I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn moreIf you have done any woodworking at all, regardless of your level of skill, you have probably heard of a spokeshave even if you haven’t actually used one. If you are an experienced woodworker, you will know that, although you may not use one on a daily basis, there are certain woodworking tasks that only the spokeshave can do. You will also know that you often need more than one spokeshave for a single project, to produce the different curves required. There are a variety of spokeshaves available, each one suited to a different type of curve. After researching and comparing the various spokeshaves on the market, and looking at their strengths and weaknesses, my top pick is the Anndason 2 Piece Adjustable Spokeshave with a flat base. It is affordable, effective, and good for both experienced woodworkers and beginners. But to really complement your woodworking toolkit, consider all the top choices below.
|Best overall spokeshave: Anndason 2 Piece Spoke Shave Plane|
|Best flat bottomed spokeshave for durability: ASTITCHIN Adjustable SpokeShave|
|Best round-bottomed spokeshave for professional woodworkers: Taytools 469577|
|Best value for money spokeshave for flat and curved surfaces: STANLEY Hand Planer 12-951|
|Best convex & concave spokeshave twin pack: Faithfull Twin Pack (convex & concave)|
|Best adjustable spokeshave: Swpeet 10″|
|Best control: Robert Larson 580- 1000 Kunz 151|
|Best spokeshave set: Minatee 6 Pieces|
What is a spokeshave?The name spokeshave comes from this tool’s original use which was, literally, to shave the spindles or spokes of wooden wagon wheels. If you are not familiar with it, this simple hand tool is used in wood carving for cutting and shaping. It has two handles in line with each other on either side of the blade. It works similarly to a bench plane, but, because of its shape, it can carve rounded surfaces. It is particularly handy when making chairs, bows, canoe paddles, curved handrails, and axe handles. In fact, it’s useful when working on anything with a curved wooden surface.
More woodworking tools to have in your arsenal: these are the best Wood Carving Tools for Handicrafts
Spokeshave buyer’s guide – keep this in mindBefore I go into detail about why I chose these items for my list, I’ve highlighted some of the most important things everyone should know about spokeshaves below. This will help you make the right choice when it comes to buying one for your particular needs. Here are some of the things that I would advise you to look at before making your final purchasing decision.
Handle lengthThe handles of a spokeshave extend like wings from both sides of the tool and they’re an important part of maintaining control and stability when angling a cut. If the handles are too long, they can be uncomfortable to work with but if they’re too short they’ll make it hard to judge the angle.
Blade qualityThe blade should be made of hard, durable material. You’re looking for something that is easy to sharpen and will hold an edge. Check the thickness of the blade and remember that bigger is better in this regard. With time, you’ll need to keep sharpening it and thus grind it down in the process. A thicker blade makes for longer use. The bevel of the spokeshave blade should be sharpened at a 25-degree angle. Most blades come barely sharpened so you’ll need to hone it before judging whether it can do a good job or not. Always a good idea to even the bed of the blade so that the blade doesn’t rock in place.
Adjustment mechanismYou should also pay attention to how adjustable the blade is. Especially as a beginner, it is great if you don’t have to fiddle around with the tool too much. By using the screws on the top of the spokeshave’s body you can adjust the depth of the cut, making for bigger or smaller shavings depending on how much material you want to remove. These screws should be easy to turn and feel sturdy. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the adjustment mechanism before using the tool on an actual project because the depth measurements can vary depending on the manufacturer.
Best spokeshaves for your projects reviewedI’ve analyzed some of the spokeshaves available on the market below. I’ve checked their best features and looked at all the factors that buyers should consider before deciding which product to buy. I hope that my extensive research helps save you some time, and helps you purchase a spokeshave that will meet all of your needs.
Best overall spokeshave: Anndason 2 Piece Spoke Shave Plane
- Handles: The contoured handles are easy to operate and offer good control over the angle of the cut.
- Blade: Has a tough carbon 9-inch blade that is easy to sharpen and can be replaced.
- Adjustment mechanism: The adjustment mechanism is sturdy and easy to use.
Best flat bottomed spokeshave for durability: ASTITCHIN Adjustable SpokeShave
- Handles: Comfortable double handles for easy control.
