Spokeshaves are versatile tools, often overlooked by woodworkers. They are indispensable when working curved surfaces, round or square stock, and are the chairmaker's most important tool. Even today, they are highly useful in building wooden boats. Bowmakers also value the spokeshave for its usefulness in the fine detail work necessary in shaping bows.
In planes, the optimum cutting angle is determined by the shape of the plane. In spokeshaves, because of their very short soles - 3/8 inch (10 mm) to 9/16 inch (15 mm) - the cutting angle depends on how the tool is held. To hold a spokeshave properly takes some practice, which may not be immediately apparent to the inexperienced user.
Adjusting the iron takes considerable care. Even on spokeshaves with a fine adjustment feature, setting the iron correctly is somewhat fussy. Because the irons of low-priced spokeshaves (Kunz, Stanley, Record, Anant) are not completely satisfactory, we recommend replacing them with spokeshave blades made by Ron Hock. These fit the Stanley, Record and Anant spokeshaves, as well as several of the models from Kunz. Hock irons for Stanley spokeshave No. 151 can be used for Kunz models 51A and 51AR, but their throats must be filed slightly wider and the threads for the adjustment screw must be exchanged with longer threads (metric!).