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I am going to order a spoke shave online. What do you recommend? Which is better for carving necks? The round vs. the flat. Which does a cleaner, better job (minus operator error of course)?

I know! I know!... there are perhaps posts that address this topic (although I did look quite thoroughly and did not see one that addresses this exact question).

For those of you who love to berate others for not finding all the answers by spending valuable time searching within the posts, Be advised, I work full time (two jobs), am raising two children, keep my wife happy, walk my dogs, and get to work on my guitars about an hour a day after 9:00 if I'm lucky.

So before you post a negative response...give me a break!!!

Don't bother responding to my post if you have nothing helpful to say.

Buck

Edited by Buck Radius
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I have the curved one. It just makes more sense to me to use a cuved one for a curved surface.

I clean it up after with a file and sandpaper.

Oh, about the comments you think you might get...I understand.

Isn't it easier to just give the advice, then to tell them to look in the archives?

Good luck.

Mike

Edited by MP63
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I am going to order a spoke shave online. What do you recommend? Which is better for carving necks? The round vs. the flat. Which does a cleaner, better job (minus operator error of course)?

I know! I know!... there are perhaps posts that address this topic (although I did look quite thoroughly and did not see one that addresses this exact question).

For those of you who love to berate others for not finding all the answers by spending valuable time searching within the posts, Be advised, I work full time (two jobs), am raising two children, keep my wife happy, walk my dogs, and get to work on my guitars about an hour a day after 9:00 if I'm lucky.

So before you post a negative response...give me a break!!!

Don't bother responding to my post if you have nothing helpful to say.

Buck

Its actually a very good question. From what I have seen for sale most of the curved concave spoke shaves are just too small (the radius is too tight for a neck). They were built for staves and spindles not necks. I just want to point out that a neck is a taper so is not a constant curve from headstock to heel.I have seen nothing for sale that fits the bill for use on necks.

A flat spoke shave is your only bet. It's been used for hundreds of years to create round objects, so using it for necks is not really an issue. Dont cheap out is my only advice, I suggest Lee Valley as a good supplier of quality spokeshaves at a reasonable price. I own several from them as well as several Records and use them all. You will need other tools too, you cannot complete a neck with just a spokeshave no mater how small.

I use a combination of a spokeshave, Foredom tool with rasp, pattern makers file, scrapers and sandpaper for my work. Even though you will get a lot of opinions here it really comes down to what you can afford and what you feel comfortable using to remove wood. To could even use an axe as long as you can control it. If you understand grain direction and tool setup a flat spokeshave will work fine to remove the bulk of the material and get you where you need to on a neck. A good rassp will also work but will take much longer.

If you do happen to find a round concave spokeshave that works let me know.

Woodenspoke

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I use a round spokeshave. It works fine for the early ruff removal of the bulk of material(it does not have the proper profile for a finished back, but it is close enough for ruff shaping). I also have flat spokeshaves that to a good job also. I have a small plane that does a good job too(I shape the heel and nut end first then shape the shaft, so a small plane will get in there just fine). That is all ruff shaping. Then I move to scraper, a little rasping, a little block sanding, a bit of cloth backed paper sanding(smoothing). I tried rasping and surform for the shaft once, but thought it ruff and tedious(although I know other people find it works for them). I have also used router bits for ruff profiling(I have a very large round over and a smaller 3/4" roundover). Which works nice and fast(** for ruff shaping), but I like doing it manually so I rarely use the router.

Peace,Rich

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I think there's a bit of a terminology divide here. There are three shapes of spokeshaves. Those that have a completely flat sole, those that have a slightly convex face with the curve in the direction of the blade, and then there are those that have a SUPER convex face across the blade for shaping thin spindles. I would go for a flat one or the slightly convex one. Probably the slightly convex one for what I personally want to do with one on a guitar.