- Blade: Tough 44mm carbon steel blade which is replaceable.
- Adjustment mechanism: The double screw adjustment is easy to use.
Best round-bottomed spokeshave for professional woodworkers: Taytools 469577
- Handles: Comfortable handles offering good grip.
- Blade: High-quality steel blade.
- Adjustment mechanism: The adjustment knobs are solid brass, and the adjustment mechanism works smoothly.
Best value for money spokeshave for flat and curved surfaces: STANLEY Hand Planer 12-951
- Handles: It has flared double handles for a comfortable grip and extra control.
- Blade: The blade is a good thickness and is replaceable.
- Adjustment mechanism: The adjustment mechanism works smoothly and allows for accurate shaping of the workpiece.
Best convex & concave spokeshave twin pack: Faithfull Twin Pack
- Handles: The handles are comfortable to hold and offer good control.
- Blade: The hardened steel blade needs tuning and sharpening before using it.
- Adjustment mechanism: While having a twin thumb wheel to adjust blades is easier, this does come at a higher price. To adjust the blades on these spokeshaves, loosen the screw and gently tap the back edge to tweak left or right then tighten up the screw.
Best adjustable spokeshave: Swpeet 10″The first spokeshave we will be looking at is Swpeet, and it is known for being the best spokeshave at a low price. It offers a lot of functionality and is highly durable. First of all, this thing comes with a sturdy 46mm carbon steel blade. The blade is heat-treated, which means it will last quite a long time. It is also very sharp, compared to even some other expensive options out there. Since it is also very firm, it stands up well against wear and tear. Its handle is contoured for the user’s comfort. So, you can work on your project longer without feeling any discomfort while using this. It also has a corrosion-resistant epoxy coating which helps make the product even more durable. This tool features a double-screw adjustment screw, making it very easy for you to make adjustments as needed for a particular application. There is a bit of a learning curve here for beginners; however, if you have some experience with these tools, you will find this equipment quite convenient and easy to use. Remember, though; you have to set the tool up first. All you need to do is flatten the sole and then sharpen the blade. The only complaint some might have here is that the adjustments are not precise. However, that does not affect the performance. Pros
- Easy to adjust and use
- Highly affordable
- It offers a lot of functionality
- Exceptionally durable and resistant to corrosion
- Adjustment is not the most precise
Best control: Robert Larson 580- 1000 Kunz 151This Rober Larson spokeshave is a great tool known for allowing the user decent control and excellent precision when working on a project. It is a flat spokeshave with a good ergonomic design. The cutting edge is very sharp, allowing the blade to go through smoothly. You can use it to get some very thin cuts at all pull lengths without removing chunks. You will find this thing very easy to adjust as well as use. Two knobs control the depth of the blade, where one is for the left side and the other for the right side. It also has a lever cap that securely holds the edge in place. This thing has a bit of a learning curve, but once you learn how to use this tool, you cannot go wrong with it. There have been some complaints about it making screeching noises at times. However, if that is not an issue for you, this can be an excellent option for you to consider. Pros
- Very easy to adjust and use
- Solid performer
- Sharp edge
- It leaves a very smooth finish
- It might make a screeching noise at times
Best spokeshave set: Minatee 6 PiecesThe following product I will tell you about is the Minatee Spokeshave, which has a lot to offer. This one is also quite affordable while still reliable and of great quality. It does an excellent job trimming and providing smooth finishes. First of all, this hand tool is a highly durable one. It has been constructed from manganese steel with some very high-tech assembly line heat treatment. That gives the spokeshave high hardness and makes it very tough. The blade itself is very durable, and it has a corrosion-protective construction. Its blade might be a bit dull, but they are straightforward to sharpen, so you should not have much issue with that. This thing has a very convenient design using a double screw adjustment screw. It makes adjusting the planing thickness very simple, providing some smooth results. The handles are contoured for the user’s comfort so that you can work on your project for longer hours. You can also fine-tune the depth as required for your project by simply twisting the two screws. Even if you are a beginner at woodworking, no need to worry; you can easily adjust the angle of the blade for your convenience and get more accurate results. With this set, you get this spokeshave and 5 metal blade pieces that you can use as replacements whenever needed. Pros
- Extremely durable
- Convenient design
- Offers great performance
- Blades are not the sharpest
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the different types of spokeshaves?As an experienced woodworker, you will know that there are four main kinds of spokeshave:
Flat bottomed spokeshaveThe flat bottomed spokeshave is used for items that curve outward, but it can be used on some flat surfaces as well. The sole of this spokeshave is flat and runs parallel to the surface of the wood. The blade is straight across and can be adjusted to the depth you require.
