Making a Wooden Spokeshave: Episode 2

Wooden Spokeshave EP2 Keyframe

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The shaping proper starts with the coves. They are drilled for an even radius, then Paul saws down the line. Then the handles are refined and shaped using a spokeshave, rasp, plane and scraper. Then the adjuster can be fitted and the blade sharpened ready for use before the finish is applied.


  1. António on 28 July 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Thank You WWMC Team!

  2. David Marienau on 28 July 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Really enjoyed watching the spokeshave video. I`ve added it to my list of projects to do. I especially enjoy how Paul takes the time to show how the tool is sharpened and set up to cut. Thanks

  3. bpower on 28 July 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Love this small project. Can’t wait to get back home and make one of these. It will go well with my other tools. 🙂

  4. Gary Mercer on 28 July 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I completed all the steps from your first video, and waited for the second video with much anticipation. Now that I ‘e seen the second video, I am eager to complete my wooden spoke shave! Your way of teaching… “how To”… is so relaxed, it has given me confidence to try many of the procedures you have taught. I am now at a point in my woodworking hobby where I prefer using hand tools, especially ones I have made. I personally would like to thank you for all that you have taught me. Gary.

  5. Erik Joven on 28 July 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Awesome video. And that Shellac really looks amazing on that piece of beech. Such a nice deep rich color.

  6. jakegevorgian on 28 July 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks Paul

  7. Augusto Campos on 28 July 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I there from Portugal,
    Very nice video, and will go to the TODO list 😀

    In Portugal is no easy to find shellac, can I finish with Linseed oil?

    • Alan on 28 July 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Augusto,
      Yes, Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) would be fine.
      You don’t need PURE Shellac, or Shellac Flakes etc.
      Shellac is a component in products sold as ‘French Polish’ or ‘Button Polish’.
      Most Varnishes would look good too. Just finish with Beeswax.
      Alan (UK)

    • Larry Geib on 29 July 2017 at 7:18 pm


      It should be available premixed as goma laca in paint stores. A a dewaxed version is sold as sanding sealer.
      You’ll know you have the right stuff if the solvent is alcohol.

      In Lisbon or by mail you can get the flake form here:

  8. caerlynnfibers on 28 July 2017 at 5:51 pm

    wonderful project and so essential , too. This made my day for some month ahead !!!!

    Please tell us, Paul : how about curved soles ? I imagine you would give it a good hammer blow whilst the iron reposes on it’s extremities. Is that right? and are curved sole useful anyway?

    Thanks anyway !!!

    • Philip Adams on 7 August 2017 at 10:52 am

      We don’t often use curved spokeshaves, so won’t be covering how to make one.
      Best, Phil

  9. Kathleen Basiewicz on 28 July 2017 at 7:10 pm

    I thought that he said it was furniture wax. Apparently furniture paste wax. I can’t believe that I watched Paul use a power tool. LOL.

    • Larry Geib on 28 July 2017 at 11:42 pm

      “I can’t believe that I watched Paul use a power tool. LOL.”

      Still cordless….

  10. Simon Mac on 28 July 2017 at 7:31 pm

    A born teacher. No doubt about it.

  11. tomleg on 28 July 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Have you considered using an insert nut as the depth adjustment?,43576,61994,44203

    • ballinger on 30 July 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Yeah I was thinking of using threaded inserts. I figured Paul used screws because they are readily available and cheap making it accessible to everyone.

    • jakegevorgian on 12 August 2017 at 5:30 am

      I think that the wooden threads have much better tightness to them than the threaded nut insert type. Probably this can be used…however I think adjustment will be off quite often.

  12. Adams.rt on 28 July 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Wonderful work, Paul. I can’t wait to get one (or two or three) completed for my own shop.

  13. Wilson Bailey on 28 July 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Awesome video! Always peaceful watching and listening to him talk us through it.
    Why does Paul often finish his tools with shellac instead of oil? Is it just a personal preference?

    • Philip Adams on 7 August 2017 at 10:53 am

      It is indeed personal preference, as well as avoiding having to carefully dispose of rags that are prone to spontaneously combusting.

