Greetings! I’m looking for a good spokeshave, and while Amazon is usually a somewhat reliable source for reviews I am seeing a number of spokeshaves that look remarkably alike – almost as if they were made in the same factory in China – sold under different names with amazingly desperate reviews…hmmm. Seems like a LOT of them, even highly rated ones, require extensive reworking to be made usable.
What are your hands-on experiences, and which ones do you like? Are there any with accurate adjustments? (I am in the US, and prefer buying from non-Amazon outlets).
A few years back I bought a Stanley spokeshave that had a missing screw. Thought well that screw should be easy to replace. I couldn’t figure out what the proper thread size was. Took it to a good machine shop. They said it was a 8-32. An 8-32 will only go part way into the threaded hole.
Come to find out that on old Stanley tools like that. Probably make be Henry Ford and the auto industry got into mass production on a huge scale, companies like Stanley, Record and others probably had their own standard thread sizes. They didn’t care or worry about matching a standard thread size. So be careful about buying old tools that have a screw or nut missing. Exact fit replacements may be hard to find.
That said there is a Stanley 151 on ebay right now for under $10 plus $5 shipping. Here is the listing. It is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Bid ends in 6 days. Most of my oldie-but-goodie tools I got on ebay.
Yeah, one can spend as much on a part or having a machinist make one odd-ball, extinct thread fastener as one did on the entire tool!
I love the idea of antique tools; I have a Stanley 45 and a couple of others, but…man, the antique woodworking tool market is just getting silly. I can see highly-sought after tools – prime year Stanley #4s, etc., being pricey but the rampant speculation is ridiculous. I spent months watching for a reasonably priced hand router before giving up and buying a Veritas router for about the same price as some ratty-looking Stanley 71s were going for.
Between the popularity of ‘Picker’ shows on TV, (“Vintage hand tools fetch top dollar, and this barn was just full of them!”) and lifestyle woodworking sites, like Paul’s, the market is out of control. And with high profit margins and ‘investing’ come questionable practices. I’ve gotten bit once or twice, and I have heard horror stories – superglued cracks covered up with paint on ‘restored’ items, stripped expensive-to-replace or fix archaic screws and threads, etc.. I’m increasingly leery of the used market in vintage tools. Some people don’t even know what the item is, one listing called a Stanley 151 a “wood shaver”(!). Even in the listing you posted (I know you were just being helpful) the poster called it a 151 though it is actually a 51 – I like to think that was accidental, but these days one can’t really know.
When the selling price for a rusty old 151 far exceeds the price of, say, a very nice, high-quality, brand new Wood River spokeshave, then it’s time to buy a nice new tool that will last me lifetime and do the work I need it to do.
Sorry for the rant 🙂
- This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Curtis Enlow.
Hi Curtis and Skeeball
You are both absolutely right.
I bought 2 sweetheart spokeshaves and a wooden spokeshave for the equivilent of 25 dollars. I bought a one with the red cap iron for about the same for a friend.
The older spokeshaves without the red cap are fiely cast, using little metal, very good well used tools. The newer one was rough, heavy and unused. It needed quite a bit of fettling to get it going properly.
If I were to repeated the exercise, I would buy a black and grey spoke shave for my friend. Simply because its too dificult to tell a genuine new Stanley (with the red cap) from a knock of online. I’ll often pay much more for a tool at a market because I have it in hand before buying.
That said, if you need the tool immediatly, its well worth paying for a new tool from a reliable source.
In short I would get a complete grey and black one online if I had time, and a new one if I didn’t.
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