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I use a flat bladed spokeshave. Its easier to control removal of material and sanding those little ridges smooth afterwards is a treat. ALSO, when it comes time to sharpen your blade, flats are much easier to hone to a fine perfect edge and don't require any special accessories or treatments.

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A drum sander would work to add an initial edge but it won't make them razor sharp like honing. We used to use the belt sander (without the extractor fitted) to grind chisel's & plane blades at the furniture place I worked but they still needed honing to get a nice clean edge suitable for precision work.

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I bought both a straight and a curved, just recently, after joining this forum.

I'm practicing with both right now, and I find the flat one easier and more natural to use. I'm practicing sharpening these as well. Thanks for the tips.

One day I'll probably buy a real nice one from Lee Valley. They have the nicest handtool woodworking catalog I have ever seen.

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I concur with the sharpening point. It is not easy to sharpen a curved blade, and even though people have the curved spoke shaves mentioned I am not sure how far you can take the job with these models, I will bet you they also use a flat bladed spoke shave when the real shaping begins. Just owning one does not make it the tool of choice.

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION

With a flat Bladed model your are taking 1/4" shavings (APPOX) at a time, with the round shave it may take double or triple the amount of wood off at a time in two dimensions (top and side). If your neck grain changes direction in either one of those dimensions you may cause tear out using the curved blade and if you reverse the direction in a piece like this you tear out the other dimension. With a straight blade you are working only in one dimension (top or side but not both) and can reverse direction of cut to eliminate tearout. Its late I hope this makes sense.

Guitar building is woodworking plain and simple, tool selection is only one piece of the equation. Stick with a straight spoke shave of higher quality and you will be glad you did and your woodworking skills will be better for if you are a beginner.

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This is an image I found on the Veritas website:

05p3313inset.jpg

Of the three, I would be most likely to use B for neck carving as the places I would most want to use it are to shape the heel and neck/headstock transition. They call B a curved spokeshave. I think it's C, which they call a concave spokeshave, that a few people love and a lot of people are objecting to.

Edited by jnewman
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I'd call be a 'radiused sole' spokeshave, but to each their own, I guess. I'd use A; reason being that rasps combined with scrapers are by far superior if you're talking about fairing in heel and headstock transitions. There's end-grain, weird directions going on there, and your odds of tearout increase exponentially, particularly because spokeshaves are fairly lightweight, and you risk chattering badness. A chisel, skew or regular, is a far more suitable edge tool for carving heel/head transitions if you are averse to rasps; Cumpiano's book on acoustic building (Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology) has a good chapter/photo tutorial on carving an acoustic guitar heel primarily with chisels, and that works very well indeed.

What they're good at (type A) for necks is making long, flowing, straight lines, carving the neck shaft. For finer controlled work, scrapers, chisels, skew knives and good rasps are superior tools.

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Fair enough.... my spokeshave experience is pretty limited. The last neck I worked on I actually did use chisels for the heel area (neckthrough) and rasps for the main neck shaping. I guess a spokeshave would make it easier to get a consistent carve through the length of the neck and that would make the flat bottomed one the best.

Edited by jnewman
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This is an image I found on the Veritas website:

05p3313inset.jpg

Of the three, I would be most likely to use B for neck carving as the places I would most want to use it are to shape the heel and neck/headstock transition. They call B a curved spokeshave. I think it's C, which they call a concave spokeshave, that a few people love and a lot of people are objecting to.

If you are an experienced woodworker a round bottom spoke shave would work fine in many situations and as a fine addition to a flat bottom shave. For a beginner I would not recommend a round bottom spokeshave. That concave spoke shave in the picture is totally unsuited for a neck.

Look if the guy is a beginner stop recommending advanced tools for him to buy.