  14. Thomas Angle on 28 July 2017 at 10:16 pm

    I will have to make at least one of these. As always, a very well made and produced video.

  15. Gary Mercer on 28 July 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I just completed my spoke shave. I would like to say “it works awesome! It actually works better than the Stanley I used to shape it. I whole heartedly suggest this project. It was fun to make and will be funner to use. Thanks Paul.
    Gary Mercer.

  16. Tom on 29 July 2017 at 1:47 am

    Outstanding video, thank you.

  17. Marcelo De Simone on 29 July 2017 at 2:26 am

    Excellent job mr. Sellers. Another wonder born of their hands

  18. jakegevorgian on 29 July 2017 at 5:28 am

    This video is especially very helpful for those who are watching the latest episodes of the laptop desk project. It’s a must see project, by the way…

  19. Maurice Keeley on 29 July 2017 at 8:24 am

    Thank you for the excellent video Paul. I love making handtools for wood working and this is one design I particularly like, especially the micro adjustment of the blade.
    I have a number of wooden spokeshaves made in boxwood and beech, all of which are such a joy to use. I also have a couple with the cast iron bodies which are not so pleasureable.
    I have difficulty understanding why tool makers like Stanley transitioned to making them from cast iron. They’re so clumsy and unrefined, even feel brutal in their use compared with the light finely crafted wooden devices I have.
    A great project for every woodworker to enjoy.

  20. David B on 29 July 2017 at 1:21 pm

    What a great project! Thanks Paul!

  21. Farred on 29 July 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I think this has to be one of the most simple of all woodworking tools, which may be why I have the least skill with it. The more simple=more skilled required. Paul makes it look easy.

  22. David Brooks on 30 July 2017 at 12:03 am

    thanks for another great video. I am anxious to give this one a try.

  23. Larry Parker on 30 July 2017 at 12:06 am

    Thank you!

  24. Carole Burns on 30 July 2017 at 6:42 am

    Thank you very much, what a honour to be able to watch this

  25. K O on 30 July 2017 at 2:00 pm

    What a beautiful video and lovely spokeshave. I found this so calming to watch and yet excited to try myself. What a wonderful legacy to give to the world. Thank you 🙂

  26. Michael Ostrander on 30 July 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Once again just a perfect lesson. Just the length and simple to follow. I have 4 or 5 shaves already so I don’t see me making this one so but it was still very informative as to lay-out and fitting. I’ve got and use bothe steel and wood shaves. Don’t really get the whole elegant to use thing. They all work well if sharp and set up properly.

  27. Stan Peters on 30 July 2017 at 10:20 pm

    As always, a throughly enjoyable video to watch. Always seem to learn something from your videos. Thanks.

  28. kjellhar on 1 August 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Anyone like to comment on the different types of wood suitable for this. At the moment I have Ash, Oak, Cherry, Walnut and Pine lying around.

    I would think ash or oak would do as they are both hard and tough wood.

    • Sven-Olof Jansson on 2 August 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Hej Kjell,

      If you are OK with the response from a dabbler, I would say it’s a just question with a very complicated answer.

      Assuming you are in Norway, the ranking would be Ash > Walnut > Oak > Cherry, with pine as a dark horse. If, on the other hand, you are located in North America, it will be Ash > Walnut/Oak > Cherry, with pine as a more remote dark horse.

      Basically, what this spokeshave calls for is wood that does not flex under load, and does not break when the load point of flexing is reached. The hardness, i.e. the force necessary to impact/dent the wood, is not that critical. Thus, Scandinavian Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) would the first choice, if that’s what you have available, because it grows so slowly. The opposite applies for the four hardwoods: the faster they grow the less elasticity, with variations explained by the nature of their pores. Hence, albeit that winters can be very cold, as the growth period is longer in much of North America (NY on the same latitude as Naples), an American white Oak is more resistant to flexing than an European, even though the latter might be harder. A slow-grown long-leaf pine (Pinus palustris [very rare, I think]) will surpass all the discussed ones. Only European beech would be better.

