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Questions answered – Flat- or Round – bottomed Spokeshaves

For more information on spokeshaves, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

Flat-bottomed and Round-bottomed Spokeshaves  

Hi Paul,

It was a pleasure to meet you at the Fredericksburg VA Woodworking Show. I hope to be taking your beginner course next spring.  However, I have two questions to ask.

1. Are all of your spokeshaves flat bottomed or do you use a rounded bottom spokeshave also?  If so, are there any differences in the way the blade is sharpened?

2. How do you sharpen a router plane blade?  Do you sharpen it like a chisel?  I could not find any information anywhere on this subject.

Thanks and best regards,


Question 1:

I own round-bottomed spokeshaves and use them when needed, which is very rare. Most arches and such can be more easily shaped and smoothed using flat-bottomed spokeshaves and, in actuality, round-bottomed spokeshaves don’t do that well on anything but tight arches of say less than a 6” radius. Shaping the convex bevel to the cutting iron is the same as you would for chisels and plane irons. I did a blog on the cautions surrounding sharpening here.

Question 2:

For the #71 router cutting iron, I simply run the bevel along the edge of the diamond plate so that means it’s upside down and the only way I can get the iron on the stone is as shown. This is more a question of grinding and honing the bevel and then polishing the bevel as I would any other cutting iron using a block of hardwood and some polishing compound such as aluminum oxide.

For the Veritas router iron I use their added  sharpening stem that comes with the router plane. This works really well as it extends the length of an otherwise awkward small piece. Here is a blog from a couple of months ago. a review of the plane. I wanted to do. We use this plane at the school in New York so here it is if you want more info.

1 Comment

  1. Orestis on 20 August 2016 at 7:54 am

    Hello Paul,
    i have a Stanley 151R round bottom metal spokeshave (the newer type made in China probably) and i am thinking of converting it to a flat bottom by grinding the sole flat. Do you think this is possible or will the mouth become too wide?

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