Best spokeshave for woodworking | Get the curves right with this top 5

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  December 8, 2021
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If 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. Best spokeshave | Get the curves right in your woodworking projects 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 spokeshave Images
Best overall spokeshave: Anndason 2 Piece Spoke Shave Plane Best overall spokeshave- Anndason 2 Piece Adjustable Spokeshave with flat base

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Best flat bottomed spokeshave for durability: ASTITCHIN Adjustable SpokeShave Best flat bottomed spokeshave for durability- Astitchin spokeshave

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Best round-bottomed spokeshave for professional woodworkers: Taytools 469577 Best round-bottomed spokeshave for professional woodworkers- Taytools 469577

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Best value for money spokeshave for flat and curved surfaces: STANLEY Hand Planer 12-951 Best value for money spokeshave for flat and curved surfaces- Stanley 12-951

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Best convex & concave spokeshave twin pack: Faithfull Twin Pack (convex & concave) Best convex & concave spokeshave twin pack- Faithfull Twin Pack (convex & concave)

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Best adjustable spokeshave: Swpeet 10″

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Best control: Robert Larson 580- 1000 Kunz 151 Robert Larson 580- 1000 Kunz 151 Flat Spokeshave

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Best spokeshave set: Minatee 6 Pieces

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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 mind

Before 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 length

The 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 quality

The 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 mechanism

You 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 reviewed

I’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

Best overall spokeshave- Anndason 2 Piece Adjustable Spokeshave with flat base in use

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This two-piece flat-bottomed set is suitable both for the experienced woodworker and for someone who is new to woodworking and who doesn’t want to spend a fortune on tools. It is effective but also affordable and provides the ideal opportunity for a beginner to learn the skills of adjusting, sharpening, and shaping. This is why it’s top of my list, as it is great quality and there are two tools in one pack. The contoured handles are easy to operate and offer good control over the angle of the cut. It is easy to control and to maneuver and achieve nice clean cuts without too much effort. The tough carbon 9-inch blade (hardness of 58-60HRC) holds its sharpness well. The sole may need some sanding in order to flatten it and the blades may need regular sharpening, but this is an excellent budget tool for most applications. The precision adjustment knobs for changing the depth of the shavings are sturdy and easy to use. Because there are two tools in this set, it would be a good idea to adjust one of them for a coarser cut and the other for a finer shave.

Features

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Best flat bottomed spokeshave for durability: ASTITCHIN Adjustable SpokeShave

Best flat bottomed spokeshave for durability- Astitchin spokeshave

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If you are looking for a tough, durable and reliable spokeshave, this is it. It is a strong, solid tool made with wear-resistant materials, but at the same time providing the precision you need for fine detailed work. It has a carbon steel blade and comfortable double handles for efficient control. The double screw adjustment is easy to use and will help you get the perfect shaving size you require. It is the ideal tool for planing complex surfaces and irregular patterns, such as arcs and curves. This versatile spokeshave is easy enough for a beginner to use, but the quality and durability of the tool makes it a good addition to any seasoned woodworker’s collection. This spokeshave has a corrosion-resistant epoxy coating, which makes it long-lasting and wear-resistant.

Features

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Best round-bottomed spokeshave for professional woodworkers: Taytools 469577

Best round-bottomed spokeshave for professional woodworkers- Taytools 469577

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This Taytools 469577 Round Bottom spokeshave is a moderately priced, good quality tool, but it is not for the beginner. If you have never used a spokeshave before, then this is not the one to learn on. This spokeshave is designed for experienced woodworkers. It does not come with any instructions and the blade, although made of high-quality steel, needs serious honing before the tool is used. Made from tough ductile cast iron, this is a solid and durable tool that should last for years. The blade is made of high-quality hardened steel and the blade adjustment mechanism works well and allows precise shavings to be produced. Adjustment knobs are solid brass and screws are stainless steel. The sole is 1 inch wide and ground to a 1-1/2-inch radius.

Features

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Best value for money spokeshave for flat and curved surfaces: STANLEY Hand Planer 12-951

Best value for money spokeshave for flat and curved surfaces- Stanley 12-951

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This is an inexpensive and versatile spokeshave designed primarily for curved work, but because the base is flat, it can be used for both flat and curved surfaces. The one-piece body is made of cast iron, which gives it great durability, but it does have a rather clunky utilitarian look and the paintwork is a bit uneven. It comes with flared double handles for a comfortable grip and extra control. The blade is fully adjustable for the depth and thickness of the shavings which allows for accurate shaping of the workpiece. The blade is 2-1/8 inches in width and replaceable. The tool comes in a vinyl pouch to protect it when not in use. This is an inexpensive spokeshave. Nevertheless, it is a quality tool that offers good performance for someone who is on a tight budget.

Features

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Best convex & concave spokeshave twin pack: Faithfull Twin Pack

Best convex & concave spokeshave twin pack- Faithfull Twin Pack (convex & concave)

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You get two fair-quality tools in this twin pack. The concave spokeshave is perfect for woodworkers who need to shape oars, spindles, and the legs of wooden tables and chairs, while the convex spokeshave is useful for the intricate recessed work. While this set comes in at a slightly heftier price, the quality of the tools is worth the investment. The blades will need some work when the product arrives. You will have to put some time into sharpening them, but once they are sharp, they tend to keep their sharpness for a while. While this is not a top brand, most reviewers agree that the quality is very competitive.

Features

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Best adjustable spokeshave: Swpeet 10″

Swpeet 10" Adjustable SpokeShave 

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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 Cons Verdict This piece of equipment is perfect if you are looking for a good spokeshave that is inexpensive. Even though it’s affordable, this tool has a lot to offer, and it is on par with even some expensive spokeshave you will see on the market. Check prices here

Best control: Robert Larson 580- 1000 Kunz 151

Robert Larson 580- 1000 Kunz 151 Flat Spokeshave

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This 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 Cons Verdict This tool here is a solid performer. Once you adjust it, it is super easy to use. It has all the functionalities needed to be one of the best spokeshave options. Check prices here

Best spokeshave set: Minatee 6 Pieces

Minatee 6 Pieces Adjustable Spokeshave

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The 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 Cons Verdict Even if you have never used a spokeshave before, this one should be straightforward for you to pick up. Just make sure you flatten the bed, sharpen the blade if needed, and get to work! It is truly one of the best spokeshaves for the price! Check prices here

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: Each one is suited to a different type of curve.

Flat bottomed spokeshave

The 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 spokeshave

The 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 spokeshave

The concave spokeshave has a rounded indented sole and is used primarily for round surfaces.

Convex spokeshave

The 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 spokeshave

For 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. How to set up a spokeshave 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.
  1. Is a spokeshave bevel up or down?
There are two types of spokeshaves, one having the bevel facing upwards and the other facing downwards. Wooden-bodied spokeshaves tend to have the bevel facing up.
  1. At what angle do you sharpen a spokeshave?
Make sure the bevel is not at an angle of more than 30o.
  1. Can you use a flat shaving tool on curved surfaces?
You can use flat shaving tools or flat spokeshaves on both flat and outer curved surfaces.
  1. Can you build your own spokeshave?
It is possible to make your own spokeshave. Some woodworkers build their own spokeshave tools from wood. However, buying an affordable one is likely a better option since building one takes time and effort.

Takeaway

Whether 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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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.
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