Wooden Spokeshave: Sharpening

Wooden Spokeshave Sharpening

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Paul demonstrates his simple method for sharpening wooden spokeshaves that can also be used to sharpen all manner of tools. It gives you a consistent bevel that can be polished out to give you a super sharp edge.


  1. Bob Groh on 18 September 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Once again, a thought provoking bit of information. Simplicity to achieve a goal. Love it and I’m heading out to the shop to try it out.

  2. António on 18 September 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Thank You WWMC!

  3. Ed on 18 September 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I’d like to try this on a drawknife but wonder if a drawknife needs a cambered bevel for bevel down work, which I won’t get from this.

    • jjhayes84 on 20 September 2015 at 7:11 pm

      I too would like to know if this is how Paul recommends sharpening a drawknife.

    • ballinger on 22 September 2015 at 3:14 pm

      If you’re moving the abrasive in a circular motion would that not create a camber as its changing the pitch to a steeper angle as your hand moves towards the vice and then drops off as you move away from it again?

      • Craig on 22 September 2015 at 6:55 pm

        Yes, you would create a very slight convex camber just like chisels or plane blades, but if you register the paddle as Paul shows, it wouldn’t be very much.

      • tomleg on 24 April 2016 at 6:22 pm

        Michael, think of it like a high school trigonometry exercise. I remember lots of problems involving ladders that change their base, and that’s the kind of problem this is.

        The EZE_Lap hone is 6 inches long, but we’re using the middle of the abrasive, so drop an inch, it’s 5 inches. The hone is the hypotenuse of the triangle.

        We know the angle at the bas is 25 degrees. So the distance from where the hone touches the table to the front edge of the vise, is hypotenuse * cosine (25). or 5 * cos(25) = 5 * 0.906 = 4.5 inches

        If you come in a quarter of an inch, so the base is 4.35 inches, the angle is about 32 degrees, while it you move out a quarter inch, the angle is 18 degrees. But in fact I’d say he’s moving even less that a quarter inch each way.

  4. bsddude on 18 September 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Another great tool tip. When can we see the Paul Sellers method for sharping a dedicated cross-cut saw. My rip saws are really sweet now but I would like to do better on my dedicated panel and back saw.

    • Philip Adams on 6 October 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Hello, we hope to do a video on cross cut sharpening soon, but can’t give you a eta at the moment, sorry.

  5. Jakob Hovman on 18 September 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Thank You for these videos…!
    It’s great to see Paul working…
    and explaning…!

    This is a great tip…!

    As a metal worker…
    you are used…
    to move the file…
    and I use this method …
    also for knives and chisels…
    specially when I’m out and about.

    Even when I’m on a ladder…
    I use the step…
    as the support block…
    and the diamond paddle…
    will show…
    where it is cutting.

    When in doubt…
    I just change the direction…
    take a few strokes…
    and look…
    for the new markings.

    Maybe I should ad…
    a speedmarker…
    to my pockets…!

    Greetings to all…Jakob.

  6. knightlylad on 18 September 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Thank for the tips.

  7. Marcio André Martins Teixeira on 19 September 2015 at 1:11 am

    Sou brasileiro e não entendo a língua inglesa. Mas as aulas do Mestre Paul Sellers são tão claras, que me ensinam muito. Muito obrigado!
    Marcio André.

    • Jim Allen on 19 September 2015 at 1:54 am

      Oi Marcio,
      Fico feliz que você está gostando das aulas. Eu me apreciá-los muito. Eu não falo Português, mas eu possa lê-lo um pouco e eu espero que eu possa escrever o suficiente para ser compreendido. Se eu jamais pode ajudá-lo com a tradução para o Português enviar-me uma mensagem e eu vou tentar ajudar.
      –Jim (Tiago)

      • Marcio André Martins Teixeira on 19 September 2015 at 2:15 am

        Prezado Tiago;
        Que bom saber que tenho amigos que entendam minha lingua. Trabalho com entalhe em madeira(carving) e gosto muito de ferramentas manuais. Da maneira que Mestre Paul ensina, fazendo, não resta nenhuma dúvida. Um grande abraço e fiqu com Deus.

