Thursday, May 4, 2017

Veritas Small Spoke Shave Kit

I spent a couple days making this neat little project.
The finished spokeshave.
This project turned out to be pretty easy to make. I was a bit apprehensive because there are plenty of "how-to" videos and instructions out there and I wasn't able to find anyone who built the whole thing without a single power tool. Pretty much the consensus is that you need a drill press for this project.

Me being me, I took it as a challenge to see how this project works without one.

Since there is plenty of instructions out there, including the instructions that come with the Veritas kit, I'll try to be brief with this post and focus on the parts that I did by hand that often are done another way.

The first thing I did was get an apropriate blank of wood for the body of the spokeshave. I had some blocks of air dried sycamore that were perfect for this. Sycamore has a beautiful pattern when it is perfectly quartersawn.

While a table saw is great for sizing a blank of wood like this in a few seconds, I like to do this by hand as I find it easier to get a perfectly quartersawn piece out of any blank of wood. This one happened to be almost two inches square, and riftsawn.

I planed a couple of quick chamfers on the edges in order to clamp it to my sawbench. Laying out and ripping to the required angle was simple.
Making quartersawn wood from riftsawn.
I would recomend spending this kind of time on a small project like this, especially with a wood species that has a particular look when quartersawn.

The next bit was drilling holes for the posts that hold the blade. It requires two different sizes of holes for this particular kit, as the adjusters are tapped into the wood.

This needs to be done precisely, and it is highly recommended to use a drill press if you have one.

But, it isn't absolutely necessary.

I find that I can drill fairly accurately with just a little practice. Also, it always helps to keep your chin or your forhead on the back end of the drill, whether it is an eggbeater like this, a brace, or even a hand held electric drill.

To increase accuracy even further, I accurately marked both sides of the blank, and went in half way from either side, meeting in the middle.
I try to keep everything as stable as possible, and put my chin on the handle of the eggbeater.
It could be that it isn't as perfect as a drill press would be, but it is plenty accurate enough.
Drilled holes.
The kit came with the correct tap, but I did not have a tap handle laying around anywhere. After trying a couple things, I realized it fit in my eggbeater. As long as I went slow, there were no problems.
This worked, but I would rather use a tap handle next time.
I decided to just super glue the brass wear plate rather than inset it with dovetails and screw it to the base. Time will tell if this will hold up or not.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a hacksaw, either.

To solve this, I had a serrated all-purpose Chinese knife that I found in the kitchen. It took a while, but it eventually did the job.
I marked the brass, clamped it to a piece of wood to use as a guide.
Needless to say, the cut with the kitchen knife wasn't glass smooth, so to smooth it out I cut a notch in a block of wood that was square to the base.
End-smoothing jig.
Then it was just a matter of holding the brass in the block and rubbing it back and forth over a diamond stone to polish it up a bit.
This worked great.
Once the wear strip was in, the tool was nearly complete. I just sawed out the profile with a bowsaw.
This was quick and easy.
Now it is shaping up to look like a spokeshave.
After that, it was just a matter of smoothing the sawmarks with another spokeshave and a rasp, round over the handles to my taste, and finish.
Front view. I really like the look of QS sycamore.
I finished it just with a coat of BLO. Once it cures, I'll add a coat of beeswax.
The bottom. There are some gaps that are cosmetic flaws because I could only get a metric drill bit rather than the required 5/16" bit recommended in the instructions.
This was a fun and easy project. I happen to have the Veritas large spoke shave kit, and also the Hock large spoke shave kit. I can see a couple more of these in my future.
I even picked up some cool wood for the large ones: leopard wood and goncalo alves.


  1. Funny, we both went almost the same route (even as far as doing the rough shaping with a bowsaw). However, I did use a drill press to drill out the brass. I had strongly considered using epoxy because I didn't like the look of the screws on the brass (and I still don't). The mini dovetails I thought were a complete waste of time and didn't even bother trying to accomplish it. Sawing them on the blank would have been easy enough, but shaping that brass plate to match would have been a little more challenging.

    Also, I used a T-wrench to tap the threads rather than a hand-drill, and the results were just fine.

    Overall it was a fun project and one of these days I'll make another.

    BTW..Great Work!

    1. Thanksgiving, Bill!

      Yeah, I couldn't quite see the benefit of the dovetail, but I think it would be easy enough with that jig I show. You could bevel it to an angle, use it as a guide on the spokeshave blank, and the angle would be exactly the same.

      I would have used a t-wrench if I had one. Same with a drill press.

    2. 'Thanksgiving' actually had a nice ring to it.

      I have a bubinga blank that will work for the small kit. I also have a maple blank. I actually considered resawing them, gluing them together, and having a maple/bubinga shave. I'm just not sure whether or not it would look great or ridiculous.


    3. I like the look of a single solid wood blank. However, I considered doing something similar when I thought my sycamore blank was not thick enough.

      There's only one way to find out if it would look good or not, and that is to try it. If you don't like it, you can always make another one.

  2. That's a beauty? What did the Frau say regarding your brass sizing methods? I don't need another project, but this sure looks like it would be a fun one to take on and would be good for using some crazy woods without breaking the bank.

    1. That kitchen knife is crap anyway. She'll never know!

      Indeed, the two fancy blanks I have were only a couple dollars each. But, it would also be a good project to do with firewood.

  3. Brian, you're adventuring in some swampy areas... using the new apron, and kitchen utensils (again)... what's next a blog report on to the latest cuisine trends???
    Amigo, cuida-te!!!
    :D :D :D LOL
    What a great job on the new spokeshave!
    I thought it was a bit crazy putting my head on the drill to do a plum hole but you get to the next level doing it with the chin too!!!

    1. Maybe my next project needs a marinara finish.

      I don't know what it is about putting your head on the drill, but it is magic!


  4. Timely, I do have both the Veritas large spokeshave kit and the Gramercy Bow saw kit, one of these days I shall make days...Probably in June, It is such a long month :-)

    Never tried to cut brass with a kitchen knife, another first from your blog :-)

    Bob, back from the garage with Rudy

  5. Sigh, I can not even blame auto correct on this one... Meant one of these days I shall make both... Stupid keyboard, keys are all over the place :-)


    1. Haha! Well, thanks for the comment. Build the spokeshave, which is easy, then use it to build the bowsaw. Both are great projects.

      Good luck!