Of course he asked for advice; at the same time berated some people for not giving advice but wasting forum space (which I agree with) but buckradius you have not even had the courtesy to reply to any of our posts, whats with that? "Hey buck dont be a schmuck". The reason you only get people with limited experience posting here is because there is no real dialog in any post on this forum and by not answering the people who have spent time with your question you have contributed to the very reason this form has a lot of useless advice. People like myself with many years of experience just stop posting because its no longer a learning experience for us either, nor is there any reason to pass down information to newbies who give no indication or positive response that the information is being used.

In effect you are causing the very situation you wanted to avoid. You might as well move over to the highly censored MIMF and get some real advice, just dont post any new ideas there or they may wind up in the next edition of the Stumac catalog.

Woodenspoke

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Woodenspoke, unfortunately you are quickly learning that newbs and people who dont know any better, always tend to throw their suggestion into the thread. Unfortunately, the OTHER newbs all seem to gravitate towards those answers (generally because they seem to be the "easiest" solution to the problem), which causes all sorts of misinformation, and then arguments. Its much easier for someone like me (or even you, LGM, and many many others who have left in disgust), a professional with lots of valuable experience, to just let them go on their merry way... why do i want to argue with some clown who doesnt have a clue?

I guess we should just be lucky this isnt more like ultimate-guitar.com ... the newbs there have zero respect for anyone with even half an idea.

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For those of you who love to berate others for not finding all the answers by spending valuable time searching within the posts, Be advised, I work full time (two jobs), am raising two children, keep my wife happy, walk my dogs, and get to work on my guitars about an hour a day after 9:00 if I'm lucky.

So before you post a negative response...give me a break!!!

Don't bother responding to my post if you have nothing helpful to say.

Buck

I run a very successful luthery business with a 24 month waiting list, write for two magazines, contract to one other major guitar manufacturer, the warranty 'go to guy' for every major (and many many minor) guitar brands imported into Australia, studying for a degree, writing two books, PLUS i am heavily involved in a state and national based club. When i get home from a 12 hour day, i spend two hours either wiring up amplifiers, or designing new ones, cooking dinner and then spending time with a demanding partner who wants every bit of my spare time (and deserves what little i have).

Now, please tell me why we should bother to answer your question with that attitude, ESPECIALLY considering you are new around these parts?

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I guess I have nothing to add to what Perry has to say. Other than I agree with most of his thoughts on this subject.

Woodenspoke- I appreciate your thoughts on the flat spokeshave being a straight forward tool, and it is a good choice(It will do the job well). I have flat, flat with round bottom, concave and convex spokeshaves that I use in my shop, same as I have many different planes, chisels, rasps, files. I find different tools work better for me depending on the task(or at least are more comfortable for me to use). When I use a concave spokeshave(again this is in the early stages of shaping) I use it on one side at a time. You may have the impression that I would try to shape both sides of the necks profile at the same time(that would work poorly, much as you described in one of your responces). Now, why would I use concave over a flat spokeshave(I have both available, and can just as easily grab flat as concave). I like the way the concave blade takes material in a round fashion. It will not produce the final shape, but I don't want my spokeshave to go that far anyway(I use my scrapers to get to final shape). I hope that makes sense. I am not a professional woodworker, but I have carved a few necks and know what method I have come to prefer. If I comment I am going to comment based on what I use. I know people use a lot of different methods and tools for shaping(some of which I would never use), but I am not going to tell them their method is wrong if it does the job. So when you say this "That concave spoke shave in the picture is totally unsuited for a neck.". I will disagree with you(no disrespect intended).

Peace,Rich

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I guess I have nothing to add to what Perry has to say. Other than I agree with most of his thoughts on this subject.

