Making a Wooden Spokeshave: Info Page

Wooden Spokeshave 1

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Wooden spokeshaves are very functional for all manner of shaping and refining of surfaces. Paul has developed a wooden spokeshave with full adjustment that can made using basic tools and materials.


Wooden spokeshaves are very functional for all manner of shaping and refining of surfaces. Paul has developed a wooden spokeshave with full adjustment that can made using basic tools and materials.

For a simplified body, see the video on YouTube. The section on making the blade is identical.

Cutting List

O1 Steel 4” x ¾” x ⅛” or 102 x 19 x 3 mm
Wood: 11” x 1 ⅝” x ⁷⁄₈” or 280 x 40 x 19 mm
4 Screws: 3.5 x 20mm = 6 x 3/4″

Wood Selection

Any wood can work, but we recommend a dense grain hardwood, such as:
Beech, ash, cherry, maple and boxwood.
Be careful with any darker grained woods as they may leave a mark.
Beech and boxwood were the woods most commonly used.

The tools you will need are:

  • Pencil
  • Tape or ruler
  • Square
  • Knife
  • 10” flat file
  • Rasp
  • 1⁄2” & 3⁄8” (12mm & 20mm) chisel
  • Spokeshave (flat)
  • Coping saw
  • Tenon saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Card scraper
  • Drill driver or brace
  • 3⁄8” (10mm) bit (Forstner or bradpoint)
  • Centre punch for steel
  • Bits 3mm, 4mm (possibly bigger)
  • Countersink bit
  • Bradawl or square awl
  • Pliers
Paul's Spokeshave
Paul's Spokeshave


  1. jimmy stoba on 21 July 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Oh the irony, of needing a spokeshave to make a spokeshave. 🙂

  2. Scott LaBarge on 21 July 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Will episode 2 be available soon?

  3. Richard Gaal on 21 July 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Make two. Shape one with the other

    • Alan on 27 July 2017 at 12:12 am

      I still need a mallet – to chisel the mortice in the Oak Mallet project.

      • Taryn on 29 July 2017 at 5:39 pm

        I had the same problem. So I made a three-piece laminated oak mallet in order to be able to make Sellers’ oak mallet. Still haven’t gotten around to it yet …

  4. Feras Kanana on 22 July 2017 at 9:39 am

    Excellent! Thank you for this great project Paul

  5. Larry Geib on 27 July 2017 at 1:59 am

    Use a rock.

    The main thing is to hit ‘re done.

  6. JohnStaplegrove on 28 July 2017 at 11:26 am

    Is there another name for the O1 steel?

    I have a retired blacksmith friend who says he can’t find O1 steel in his reference books, not English nor USA and I am no use saying it is O1 steel “Paul says it is so it is”.

    Am looking forward to having a go, when our winter frosts are past; Southern hemisphere here.


    • Ed on 28 July 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Oil-hardening steel. Oil-quenched steel. You can find some info in Wikipedia ( ) . Look for the section, “oil-hardening: the O-series.” Is your friend looking up Oh-one rather than zero-one?

    • wrstew on 4 August 2017 at 8:20 pm

      John, or any other folks who are looking for O1 in the States- check McMaster Carr or any knife making suppler and you’ll see what you need. Blacksmiths who do reproduction work normally use wrought iron if and when they can find old stock, as much difference as between hard maple or ash and pine or similar soft wood.

      • wrstew on 4 August 2017 at 8:25 pm

        Upon second look at original post, don’t know where in southern hemisphere you are located, but metal suppliers or knife maker suppliers are likely to have it.

    • Jan Braun on 22 December 2017 at 9:16 am

      Hello all,

      as said before, “O1” is the expression used in english speaking countries. It is a tool steel, that has around 0.9 % Carbon.

      The german speaking will use a C45 similar tool steel alloy.

      Speaking of the intended usage for this blade: any kind of steel, that can be hardened, will work sufficiently in wood. The rule of thumb (in simple words) is, the harder you make your blade, the longer it will stay sharp. On the other hand: the harder it is, the more brittle it will get, the more likely it will break. Therefore, in our case, a somewhat harder state suit us fine.

      Due to its shape, this blade is easy to sharpen, therefore it won’t take a long time, to maintain the sharpness of this tool.

      If your blacksmith still can’t find a steel, ask him to use an old coil spring from a salvaged car or similar. That works very well and can be heat treated and hardened very easy by the smith. This material will cost your near to nothing. 🙂


      • Jan Braun on 22 December 2017 at 9:20 am

        I forgot the international identification numbers. O1 should be similar to 1.2510. If you can obtain, you can also use 1.2842 (O2, 90MnCrV8) or 1.1730 (C45).

        Merry Christmas


  7. Marc Mitsialis on 28 July 2017 at 10:52 pm


    I have some Oak recovered from some pallets I am recycling. Is Oak a suitable wood for making a spokeshave? I do not see it mentioned.

    I plan to make one, which I intend using to make some cutlery with some Black Wattle I got from a neighbour who removed a tree from their garden. I have about eight logs approximately 20/30cm in diameter and about 60/80cm long. Enough for a number of spoons, ladles and salad servers.


    • stevewales on 29 July 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Marc,

      Oak’s high Tannin content means that it reacts with Steel to produce a Black Staining effect in the wood ,

      • stevewales on 29 July 2017 at 8:35 pm

        (Quite often any Screws used in a piece would have been made of Brass because of this – I’m not sure if the ‘Yellow’ coating on some steel woodscrews is an effective barrier)

  8. aeichorn on 29 July 2017 at 12:15 am

    I know its pretty straight forward however I keep looking for one of Paul’s wonderful project sketches of the spokeshave.

