Spokeshave Sharpening

As I try to learn how to use shaves, both drawknives and spokeshaves, I had to come up with a way to sharpen spokeshave blades. They are small. To totally freehand the blade on waterstones was a tricky proposition.


I had a vintage unit that I had acquired twenty five years ago...a Reese's Piece...that is a Stanley #63 spokeshave.


This model is a lightweight convex sole spokeshave.

It has an iron that is 1 3/4 wide.


Over the years it had been abused in use and in sharpening. The mouth clearly had broken at some point and the mend was a type of welding and then sanding. The mouth is very irregular and I would never believe that the unit would be a finely tuned tool. However, it will be great as the "crash test dummy" for my learning curve process.





So, my first spokeshave to sharpen was a vintage Stanley Model # 42.



Here you can see the damage that occured in the frog area. The fix was less that perfect.

The mouth is fixed so the only available adjustment is to move the blade in the mouth aperture.

Image shows how badly the mouth was damaged.

Because of this damage this spokeshave, at best, will only be used to rough out stock.

But I still need to put a sharp cutting edge on the blade so that I can learn how to sharpen and tune this unit.

I had to find a way to control the blade while I flatten the back.

As soon as the blade was placed on the waterstone the suction made it very difficult to work with.

It was just too small to effectively manipulate.

So I decided to make a holder to provide more control.

I started with a piece of oak...put in a couple of shallow 1/2 inch holes.


Installed rare earh magnets into hole.

My magnet-fiend brother, Tom, had given these to me.




These magnets were positioned so that they would effectively hold onto the spokeshave blade.

Here you see the backside of the blade. This needs to be held against the waterstone to be flattened.

I used the holder to help me flatten the back of the blade on waterstones of 1000 and 8000 grit.

Here I am making a slurry with a Nagura stone on a 8000 grit stone to prepare to do the "Charlesworth Ruler Trick or CRTrick".



The CRTrick uses a ruler on the stone to change the angle so that a micro-bevel is polished on the back side of the edge.

The holder really helped in this process...although the tips of my index fingers are holding the blade to the stone, my thumbs are pushing with the back edge of the holder.

This allowed greater control in all planes and in particular, it was easier to apply consistent downward pressure.

The blade is so short that I thought I would have to create some kind of holder to try to "freehand" the front bevel.

But it turned out that I was able to get the blade centered into the Richard Kell #2LGE honing guide.

Here I am regrinding the primary bevel on a DMT Dia-Flat lapping plate.


Due to the short length and the poor bevel that had been ground previously, it was going to be very difficult to get a new bevel square and all the way across.

I decided that the edge was acceptable and stopped here.

I then freehanded a front edge microbevel on the 8000 stone.

This made for a reasonably sharp blade that is a vast improvement.


The 2nd sharpening was on a new spokeshave.

This the Lee Valley Veritas reproduction of a Preston patent spokeshave.

This is a cast iron reproduction of the Model 1374 from E. Preston & Sons, Birminham, England.

Edward Preston made nickel-plated ornate models. The seven inch long 1374 was the mid range size of this style.

It is a round-soled model with a 5/8 inch radius.

Lee Valley Veritas products are very well made, all of the castings were well finished, the cap fit nicely and the blade was well flattened and beveled.

This spokeshave worked well right out of the box.

This blade is made with Lee Valley' s proprietary metal, PM-V11 and the back of the blade was ground quite flat.

The "CRTrick" put a micro bevel on the back edge.

And a micro bevel was freehand honed on the front primary bevel on a 12000 grit Naniwa Super Stone.

A great edge.

The next sharpening was a Hock #SP062S bladeThis was a kit with a bubinga blank handle.

See the build here.

The Hock blade came in great shape. The finishing touches were a polish on the back of the blade (4k and 8k stones), a small bevel using the Charlesworth Ruler Trick (CRT), and a micro bevel (12000 Naniwa Superstone) of a couple of degrees. Because of the width of the blade I had to work the stone on the bias.
Up next were a couple of Veritas A2 blades for the flat bottom and round sole spokeshaves in the picture.

As ususal, the blades were flat backed and well honed straight from Veritas.

I put a decent polish on the back with some work on 1000 and 8000 grit waterstones. I used the CRT for a slight back bevel.

Then I put a micro bevel on the front primary bevel, freehand on a 12000 grit Naniwa.


The concave spokeshave shown in the image to the right will take some work to figure out how to touch up the bevel.

First try will probably be a dowel or rounded wooden form covered in leather with chromium oxide paste.





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