Making Spokeshaves


There are times when I wonder if making my own hand tools is worth the time and effort, making a tool means time away from guitar making, but if the tool can increase my efficiency in building a guitar, then that time is not wasted.

That is a very unromantic view towards making my own hand tools, it is very rewarding when the tool I made works right when I finish. I admit that over the last thirty years I have made several hand tools that didn’t work, those got tossed into the wood stove, a factory made tool was bought so I could get back to the work at hand.


I decided to make a pair of very small spokeshaves using blades purchased from Hock Tools, the bottom shave has a California laurel body, the middle shave is cherry and I used East Indian rosewood for the wear plates. The big shave is one I made about twenty years ago using Eastern dogwood and a Lee Valley blade. After making these little shaves I am tempted to make a pair from rosewood for more heft and mass.

The two little shaves a dreamy to use once I dial-in the depth regulating set screws, however it is easier and faster to set the blade depth with the Lee Valley system. 


The shaves need more shaping, I will add more rosewood to the wear plate on the cherry shave so I can make it into a hollow shave, it is a fun project and it makes me step away from guitar making for just a little bit to help reset my creative thinking.

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