Quick Links:

 If you are a beginner, the following links from our beginner site, Common Woodworking, may be useful to you:

My spokeshave doesn’t work. Can you help?

Sometimes they are loaded with the bevel up which won’t work properly. Also see the entry below on sharpening spokeshaves. Is it a flat bottom or round bottom spokeshave as it can be hard to get a clean cut with a round bottom spokeshave? It also depends on the tightness of the arc you are trying to work as tight curves are difficult even with a round bottom spokeshave. Sometimes angling the spokeshave so you get a skew cut gets a better result, as well as setting it on a narrow piece of waste wood first to adjust the set.

Also check that the angle of the bevel has not become too steep. Sometimes they can end up with the heel of the blade hitting the wood before the edge.

How do you sharpen a spokeshave?

You can do it either freehand:

Or with a guide, which makes it easier to keep the angle constant:

Setting Up and Sharpening a Traditional Wooden Spokeshave

What angle of presentation does the spokeshave have?

How do I restore/set up my spokeshave?

What’s the difference between bevel up & bevel down spokeshaves?

Should I get a round bottom spokeshave?

It is quite hard to get an even smooth cut with a round bottom spokeshave. They are occasionally useful on a tight angle curve, but even then it is hard to get a clean shaving:

Paul’s comments on round bottom spokeshaves:

Can you shave an arc with a flat bottomed spokeshave?

The flat bottom spokeshave can indeed cut an inside curve due to the short sole. It is the one we use on most arches in table or chair aprons and the like. When you get tighter curves, it is no longer possible to use it. It is hard to mention a specific radius.