A Quick Spokeshave Tune Up
Spokeshaves cut exactly like a plane – the critical parts are the blade support in back, the cap iron fit supporting the unbeveled blade edge, and the distance between the edge and the front sole – the opening of the mouth.
Check the blade support in the casting…this 15-dollar Ebay contemporary Stanley 151’s is fine…use Prussian Blue or soot from a smoky lamp to find and flat needle files to take down any high spots. Simply smoke or coat the blade, gently put it in place, and tighten the slotted screw to make the marks.
Using a straightedge, check the sole for flatness…
…and the side of the mouth the blade bears on for straightness.
If filing is required, use single-cut fine pillar files and flat needle files. Keep them clean as you use them.
Mount the blade in a welders vise grip and hone a 25-degree bevel and a 30-degree secondary bevel like with a plane iron. I use Arkansas stones in 4 grades and cutting oil, but cheap wet-or-dry paper cemented to glass or MDF with WD40 works fine, too. 100-600 grit in sequence…the duller the blade, the coarser the starting point.
Note the protractor in the pic. Blade guides won’t work on short spokeshave blades so you have to learn to hone by eye and feel. Simply set your starting angle with the protractor and memorize the feel of it…if you are careful and use a light touch you can feel the bevel on the stone…a bench height belt-buckle high facilitates elbow movement that keeps the bevel flat without rocker…but if you get some rocker in the bevel, it’s no biggie…just move on to your more-important secondary bevel and fix it next time you hone.
Flatten the blade back using the same 4 grades of stone or paper. On a blade that has never been flattened, do this before you hone your bevels, and do it thoroughly.
Strop well on leather strap or a buffing wheel using Knifemaker’s Green Rouge