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How to adjust a spokeshave blade

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spokeshave blade A spokeshave blade is adjusted to change the amount of wood removed in a single stroke of the tool. This is beneficial when you need to be delicate or remove more wood quicker.
spokeshaves with and without adjustable thumbscrews A spokeshave can be adjusted in one of two ways depending on the presence of the adjustable thumbscrews. You may need a small hammer to adjust the spokeshave.

The adjusting of concave and convex blades is more difficult and although the method is similar, it is harder to judge the alignment.

wood shaving Before you begin adjusting the blade on either model of spokeshave, you must decide if you want an even or lopsided cut.

A crooked blade will allow different thicknesses of wood to be removed without readjusting the blade again, which is handy when the blade is longer than the workpiece. However, this may require extra skill, best reserved for people used to the tool.

Preparing to adjust a spokeshave…

unscrew cap screw, blade just visible through mouth, spokeshave

Step 1- Move blade to mouth

Loosen the blade by turning the cap screw.

Then push (or pull) the blade until it is just visible at the mouth of the sole.

Then re-tighten the screw almost all the way, leaving it around 1/4-1/2 a turn loose.

place spokeshave on flat piece of wood

Step 2- Place sole down

Place the sole of a flat or round spokeshave onto a flat piece of wood. The rounded sole may require some tilting to get the mouth lined up.

For convex and concave spokeshaves, you can try using concave and convex (respectively) pieces of wood, but it may be difficult to find the corresponding size. If this is not possible, you will need to judge it by eye.

pull spokeshave along flat wood

Step 3- feel cut

Pull the spokeshave along the piece of wood, you should be able to feel the blade just shaving the wood.

If this is depth of cut you want, finish tightening the screw and the spokeshave is ready to use.

For spokeshaves with adjustable thumbscrews…

turn adjustment thumbscrews For an even cut along the whole length of the blade, the thumbscrews should be rotated evenly.

For an uneven cut along the blade, one thumbscrew should be turned more than the other.

Adjustable thumbscrews, clockwise down, anticlockwise up Turning the thumbscrews clockwise lowers the blade and anti-clockwise raises it.

For spokeshaves without adjustable thumbscrews…

tap spokeshave blade with small hammer To adjust the blade when there is no thumbscrews, you will require a small hammer.
tapping spokeshave blade with hammer To make an even cut along the whole length of the spokeshave blade, you need to tap the hammer in the centre of the blade.

To make an uneven cut along the blade, you tap the blade on the side you wish the cut to be deeper.

Adjusting the depth of cut…

spokeshave in use As you tap or rotate to move the blade, keep checking the depth by pulling the spokeshave along the piece of wood. Keep adjusting until your spokeshave is cutting at the desired depth.

Then finish tightening the screw and do a final check on scrap wood before beginning your project.