        • jude on 19 September 2015 at 6:46 pm

          Você pode me enviar uma mensagem demasiado se você gosta. Eu aprendi alguma Português há alguns anos atrás.

    • Craig on 19 September 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Google translate:
      I am Brazilian and do not understand English. But the lessons of the Master Paul Sellers are so clear , they teach me a lot. Thank you!

  8. adrian on 19 September 2015 at 2:13 am

    Great tip , thanks again for making real woodworking dead simple.

  9. muhammadkm on 19 September 2015 at 2:13 am

    Thank you master Paul
    God bless you.
    Every video helps a lot.

    I just bought your book;
    Woodworking wood 1&2

    It’s so amazingly good
    One of the best books I have bought in my life.
    Thanks again, love your philosophy and techniques.
    I am so grateful for all the knowledge.

  10. Christopher on 19 September 2015 at 4:11 am

    Once again another frustrating task made simple, Well I thought. I couldn’t wait to get to the shop today to try out Paul’s Method. I had bought five of the older wooden spokeshaves . Three of them had never been used it appeared but One thing I noticed and was hesitant to sharpen was that two of mine one Marples and one tyzack and sons have a slight convex across the width , from one post to the next. Are all of these type shaves like that because I’m scared that a flat paddle will remove this slight concave. Not toe to heel I know that is suppose to remain I’m speaking of side to side. Shouldn’t I be using a round dowel with abrasives on it instead of a flat paddle file. I have the EZlap one from extra course to super fine Which work so much better than the DMT ones.
    These Shaves I have are so nice I do not want to destroy them which is real easy for me to do so I’m hoping someone can help me figure this out I really would love to use them. How do you post a picture here? I can show what I’m talking about. Thanks

    • ballinger on 21 September 2015 at 9:05 am

      Hi Chris I think you can post images in the forum section of the site under tools and maintenance. Best of luck with the spokeshaves – I’m sure you’ll have them up and running in no time.

  11. robert lindh on 19 September 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Great tip….Thanks Paul.

  12. Klaus Schmidt-Schykowski on 20 September 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all the inspiration got with and by your video’s. How to do things and participate from experience of you, Paul, is really challenging.
    I had been knowing just wooden planes and I didn’t find a good way to trimm the kutting knife into the right position. Just two years ago a meet a cabinet maker in central Europe having some metal planes. Now I am able to plane boards and build some simple furniture mainly by metal plane and now I found a way to trim also wooden planes.

    Looking forward to see more videos. Enjoy to learn from you. It will be also a great pleasure for me.

  13. Ron Berlier on 21 September 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Paul – Very helpful tip and certainly a simple process for sharpening spoke shave blades. Thank you for taking the time to make the video and share this information. I too, would like to see a process for sharpening a curved draw knife – it really frustrates me a great deal. Perhaps this process with a bit of modification would work for a draw knife?

  14. rich olsen on 22 September 2015 at 12:01 am

    Wonderfully simple and clever. Just the type of info that brought me here in the first place and important to me since I just bought my first spoke shave. Thanks so much Paul!

  15. Wesley on 2 October 2015 at 6:31 pm

    This method is extremely versatile. I used it today to fix an expensive pair of scissors.


  16. Ed Williams on 4 October 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Could you use this method to sharpen a router blade? I have had great difficulty in sharpening the blades that came with my old second hand record/stanley. The blade could be held against the wood and dropped to the required angle for the underside and also held in a recessed board (liken to a larger turn button profile) to keep the blade perpendicular and the angle consistent for the uppermost side ?
    Your wise thoughts please Paul or a simpler method if one exists
    loving the truely basic approach to tool maintenance that allows someone like me to work with the tools at their best.
    Finallt a complete stripdown and reassemble of a stanley plane with your golden tips on why the components are set as they are would really help us all.

    Best Regards

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