      Finally and probably most important, the wood should have straight grain along all four sides (faces and long edges). Cross running grain will break much more easily, with the associated risk of injury.


      • Dennis Aspö on 3 August 2017 at 7:42 am

        I wonder how silver birch would fare here, or maybe rowan (rönnträ). Both are known to be good for tool handles traditionally.

        Seems spokeshaves are put under similar stresses as tool and axe handles. Working from that logic, maybe hickory would be a good choice for a spokeshave?

        I suppose pine is suitable but I just wouldn’t want a tool made from one, don’t get me wrong I do 99% of my work in pine and fir, but I get tired of it, and it’s not as pleasant to work with as hardwood IMO.

        I currently have a few small pieces of walnut, oak and ash in my workshop, I believe I will try ash for my first wooden spokeshave.

        • Sven-Olof Jansson on 3 August 2017 at 5:15 pm

          Handles in general should flex before they break, I suppose. That would make rowan useful, and silver birch even more so. There might be a snag though: a spokeshave glides along a surface. I have no idea if that’s relevant given that it’s such a narrow tool, but I suspect that the higher smoothness of lignum vitae (pockenholz) made it preferable above hickory for plane making.

          There are videos on making bench planes from black walnut, so the alternatives are probably many, with beech perhaps most out of tradition?

          • kjellhar on 4 August 2017 at 11:26 pm

            I do live in Norway Sven-Olof, but most of the hardwood sold for furniture is imported, so all the mentioned wood types are from the USA.

            As you mention in your reply, the breaking strength is probably best for and worst for cherry (leaving pine out of it). I was also thinking a bit along the line of how the wood wears when you rub it against a workpiece a few years.

            Anyway, it’s not that big project, and any failures only accelerates learning. I’ll probably try with the ash. Or maybe I can find a big enough log og birch in the wood shed.

  29. Sven-Olof Jansson on 5 August 2017 at 7:32 pm

    What an absolutely brilliant idea! Monday morning I will be off to the woodshed for some nice split birch; not to make a spokeshave (Veritas is far better than me at that), but for a nice box.


  30. DICK SARGENT on 8 August 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Love your videos and the way the skill of a craftsman of fifty years shows through.
    I’ve been watching you for about two years now and would like to make a comment about your description while heat treating. Please don’t take this as a criticism, but as a point of technical correction.
    Let me preface this with the statement that I’ve been a professional blacksmith for as long as you’ve been working wood.
    In a couple of your videos when you are heat treating tool steel you first harden the piece and then mention that you are going to “anneal” it or that it could be annealed.The process of annealing is to heat the piece of steel above the critical temperature or “nonmagnetic” and allow it to cool slowly. This process ( for most steels ) brings the steel to it’s softest hardness possible. The term you should be using is “temper”.
    To Temper a steel is to draw some of the harness out of the fully hardened steel by heating to a predetermined temperature, say 300* F and stop at that point. This removes some of the brittleness of the hardening process but still allows the steal to retain some other property’s like edge retention for a cutting tool or elasticity for say a spring.
    I only mention this because a student or viewer of your videos who might delve further into the heat treating process on the web or the library might get confused when trying to follow your processes as you describe them.

    Yours Helpfully intended,
    Dick Sargent

    • Philip Adams on 10 August 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Hello Dick,
      Thank you very much for your clarification, it is very helpful. It’s one of those where the wrong term sometimes get’s said in the heat of the moment, and it should have been referred to as tempering as you say.
      Many thanks, Phil

    • David B on 12 August 2017 at 10:52 am

      Thank you! I’ve been trying to understand the differences and this response makes everything much clearer!

  31. MAURINE HANSEN on 9 August 2017 at 8:42 pm

    I enjoy your presentation it is so thorough and understandable, and through it I learned the care and usage of this tool. Thank you

  32. michael on 6 November 2018 at 7:06 am

    I did the spokeshave! Just without adjusters.
    I want to make the cam clamps also but I don’t have 1/8” chisel to chop the recess for the bar can I use the stock I have left from making the spokeshave blade to make a 1/8” chisel? Thanks.

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