The Veritas Low-Angle Spokeshave is configured like a traditional spokeshave,
with the blade positioned bevel up. This arrangement allows for the lowest
possible cutting angle, determined by the bevel angle of the blade. The
blade comes honed with a 25° micro-bevel and is made of 1/8" (0.125")
thick A2 tool steel. The body is lightweight cast aluminum, shaped for
comfort and maximum control. The anodized aluminum toe piece can be adjusted
to set the depth of cut, and is designed so that it can be used for standard
flat cutting or flipped over for work on tight curves (see Figure 3).
The mouth can be adjusted by setting the blade position as required (a
narrow slit for fine shavings with minimum tear-out or fully open for
heavier cuts). The two blade locking knobs are solid brass and the two
steel blade stems rigidly secure the blade.
Figure 1: Low-angle spokeshave components.
Instructions for Use
Firmly grip the spokeshave with both hands. Position your thumbs directly
on the shaped toe piece for maximum control. The orientation of the blade
relative to the workpiece is controlled with the wrists. As with any wood-cutting
blade, a relief angle is required between the surface of the workpiece
and the bottom of the tool (in this case, the bottom of the blade), due
to fiber springback. Tilt the spokeshave forward slightly to achieve a
relief angle. While this will require some practice and feel, the sole
of the toe piece is shaped so that it is at a slight angle and will help
guide you to the desired relief angle.
Figure 2: Blade relief angle.
Should you attempt a cut while keeping the bottom of the blade in complete
contact with the workpiece, the spokeshave will tend to glide along the
wood instead of cut it.
Skewing the cut, or holding the spokeshave askew or rotated with reference
to the path of travel will yield the best results. This orientation lowers
the effective cutting angle and adds a slicing force to the cut.
The Veritas Low-Angle Spokeshave is designed for use with either a pulling
or pushing action. This allows you to always work with the grain, which
is particularly important when working with a low cutting angle. On more
complex shapes, this may involve frequent changes of direction, flipping
the tool and pulling or pushing as required.
The toe piece can be flipped to permit work on tighter inside curves.
Remove the two front screws (and washers) that secure the toe piece, flip
the toe piece over (as shown below), replace the screws (and washers),
reposition to achieve the desired depth of cut (see Depth of Cut),
and retighten the screws.
Figure 3: Orienting the toe piece.
Depth of Cut
The depth of cut is determined by the position of the toe piece relative
to the blade. Raise the toe piece to increase the depth of cut or lower
it for a finer cut. Loosen the two screws and position the toe piece as
required. Tighten the two screws and take a test cut.
Figure 4: Adjusting the depth of cut.
The low-angle spokeshave is intended for fine, precise work, not the
heavy material removal accomplished with a drawknife. The maximum depth
of cut will vary with the material being worked – greatest in green
softwood and much less in dry hardwood. A cut that is too aggressive will
result in excessive force on the blade and may cause it to shift or come
off the tool.
To achieve consistent and predictable cutting, you could set the toe
piece and blade parallel to one another. However, by setting the toe piece
at a slight angle so that one side is higher than the other, you can achieve
cuts of differing depths without having to stop and reset the toe piece.
With the right side of the toe piece set higher, you could make larger,
roughing cuts with the right side of the blade and then shift over to
the left side of the blade for finer, finishing cuts. This, of course,
works only when the contact area of the workpiece is substantially less
than the width of the blade.
The blade can be readily repositioned to accurately set the gap between
it and the toe piece (this opening is called the mouth). Generally, you
will want an opening as small as will allow the shaving to escape. The
reason for this is that a tight mouth supports the wood ahead of the blade,
preventing break-out and, most important for low-angle cutting, reducing
the tendency of a shaving to split away from the surface of the workpiece.
Loosen the two blade locking knobs and adjust the position of the blade
by sliding it forward or backward as required. Tighten the knobs firmly,
but avoid overtightening.
Figure 5: Adjusting the mouth.
Note: If working wide stock, check that neither blade
stem projects below the surface of the blade. If one blade stem is too
low, loosen the knob on the other stem and retighten the knob of the stem
that is too low, drawing it up.
Note: The mating surfaces between the blade and
the body, and the blade and the stem, can be quite smooth. As such, the
blade may slip in use when dealing with harder woods or heavier cuts.
To ensure the blade remains securely clamped when using the spokeshave,
thoroughly clean the mating surfaces with a suitable solvent to ensure
they are free of lubricants/waxes, etc. Also, scuff the blade (perpendicular
to the slip path) on the top face where it mates with the body and on
the bevelled ends where it mates with the blade stems, using 60 or 80
Figure 6: Scuffing the blade.
The Veritas Low-Angle Spokeshave blade has been honed ready for use.
It comes with a primary angle of 20° and a micro-bevel of 25°.
This allows you to easily resharpen the blade at the 25° angle, lower
the cutting angle to as little as 21°, or increase the cutting angle,
all without having to regrind the primary bevel.
||Caution: Be aware that the blade is
sharp; careless handling can result in serious injury.
Figure 7: Blade geometry as supplied.
Due to the small size of the blade and the difficulty in holding it while
sharpening, you may want to use a sharpening jig or holder. These provide
a large clamping surface to firmly hold the blade while hand sharpening
or when mounting it to a honing guide. A holder that securely holds small
blades against anodized aluminum through the use of a wedge and rare-earth
magnets is available from Veritas (05P32.03). You can also make your own
holder, as illustrated in Figures 8 and 9. The body of the
jig is best made from a 3/8" thick piece of close-grained hardwood, such
as maple or birch. Two #10 x 3/4" long countersunk flat-head machine screws
must be used in order to provide the clearance required on the bottom
side for honing the low 20° bevel.
Figure 8: Blade sharpening jig.
Figure 9: Blade sharpening jig plan.