Rounded bottom spokeshaveThe rounded bottom spokeshave is specifically designed to remove material from the inside of an arch. The bottom is rounded so that the blade can make contact with the wood in the bottom of the arch at all times. This type is best suited to very tight contours and can be a little tricky to use. Uses the same blade as a flat bottom spokeshave.
Concave spokeshaveThe concave spokeshave has a rounded indented sole and is used primarily for round surfaces.
Convex spokeshaveThe convex spokeshave is used to remove material from the center of an item or anything that has an indented look or feel.
Learn more: these are the different types of woodworking clamps
How to use a spokeshaveFor those of you who have not used this tool, here are some very basic guidelines for operating a spokeshave. It is common to secure the workpiece in a sturdy bench vise first. It is also important to adjust the spokeshave to the desired shaving size and make sure the blade is good and sharp. Then, the spokeshave is held against the surface and either pushed or pulled. The blade sits at an angle to the sole and the piece being carved. As you hold the handles, moving the tool over the surface with some gentle pressure, wood is shaved from the workpiece. It is important to always move in the same direction as the wood grain when shaving. So now you know all about these products. However, if you are a beginner, you might be unclear about operating a spokeshave. No need to worry, though, because I am here to help! Below I have prepared a short guide for you on how to use a spokeshave: Step 1: Setting up First, you can begin by setting up the spokeshave and adjusting the blade. You can do so by extending or retracting the blade into the spokeshave. A thumbscrew on the body opens the throat that allows you to deepen or refine the cut as required. Step 2: Knowing the Tool You will notice the hand tool has a heel that you can place and rest on your work to have decent control over the cuts. There are two handles on the sides that you can hold to push or pull the instrument against the workpiece. Step 3: Applying Force Make sure you hold the handles lightly. Apply force onto the spokeshave with your thumb to cut shaving. On the other hand, apply power using your index finger instead when pulling the instrument.
What do you use a spokeshave for?A spokeshave is a tool used to shape and smooth wooden rods and shafts – often for use as wheel spokes, chair legs (particularly complex shapes such as the cabriole leg), and arrows. It can also be used to carve canoe or kayak paddles. Spokeshaves are hand tools used to curve out edges and shape and smooth out the wood. It is commonly used for woodworking projects such as those chairs, tables, and other wooden things.
Why does my spokeshave chatter?This is a common problem for first-time users of round bottom spokeshaves. The cap needs to be level and seated firmly all the way down. It’s easy for a small shaving to prevent the cap from seating firmly, which will result in chatter.
Do you push or pull a spokeshave?Unlike a drawknife, you can push or pull a spokeshave, depending on grain direction and the most comfortable working position.
What type of carpentry tool is a spokeshave?A spokeshave is a hand tool used to shape and smooth wood in woodworking jobs such as making cartwheel spokes, chair legs, paddles, bows, and arrows. The tool consists of a blade fixed into the body of the tool, which has a handle for each hand.
What does a spokeshave look like?A spokeshave is similar to a plane, except planes are used on flat surfaces. Spokeshaves can have flat, round, concave, or convex soles.
- Is a spokeshave bevel up or down?
- At what angle do you sharpen a spokeshave?
- Can you use a flat shaving tool on curved surfaces?
- Can you build your own spokeshave?
TakeawayWhether you’re fine-tuning your handcrafted oars or making exquisite bespoke furniture, you should have more of an idea of the best spokeshave for your needs. While there are loads of products and options on the market, these are my top picks for their quality, price, and durability. Happy woodworking!
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I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.