Updated March 17, 2021 by Chris Gillespie

The 9 Best Spokeshaves

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This wiki has been updated 9 times since it was first published in August of 2019. A spokeshave is a specialty tool used to shape and smooth wood. It consists of a metal or wooden body with a flat or curved sole and a metal cutting blade whose depth can be controlled with adjustment knobs. When properly sharpened, it can be used to remove stock effectively and produce aesthetically pleasing curved and rounded profiles. Our picks were made while considering quality and price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Stanley 12-951

2. Kunz No.56 Cooper's

3. Robert Larson 580-1000

Editor's Notes

March 11, 2021:

When used correctly a high-quality spokeshave gives greater control and versatility than a regular hand plane, as the angle of the blade, and thus the thickness of the wood shaving, are constantly being adjusted by tilting the wrists during use. They come in a great many styles and sizes, that with enough practice can be used to achieve a wide variety of shapes and finishes, from round lengths for legs or spindles to concave patterns on decorative work, or even for shaping contours on surfboards.

In this latest update, we added several new models to the list with enhanced features and differently shaped soles, suitable for a wide variety of shaving and shaping. The Kunz No.56 Cooper's was added to the ranking as it is one of the longest spokeshaves available at 17 3/4 inches in length. Its long handles provide plenty of purchase, making it ideal for hard materials and large workpieces. The Steelex D3659, similar to the Irwin Record A151, features twin brass adjustment knobs that allow for minute depth changes in the blade, making them a good choice for detailed finishing work. The Kunz Half Round features a concave sole that is designed for shaping round stock such as table or chair legs, while the Faithfull Twin Pack has one convex and one concave tool for a whole range of contoured surfaces. Finally, we added the Zona 37-320, which, at under six inches in length, is perfect for use in confined spaces, and is a popular choice amongst surfers.

August 28, 2019:

Spokeshaves are simple tools with only a few parts, which means that there are many good options for all level of woodworker. The Woodriver 150740W is the best compromise between high quality and price. It is more expensive than the Stanley 12-951 but less expensive than the Pinnacle 151. I prefer the heavier spokeshave for stability but that is a personal preference. The Pinnacle is an excellent tool with a stainless steel body, and a stout blade stop but its price leaves it out of the buying range of most entry-level woodworkers. The Stanley is a solidly built spokeshave for the price but it needs a bit of work out of the box before becoming useful. The blade comes with a coating which will need to be removed on the first sharpening. After the initial prep, it is a reliable workhorse in the shop.

Working with wood releases particles that are harmful if inhaled in large quantities. Avoid this danger by always wearing breathing protection while working.

Special Honors

Dave's Shaves As a fifth-generation woodworker, Dave is famous for his handmade reproduction spokeshaves made from wood. His bespoke service uses the finest hard and exotic woods and high carbon steel blades to create a refined too for the discerning craftsman. ncworkshops.com

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Began in 1981 in Maine, where they manufacture nearly one hundred different types of hand tools. Rather than cast iron, their high-quality range of spokeshaves are made from manganese bronze, which adds heft to the tool, doesn’t rust, and won’t crack if dropped. lie-nielsen.com

4. Irwin Record A151

5. Kunz 51AR

6. Steelex D3659

7. Kunz Half Round

8. Zona 37-320

9. Faithfull Twin Pack


Chris Gillespie
Last updated on March 17, 2021 by Chris Gillespie

Starting his career in the building industry, Chris built and managed a plumbing and heating company in northern England. After 13 years, seeking a more fulfilling lifestyle, he moved to southeast Asia, eventually settling in Vietnam, where he teaches writing and comprehension at a number of international universities. Drawing on his previous experience, and his passion for kitesurfing and windsurfing, Chris is knowledgeable in all things water related both recreationally and within the construction industry.


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