Woodenspoke- I appreciate your thoughts on the flat spokeshave being a straight forward tool, and it is a good choice(It will do the job well). I have flat, flat with round bottom, concave and convex spokeshaves that I use in my shop, same as I have many different planes, chisels, rasps, files. I find different tools work better for me depending on the task(or at least are more comfortable for me to use). When I use a concave spokeshave(again this is in the early stages of shaping) I use it on one side at a time. You may have the impression that I would try to shape both sides of the necks profile at the same time(that would work poorly, much as you described in one of your responces). Now, why would I use concave over a flat spokeshave(I have both available, and can just as easily grab flat as concave). I like the way the concave blade takes material in a round fashion. It will not produce the final shape, but I don't want my spokeshave to go that far anyway(I use my scrapers to get to final shape). I hope that makes sense. I am not a professional woodworker, but I have carved a few necks and know what method I have come to prefer. If I comment I am going to comment based on what I use. I know people use a lot of different methods and tools for shaping(some of which I would never use), but I am not going to tell them their method is wrong if it does the job. So when you say this "That concave spoke shave in the picture is totally unsuited for a neck.". I will disagree with you(no disrespect intended).

Peace,Rich

Yes I am believing my time could be better utilized doing other things like watching TV with my family rather than answer questions. I am a member of other forums such as the CNCzone where there is active dialog and people are willing to go out of there way to help others. MIMF was such a forum once.

I'm sorry I moved this post in the wrong direction. I wonder if I should have mentioned a draw knife as the only tool for the job, HA HA.

Rich, I didn't mean that using a concave spoke shave was useless or that any particular brand would not work. I did not say you could profile a neck on both sides with a spokeshave in one stroke, it would be nice yet impossible. I did mentioned 2 dimensions vertical and horizontal (on a single side of the neck and I did say I was tired and I hoped it made sense) could cause tearout which you cant control by just reversing direction (taking a full stroke across the blade)as you could with a flat spokeshave.

My personal experience is the Hock concave profiled spokeshave comes close but not close enough for me to purchase one. The Lee Valley in the picture has a very tight concave 1 5/16" profile and I believe they state it is made for chair rails and boat oars and unless you are building chairs or a boat oar, $95 is a bit too much to spend on a tool that may be unsuited to the job. I had no problem with the round bottom spokeshave and it looks nice but requires more skill to use so I would not rcommend it for Buckradius.

One of the biggest issues here is newbies just want to build guitars, but building guitars is woodworking. Most would be better off spending a few bucks on a book on honing basic woodworking skills first.

My personal preference on necks is to hog off as much wood with a foredom tool fitted with a carbide rasp, which is certainly not recommended for everyone. But I also use a pattern makers rasp, flat spoke shave as well as several scrapers, concaved and straight. I even believed I tried a draw knife once (not recommended).

But again the question was "what should I buy" not what do you use. An my answer is the same, buy a flat bottom spokeshave as your first spokeshave and it will work great for shaping a neck.

Woodenspoke

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Wow!!! HOLY CRAP! What is going on here?

I have just returned from two blissful weeks of flyfishing in Montana (no TV, no electricity, NO INTERNET) and it looks like my post turned into an all out pisser.

Woodenspoke, I apologize for not responding sooner. I have enjoyed reading your posts and find them very helpful. I guess there are rules of etiquette to posting that I have not yet learned. I will try to be more thoughtful in the future (those Montana brown and rainbow trout were MONSTERS though!!!)

But, I do not plan to stop asking questions and looking for guidance. This is this best post site online and I don't really care if someone calls me a "newbie" because that's what I am, but I am also not a total idiot. I have been working with tools my entire life; guitar building just happens to be quite different from what I have done before. A friend and I built a 30' sailboat that we navigated from Boston, Massachusetts to South Florida and back and it never even took on (much) water!!!

But you know what? I'm not here to brag about what I can do. I'm here to learn from people who know and do what I am now interested in. You will notice that I have not posted ANY advice. That's because I am a novice (more polite term) and am keeping my mouth shut until I learn more. I simply would like to keep things on the positive side. WE ARE ALL BUSY! I'm not trying to compete with anyone on this forum. I simply want to feel that I can ask a question without feeling like the act of asking questions somehow makes me lazy or not a serious builder. One of our fellow posters has a note at the bottom of his posts that says "There is no such thing as a stupid question." That says it all.