  9. Alan Mitchell on 4 August 2017 at 1:08 am

    The tool steel just arrived and I am anxious to get started on this project. I’m also thinking this would be a great start for a travisher, but I’m curious if there are any suggestions about shaping the steel.

  10. hobienick on 9 August 2017 at 2:35 am

    Amazon has it for a reasonable price too. I think it is Starrett and ground to the proper thickness as well.

  11. fedor Avid on 16 October 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Excellent work as always Mr Sellers, thank you for taking the time to present it.
    I have a question if I may ask, about the blade holding/adjusting arrangement:
    Does the blade stays flat and level after it is screwed tide in place, or it is arched in the mid section?
    As the setting screws pushing the blade outwards while the retaining screws pulling the blade’s ends inwards, bending forces applied to the blade.
    I suppose that after the steel is hardened it wouldn’t flex that much, but I run a test with a 3mm blade before hardening it and it was deflecting when screwed in place (even when lightly screwed).

    Best regards, and thank you for your inspirational work

  12. Philip Adams on 17 October 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Hello Fedor,
    There will a little flex in the blade, but not enough to significantly impact the use of the spokeshave once hardened. That is what we found at least.
    Thanks, Phil

    • fedor Avid on 20 October 2017 at 9:51 am

      Thank you for prompt the reply
      I already quench the blade and flex is significantly reduced
      Best regards.

      • fedor Avid on 30 October 2017 at 3:22 pm

        Small update on the subject
        I tried to copy the Veritas design, where the setting screw is hollowed and coaxial with the retaining screw.
        For the setting screws I used the stems of bicycle inner tube valves, they worked fine. I went with Dunlop (Woods) valves as I had a few old tubes, I am sure the French valves (Presta) would work as well since they also are threaded all the way.
        For the Dunlops I drill a 7mm hole and use the valve’s stem to tap the wood.
        For the retaining screws I used M4 with nuts.
        The setup works fine as long as the holes are precisely drilled perpendicular to the blade.

  13. brian moody on 27 November 2017 at 10:32 pm

    I am just wondering, but I made a spoke shave this weekends, and my shave looks much thicker than yours. When reviewing the screws, at 3/4 in, the wood at 11” x 1 ⅝” x 1 3/16” would be way to thick. I elected to reduce the wood stock to about 1 in (might have been closer to 3/4). This seamed to work well. It gave me 1 in less 1/8 for the steel, or 7/8ths need for the screw to press on the blade to make it adjustable. So, I am wondering if the dimensions for the wood were incorrect?



    • Philip Adams on 3 January 2018 at 11:32 am

      Hello Brian, just re-reviewed it as it was pointed out that it should be ¹³⁄₁₆” (or 21mm) rather than 1 ³⁄₁₆”, so have corrected in the project video and will get it changed in video. Thanks for the heads up.

      • brian moody on 12 January 2018 at 9:03 pm

        Thanks Philip. Yes, 13/16ths would make a difference. Thank you for making the change. I will probably make this tool again because I messed a few things up (not sure how both my dad and I did not notice the error when measuring), so the corrected directions will help.



  14. Jarno Mattila on 13 January 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Hello, I was wondering if I was making a round bottom version would the measures be good for that also or should I change something?

    • Izzy Berger on 14 January 2019 at 3:16 pm


      Paul says no, I think it’s fine to use the same size material, the only difference is on wooden spokeshaves is we generally only round the fore edge and to the whole sole as with metal ones.

      Kind Regards,

      • Jarno Mattila on 15 January 2019 at 8:38 am

        Ok, so I do everything the same except round only the fore edge. Does Paul have any recommendation for the distance down from the blade to start the round over and/ or radius?

        • Jarno Mattila on 21 January 2019 at 4:00 pm

          How about the last question?

        • Izzy Berger on 22 January 2019 at 4:00 pm

          Hi Jarno,

          Paul says no, if you just make a smallish radius then try it and then you can increase the size of the radius as you feel after the appropriateness as to the radius you are working with.

          Kind Regards,

          • Jarno Mattila on 22 January 2019 at 4:09 pm

            Ok, thank you. I will try it.

  15. qball on 27 January 2019 at 2:48 am

    Hi, I made one of these last weekend and was having trouble getting it tuned properly. The spokeshave will cut, but I get chatter which leads to a less than acceptable finished surface. I used some oil from my rag in a can which helped, but didn’t eliminate the chatter altogether. I’m wondering if the angle of the champfer on the spokeshave body is too steep, or if the bevel angle on the blade itself is too steep. The bevel angle on the blade is about 30 degrees and the champfer angle on the spokeshave body is about 10 degrees.

    Best wishes,


    • Izzy Berger on 30 January 2019 at 8:56 am

      Hi Jayson,

      Thank you for getting in touch.

      Paul thinks you may be taking too much off, try with almost a zero cut on one side of the blade and set the other side to perhaps half a mm and work in between the two extremes and see how this affects the cut.

      Kind Regards,

  16. Alec Cicciarella on 22 January 2020 at 10:26 pm

    How would you modify the design for a round bottom for use on convex and concave curves? is this even possible? What if you don’t have a square awl or a coping saw but have a bandsaw?

    • Izzy Berger on 24 January 2020 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Alec,

      Paul says:
      Wooden spokeshaves, unlike metal ones, have a flat sole as per the original but the leading edge, the part in front of the cutting iron, is rounded which means you can tilt the spokeshave to any appropriate curve.

      Kind Regards,

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