Unmarked Metal Spokeshave - header

Adjustable Spokeshave

This week’s antique is a 10″ wide, straight handled, cast iron spokeshave that bears no maker’s mark (“unmarked”).  It has an adjustable mouth plate with decorative scrollwork details.  The slotted screw secures the 2-1/8″ wide blade.  The “straight knurled” thumbscrew adjusts the mouth opening.

Spokeshave - Unmarked, Adjustable Mouth

Spokeshave – Unmarked, Adjustable Mouth

As shown below, it is a flat soled design which is common up through today’s spokeshaves, but as an aside, this is a poor design.  Spokeshaves need a slightly rounded sole to allow the user to control the shaving thickness.  (Metal spokeshaves with flat soles are essentially small planes instead of shaves.)

Spokeshave - Flat Sole

Spokeshave – Flat Sole

The mouth on this spokeshave is adjustable to compensate for shaving thickness.  The entire top plate makes up the mouth adjustment plate which pivots on two pins and is held in position by the adjustment thumb screw and two springs.

It’s not a well designed tool.  It’s hard to properly set the blade with a single screw, and I doubt the mouth adjustment works well.  This is probably why this tool is in such good shape – it didn’t work well so it sat in the toolbox.  I haven’t been able to find much information about this antique, but based on the design details, I would say this spokeshave dates from the 1880’s.  Regardless, it looks good and will continue on as a display item on my shelf.

4 comments on “Adjustable Spokeshave

  1. Anonymous

    It is a Hargrave Spokeshave. I have two. Mine both work well. It appears that you may need more practice in adjusting your spokeshave. A very similar design was used for the Stanley 54 spokeshave….one of the best spokeshaves they made.

    1. techwriter007

      That is true. Hargrave made versions of this shave as did others. In my area of the country, these are known as “Stearns pattern” spokeshaves because of the E. C. Stearns version.

  2. Mark

    You state “As shown below, it is a flat soled design which is common up through today’s spokeshaves, but as an aside, this is a poor design. Spokeshaves need a slightly rounded sole to allow the user to control the shaving thickness.”. Fyi, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Flat soled spokeshaves are made for flat to moderately curved surfaces. Most old tool companies such as Stanley and Hargrave also made (and some modern companies such as Lee Valley tools still make) round bottom spokeshaves for use inside more acute curves. Woodworkers who found that they did more work on acute curves sometimes filed the bottom of a flat spokeshave to a curve if they could not afford to buy a curved one.

    1. techwriter007

      I’m glad your metallic shaves work well for you. Unfortunately because of the steep blade angle and flat sole, they don’t perform well for me. Wood bodied shaves, which I’ll cover in later posts, have always performed better.

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