Of course I want to build a guitar! Guitars are the coolest instruments on the planet. You know that better than anybody. To say that my desire to build a guitar is secondary to learning how to use the tools or that I should be proficient with the tools prior to building a guitar is somewhat simplified. The desire to build the guitar is the fuel that drives you, me, every one of us to bother in the first place. I doubt there are very many fine furniture makers out there who would bother wasting all the money and time we do just to showcase their talents by building an instrument most of the rest of the civilized world thinks is a toy for adolescent teen boys. I get it, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE GUITAR!!!

The Godfather of project guitars, Melvyn Hiscock (yeah, I own both editions of his book, as well as ones by George Buchanan, Irving Sloane, Arthur E. Overholtzer, Dave Burrluck, Dan Erliwine, and others) didn't know diddly-squat when he began building his first guitar. He just KNEW he had to have a Flying V. You better believe he asked some questions along the way, and I'll bet he had some teachers that were stoked that that little "newbie" was learning the craft. Even with all those books, I still want to ask questions!!!!!!! Isn't that what this forum is for?

Oh yeah...

I did read ALL the posts from all the members and found the advice offered to be very helpful. In fact I did buy a flat spokeshave and found it to be a neat tool, but in my hands a very dangerous one as well. Practice is surely the key. I ended up doing most of the shaping of my neck with a shureform and sandpaper powered by my right hand

I have (or will very soon) posted pictures at http://buckradius.blogspot.com/

Please feel free to comment or criticize, but be sure your criticism is constructive ; )

Buck

PS. This response is not specifically directed at Woodenspoke; he has my utmost respect!!! I JUST HAPPENED TO BE READING HIS POST WHEN I RESPONDED. I AM NOT TRYING TO START ANYMORE TROUBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can we move on if I promise to be more humble and respectful? Please!!!

Thanks,

Buck

Edited by Setch
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For those of you who love to berate others for not finding all the answers by spending valuable time searching within the posts, Be advised, I work full time (two jobs), am raising two children, keep my wife happy, walk my dogs, and get to work on my guitars about an hour a day after 9:00 if I'm lucky.

So before you post a negative response...give me a break!!!

Don't bother responding to my post if you have nothing helpful to say.

Buck

I run a very successful luthery business with a 24 month waiting list, write for two magazines, contract to one other major guitar manufacturer, the warranty 'go to guy' for every major (and many many minor) guitar brands imported into Australia, studying for a degree, writing two books, PLUS i am heavily involved in a state and national based club. When i get home from a 12 hour day, i spend two hours either wiring up amplifiers, or designing new ones, cooking dinner and then spending time with a demanding partner who wants every bit of my spare time (and deserves what little i have).

Now, please tell me why we should bother to answer your question with that attitude, ESPECIALLY considering you are new around these parts?

By the way Perry, you might note that I never specifically asked for YOU to answer any question. I do believe there are several hundred other members who could respond to any given post. It is perhaps only your over-inflated ego that leads you te believe that your bits of sarcastic advice are "nuggets ot pure gold." I think your "nuggets of pure gold" that are metiphorically coming out of your "mouth" are actually coming out your arse instead. Don't bother responding to this post either, as I have already put a block on your posts. With any luck I will, in the next 5 minutes, forget you ever existed. OOOOOOOOHHHHHH, it's working....Perry who?!?

Edited by Buck Radius
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For those of you who love to berate others for not finding all the answers by spending valuable time searching within the posts, Be advised, I work full time (two jobs), am raising two children, keep my wife happy, walk my dogs, and get to work on my guitars about an hour a day after 9:00 if I'm lucky.

So before you post a negative response...give me a break!!!

Don't bother responding to my post if you have nothing helpful to say.

