Lee Valley Spokeshave Kit Completed

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Project by paratrooper34 posted 05-30-2010 06:32 PM 5789 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Everyone!

I bought the small spokeshave kit from Lee Valley and finished it this weekend. It took me maybe about 5-6 hours I guess. That is an estimate as I wasn’t on the clock so to speak. But it is a fair estimate. It is the first time I have ever tried this type of project and I have to say it was a lot of fun and the results are pretty decent. There are a couple of flaws that I am chalking up to the learning curve. If I was to do this again (and I may just do that), I know where to look for the problems I had. I tend to be fairly critical of my own work, but in the end, I think it turned out ok. However critical I may be, the end result is it works like a charm!!! It makes beautiful fine shavings and feels good in my hands.

When the kit arrived, I was a little dismayed as the blade had a rust spot on it. I included a picture of that. I sent the same picture to Lee Valley explaining that I was disappointed that I received the blade this way. Maybe I am being petty, but I think that the kit, for the price I paid for it, should have been rust free. The rust did lap out when I went through that process, but still feel I should have received one without rust. Lee Valley did tell me they would send me a new one. Anyway, you guys and gals can let me know if I was being petty.

So I picked out this piece of scrap that I bought with a bunch of cut-offs and started working on the project. I could use some help here: I do not know what kind of wood this is. I included a picture of the wood used and I am guessing it is mesquite, but really I do not know. I can tell you that when I cut it, it stunk. It had a very pungent aroma. Well, I got it sized in accordance with the instructions and then laid it out for drilling. I saw an episode of the “Renaisance Woodworker” where he did the same kit and although he did a great job explaining the process, I never had to go back to that episode for clarity. The included instructions were easy to follow and left no ambiguity. I followed the instructions exactly as written and in no time it was ready for assembly and finishing.

I was very careful sizing the mouth and getting the blade depth correct to ensure fine shavings. That paid off. The mouth is very thin and it cuts great. I did cut too much away from the sides of the blade when I was filing the brass plate. I should have used my file with a safe edge. Unfortunately I didn’t realize what was going on until too late. It doesn’t effect cutting, it is purely asthetics, but there it is. Also, the “Renaisance Woodworker” pointed out on his spokeshave that the brass pieces that screw in from top were a little long which didn’t allow his blade to fully seat at the bottom of the hollow made for it. I had the same problem but I rectified it by filing them down to allow the blade to fully seat. I think if the spokeshave blank was made a little thicker, this problem wouldn’t exist.

Once I got everthing fitting properly and made some test cuts, I started shaping the plane. I used the templates provided and shaped the body with rasps, files, and sandpaper. I hate using sandpaper, but I really didn’t see an alternative. I worked all the way up to 1000 grit. Once I was satisfied with the finish, I used some type of wax/oil to seal it. The product is called Wachsoel. I then buffed it with my buffer to give it a high gloss. Lastly, I used some paste wax (two coats) and buffed it again.

I am happy with how it turned out. It was fun to make and tested some of my rookie skills. Plus, I now have a fine tool added to my arsenal, one that works great and everytime that I use it, I will think back to making it.

If you are looking for a good quality spokeshave, I highly recommend this project. You will spend a little less than you would for a quality one and you will get the pleasure of making it yourself. The wood required for this is small; 12”L x 1 1/4” H x 3/4” W. So you can use an exotic piece without breaking the bank. My personal opinion is a tool made by yourself becomes more pleasurable to use knowing you made it yourself.

Lastly, if you know what wood this, I would love to hear your thoughts. I am stumped!

-- Mike

9 comments so far

View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 4681 days

#1 posted 05-30-2010 06:40 PM

congrats on the plane. It looks like red oak to me. If it grew in a swampy area it can smell pretty bad. Guys at work call it piss oak.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4917 days

#2 posted 05-30-2010 06:42 PM

Nice work a great looking spoke shave


View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

840 posts in 5173 days

#3 posted 05-30-2010 06:59 PM

Really beautiful!!

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4798 days

#4 posted 05-30-2010 07:13 PM

beautiful functional art you have there… I would love to try doing this, I guess I better start saving my pennies.

-- San Diego, CA

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

558 posts in 4856 days

#5 posted 05-31-2010 12:07 AM

It looks good…as to whether or not you are being petty? I don’t think so. It got overlooked and at least you should receive a discount for accepting it like you did (for your work in removal). LV has always been good about standing behind my purchases. The good news is I only had one small problem and they took care of it immediately…piece that should have been threaded wasn’t.

-- jstegall

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 4396 days

#6 posted 05-31-2010 05:12 AM

You’ve inspired me. I’ve been interested in making a spokeshave for a long time. I think I’ll order an LV kit.

-- Glen

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4399 days

#7 posted 07-15-2010 12:14 AM

Nice tool. I have been contemplating purchasing both the small and the larger kit from them and making the pair. As for that wood, the blank looks like red oak before you did anything to it, but I can’t say for sure after seeing those color streaks in the finished project. It is beautiful though.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4628 days

#8 posted 07-05-2011 05:26 AM

that came out great.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View DouginVa's profile


503 posts in 3613 days

#9 posted 03-28-2013 11:05 AM

I’m with ya on the rust issue. And I read your narrative before looking at all of your pics. That rust spot wasn’t so small. I’d probably would of lapped it out too. I’m impatient…..wouldn’t want to wait to send it back and receive a new one…...too much down time.

I didn’t know they made kits. I’ll have to explore that and maybe try it myself.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

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