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

P1020960A few years ago, ten or more if I remember rightly, I ordered some spokeshave parts from Veritas in Canada. I think it was about 16 sets actually. The order was based on my previously ordering a kit of parts  to make my own, to see how well it would work. I ended up ordering the large version too. I am used to blade-sole spokeshaves and I know that they are more effective than almost any modern spokeshave out there, especially the ones bedded like planes. P1020969Now that doesn’t mean that bedded spokeshaves don’t work and work well, just that they work with a different dynamic and at a lesser level. On the other hand, if blade-sole spokeshaves do go wrong, that is, they hit the rising grain in alignment with the bevel angle of the grain. So, once you understand this and can read the grain beforehand, I think these spokeshave types are, in general, unparalleled by any and all bedded bevel-down spokeshaves. As I said, spokeshave types have different dynamics because of the physics. You just have to pick your offensive strategy.

DSC_0007We made a new video series and concluded this week. It entails the use of the two key types of spokeshave, bevel-up, blade-sole and bevel-down inclined bed. I ran the two alongside one another today with no intention to compare one to the other but using each to address different issues in the use of spokeshaves. P1020966This led me to write this blog post. I never really like to post a recommendation on a tool until thoroughly tested out. Tool makers and suppliers often supply tools to what they call “product leaders” for them to try, test, use and hopefully show others that they are using the tools or equipment and if things really are going well, recommend the product. That basically is anyone who will lead people, viewers, readers, to see them using or wearing their products. 

P1020958My point here is that there have been many well proven bevel-up spokeshaves engineered for woodworkers to use over the decades and they look very like the one made by Veritas. In this case, Veritas came up with a kit for you to make using your own and skills and I have been using mine for over a decade now. Today, in concluding making a video series, I was  reminded of how easy this spokeshave moves into and through the wood and how easy it is to sharpen, reinstall the cutting iron to the exact same setting after sharpening and get right back to task.

P1020706By contrast, the tang type traditional blade-sole spokeshaves can be a little more problematic if you are not used to them. Not impossible, just difficult. Here’s the thing.


This Veritas spokeshave kit is top notch. The link shows a schematic of how it comes together. It cuts to the chase and in say an afternoon you will have a working model and I think it’s one I would refer to as a lifetime tool. It’s also an enjoyable project and you can build one with your kids too.

Oh,  what was I making? A new-to-woodworking and children’s project in oak.


More on this shortly.


  1. Jon Place on 3 February 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Hi Paul. I got myself one of those Veritas kits several months ago; I was curious about it and wanted to see if the wood ejection it uses would make any difference to my work. I absolutely love this tool and always feel really confident when I’m using it. I would want to be without this tool at all.

  2. Susan on 3 February 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Hello Paul,
    Since you are the expert, I would like to purchase a spokeshave. I’m drawn to the wooden ones. I would be using it to make spoons or maybe a bowl. What would be the best for me to purchase?
    Thanks for any help you can give me!
    Susan USA

    • Paul Sellers on 4 February 2015 at 1:59 am

      Susan, I think any of the Stanley 151 flat-bottomed spokeshaves is the way to go for a starter. These are well-made and well designed and especially for spoons too, they cut well for that type of curved working. If you want a more expensive one that really works well, Veritas makes a version of it with wooden handles but metal cast body that I like really well. The product number is 05P32.51 and here is the link

    • Susan on 4 February 2015 at 6:09 pm

      Thanks for all your help!
      I love all of your videos!

      • Paul Sellers on 4 February 2015 at 6:36 pm

        You are welcome, and don’t at all let anyone tell you the #151 by Stanley doesn’t work well too. It does. Here is a link to a on using a PS spokeshave blade holder that really works too for when it comes to sharpening.. You will need to hit subscribe to become a free paying member but that’s just a question of giving your email. They will never share your email or bombard you with too many bothersome updates, but this is another resource for you to get the training you want.

  3. Derek Long on 4 February 2015 at 1:14 am

    I looked at those kits on Lee Valley’s website and wondered about them. Now I might pick up a small kit to complement my Stanley 51.

    What kind of wood would you recommend, Paul? Looks like you used Rosewood for the one. What has worked best for you?

    • Paul Sellers on 4 February 2015 at 1:53 am

      See the white wood along the front edge of mine, by the blade? That’s to replace as wear occurs, but it’s also to stop the coloured wood from tranfering to the wood being worked. Dark and oily woods mark the wood so something like curly maple, cherry, lighter woods work best but look for strong and resilient woods, ash, for instance. Traditionally beech was the single most common wood.

      • Derek Long on 4 February 2015 at 12:40 pm

        Much appreciated, Paul! I would have bought Rosewood and had Rosewood smeared all over my projects! I’ve been meaning to visit a local lumber yard that carries beech and ash, and now have more reason to go. So many projects, so little time (and a cold garage!)

  4. Ed on 4 February 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Paul, Would you please clarify and elaborate on your statement, “On the other hand, if blade-sole spokeshaves do go wrong, that is, they hit the rising grain in alignment with the bevel angle of the grain?” Part of the sentence is missing and I’m not picturing what you are saying.

  5. Steve Massie on 4 February 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I have most of the Stanley spokeshaves and like you mentioned they do work great, snad sharpening is easy now thanks to your spokeshave balde sharpener.

    I have never thought much about the LV kit but now will get one, as I do like “wooden planes” etc. to use as well.

    Thanks Paul !

  6. Bill Pflug on 7 February 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Hello Paul,
    Your videos and blogs inspire us to learn what we thought we knew when using power and produced fixtures. Thoroughly enlightening on many levels.
    My question relates to your setting the spokesman blade a bit more proud one side to the other for varying degrees of “grip”. I have tried this and it make the tool far more versatile. I was thinking with a bit of doodling this might work with the Veritas kit as well. Any thoughts?

    Kind Regards,

    Bill Pflug

    • Paul Sellers on 7 February 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Absolutely, I have all of my spokeshaves set that way most of the time. I didn’t invent this, it was done by our woodworking forebears for centuries before PS was born into woodworking.

  7. Bill Pflug on 7 February 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I love self corrections. ‘Hope you can make sense of it. Back to paper and pencil!

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