Learn how to choose and use these versatile shaping tools.
By James Mursell
As a Windsor chairmaker and spokeshave maker, I use a spokeshave more than any other tool. I have three: two straight shaves (large and small) and, for hollowing wood, the curved specialty shave called a travisher.
My introduction to spokeshaves came at school where we had traditional wooden shaves with the blades held in place by friction. When they were sharp and set correctly they were great, but because they were old and well-used, the tangs often slipped in the body. That resulted in a sometimes unexpectedly thicker or finer shaving – not an endearing feature.
I’ve spoken with many people at woodworking shows, and I am amazed by how many still have their grandfathers’ spokeshaves, but rarely use them because of the same problems I suffered during my training. This is a shame because spokeshaves are remarkably versatile tools for shaping wood.
Article: Read Christopher Schwarz’s article on “Metal-bodied Spokeshaves.”
Web site: Visit James Mursell’s web site to find out about his spokeshaves and other tools, and details about his chairs and classes.
Tool: Find out more about the Lie-Nielsen Boggs spokeshave.
Book: Get James Mursell’s book, “Windsor Chairmaking.”
In Our Store: “Woodworking in Action” Volume 2, Volume 4 and Volume 6 feature Windsor chairmaker David Wright. Read more