Three years ago a woodworking guru in a British woodworking magazine gave advise to a new woodworker because he had asked why he couldn’t get good results from his Stanley #151 The tool kept digging in and gouging the wood. The guru gave no remedial advise to the writer. He actually stated that you cannot get a shaving with this spokeshave and that he should buy a xxxxxxx make. I wrote to the editor mad as could be. He could do no more. Had I had internet blogging in place I could have responded as I did to the editor:
Fact: The #151 or similar metal-cast spokeshave have been in every carpenter’s and furniture maker’s tool boxes for a century. Fact: I bought my Stanley #151 malleable iron spokeshave in 1965. I have used it almost every day for 46 years. Fact: Woodworkers for a century were not waiting for someone in 2008 to tell them that what they were using didn’t really work that well and that they should switch to buy a model XXXXX. Fact:Woodworkers for a century, perhaps a hundred thousand of them, had owned and used the #151 spokeshave successfully. Fact: Wooden spokeshaves were not inferior to model XXXXX, just different. Fact: Model XXXXX is an excellent spokeshave and I own and use one of those too. Fact: There are things I can do with a wooden spokeshave much more effectively and efficiently than I can do with my model XXXXX. Fact: There are things I can do with my wooden boxwood spokeshave that I cannot do with my model XXXXX or my Stanley #151.
Fact is that this is not an either or but an all. I have accumulated a dozen spokeshaves and I use them all, I like them all and I have special ones that I sharpen to task. Don’t be fooled by those who tell you that the old timers didn’t use them because they didn’t have them or because they were resistant to change. A wooden jack will hog-off ten times more than any Stanley Bedrock can and a Lie Nielsen 4 1/2 is still one of the best engineered 4 1/2 planes on the market though it is somewhat heavy and a cumbersome too. A Stanley 4 1/2 secondhand will achieve the same results but I do like the Lie Nielsen range of planes also. Its very rarely an either or when it comes to tool choices. The very best engineered tool may not do what a a lesser quality tool will do sometimes. Keep an open mind when it comes to real woodworking everyone. That’s what it takes to become a craftsman.