Buck

I run a very successful luthery business with a 24 month waiting list, write for two magazines, contract to one other major guitar manufacturer, the warranty 'go to guy' for every major (and many many minor) guitar brands imported into Australia, studying for a degree, writing two books, PLUS i am heavily involved in a state and national based club. When i get home from a 12 hour day, i spend two hours either wiring up amplifiers, or designing new ones, cooking dinner and then spending time with a demanding partner who wants every bit of my spare time (and deserves what little i have).

Now, please tell me why we should bother to answer your question with that attitude, ESPECIALLY considering you are new around these parts?

By the way Perry, you might note that I never specifically asked for YOU to answer any question. I do believe there are several hundred other members who could respond to any given post. It is perhaps only your over-inflated ego that leads you te believe that your bits of sarcastic advice are "nuggets ot pure gold." I think your "nuggets of pure gold" that are metiphorically coming out of your "mouth" are actually coming out your arse instead. Don't bother responding to this post either, as I have already put a block on your posts. With any luck I will, in the next 5 minutes, forget you ever existed. OOOOOOOOHHHHHH, it's working....Perry who?!?

haha awesome!!

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But I like trouble seems to keep people honest.

Unfortunately people just tell you what they use which is not advice but a self indulgent pat on the back that their tool selection was the best choice. If you had problems with the flat bottom spoke shave just imagine what would have happened if you used some the the more advanced shaves mentioned.

Wood, its all about wood but that never enters into the conversation because everyone is fixated on the tool and not the process. Each neck is unique (wood selection and grain) and because of that tool selection is an adaptable process.

I believe I answered your question with the utmost respect, The newbie came from the "newbie under your name in the first post" and wasn't a comment on you or your skills. My frustration comes not from you but the idiotic advice I see given to people who want to get started building guitars. Advice which will turn them from wannabes to I'll just buy my next guitar.

I have answered your posts before and I am always honest and try to keep my personal preferences out of the conversation, and I dont bring up my long history of woodworking to back up my advise. If I knew you could afford to spend the week fly fishing I would have recommended a Lie Nielson.

If your first post was any indication of the frustration you have with the answers you get I am equally frustrated at having my advise ignored. My mantra over the years seems to be "I told you so". I told my neighbors 3 years ago not to use stain on their siding, now 3 years later the house looks like crap. So now they have to spend another 5 grand to repaint the house. Its the same on this forum we discuss $200 bandsaws but that $200 would have been better spent towards a $500 bandsaw because that $200 piece of junk is going to become a burden if you stick with the hobby. If you deceide you dont want to build guitars you will at least get a better resale value on the $500 bandsaw.

Most of my woodworking skills I learned by trial and error, and books. there were no help forums (or internet) when I started building guitars. Use what you feel comfortable with to remove wood.

Yes I appreciate your reply makes me feel someone is reading the posts and I dont mind a kick in the pants either.

Woodenspoke

Edited by Woodenspoke
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Thanks Spoke,

I spent part of the day building dovetails joints with my gents saw and chisels. That has nothing to do with the guitar I'm building but everything to do with a desk for my son. It felt good to do all the cuts by hand. See, I'm working on those "skills." That kind of got me thinking about how I could incorporate some dovetailing into a guitar project. It would be purely cosmetic (I can't see any real need for it in a build) but I think it would look cool. Has anyone out there ever seen a guitar done with anything like that? I was thinking that maybe it could work as binding on a topped design; maybe one routed out mostly hollow. I don't know, just thinking.

As for the cost of flyfishing, we do it on the cheap. We tie our own flies (Dad buillt my rod), eat lots of beans, rice, and trout, and sleep out under the stars or under a lean-to shelter when it rains. You can spend thousands on flyfishing stuff, but the trout don't care one way or the other. I've seen guys catch trout using sticks and flies made from thread and scraps of cloth. If the trout are hungry, it really doesn't matter.

But, this has nothing to do with guitars or tools, so I'll shut up now.

Buck

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