slightly better it would still bite and chatter. No long curlies :P

Do you typically have to sharpen the blades right out of the box?

Is there a specific technique to drawing the blade across the wood?

Any help is greatly appreciated. thanks

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First off a spoke shave is better suited to carving a neck and not a body. If its a straight spokeshave it would be even worse for this purpose unless you were just using on the outer edges to round it off. I think you would be better off using a medium sized finger plane for carving a top. Something like this.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Planes/Ibex_Planes.html

Expensive but the better tool for that job IMHO.

As far as sharpening personally I always sharpen any new tool I buy to ensure its done properly and to my satisfaction. The exception would be things like drill and router bits and saw blades.

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Nothing wrong with using a spokeshave to rough-carve a top. Both of these carves were roughed in using a Stanley spokeshave, except around the horns where the curves are just too tight to fit it in:

083.jpg036_zps4df0f234.jpg

You will find after the first few draws of the blade across the timber that it will want to work in certain directions with minimal chatter and tearout, sometimes in directions that seem counter-intuitive to what's considered "proper" (eg working perpendicular to the grain as opposed to parallel). Sharpness is essential, and regular touching up will keep things flowing smoothly. Maybe it's not as good as the Ibex finger planes, but it works nicely for me.

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Yes. Scrapers are far more suited to this work. If you consider that spokeshaves were made as a solution for carving the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel you can see how they are far more appropriate for necks than for a small non-linear job like a body. Whilst it is possible to hack it into the job, it is far from perfect.

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Nothing wrong with using a spokeshave to rough-carve a top. Both of these carves were roughed in using a Stanley spokeshave, except around the horns where the curves are just too tight to fit it in:

083.jpg036_zps4df0f234.jpg

You will find after the first few draws of the blade across the timber that it will want to work in certain directions with minimal chatter and tearout, sometimes in directions that seem counter-intuitive to what's considered "proper" (eg working perpendicular to the grain as opposed to parallel). Sharpness is essential, and regular touching up will keep things flowing smoothly. Maybe it's not as good as the Ibex finger planes, but it works nicely for me.

How do you carve the areas around the horns as you have in those guitars? I have not found a way do do that easily.

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I use a 10mm radius cove bit with a bearing on the router table to set the carve depth all the way around the body. As I run it around I'll ease the body off the bit as I approach the neck pocket on either side. The deep parts of the scoop I'll rough in using a half-round rasp or round microplane, being careful not to catch the edges I've just routed. To blend it all together I use one of these bad boys. The graduated radii on the edges makes it handy to increase of decrease the amout of curve in the scoop as required. The rest is just sand paper and elbow grease.

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Yep. They're pretty fantastic.

Back on subject....although you can use a spokeshave to achieve any number of aims not normally within their intended use it is best trying to use the right tool for the right job. One badly calculated cut could leave the blade skittering off over the workpiece, gouging an area you really don't need damaging!

Certainly, I would spent time tuning and adjusting the plane body and the iron. The frog on modern cheap castings are rarely straight which leaves your blade chattering more than it should. Take it apart and file the frog and mouth so they are clean and true. The better supported the blade is in the spokeshave the more pleasant a working experience you will have. I took some time out to tune my handtools a few months back and it makes all the difference. The next job I have is to disassemble my Groz No.5 plane and give it a full once-over lapping....

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The last neck I did was in Tas blackwood, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the spokeshave to play fairly with it. Blade was sharp, adjusted OK, tried running up the neck, down the other way, skewing the blade left or right, increasing or decreasing angle of attack, more pressure, less pressure...Couldn't get any clean shavings off it at all, only gouges and splinters. In the end I gave up and just went at it with the Shinto saw rasp. I guess sometimes you just need to find another tool to accomplish the same job!

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Yes, the small face area of a spokeshave can have difficulty balancing the splitting force of the leading edge of the blade. Instead of curling up a shaving it creates a leading crack in the grain pulling out curl and all those annoying things. IIRC the blade should have a total pitch of over 60° which is quite high in comparison to say, a block plane. That high angle should even cope with figured woods so that Blackwood must be a PITA. Same thing applies though - the mouth is usually a complete train wreck on most spokeshaves. A bit of filing does wonders.

Yeah, rasps really don't take any hassle from woods. Like a million angry lil beavers.

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