Restoring Two Old Spokeshaves
Submitted by Keith on Friday 02/02/2018
I donned a pair of gloves for this as it was about to get messy.
I'd start the cleaning process with some 80 grit abrasive paper and some 220 grit wet and dry paper stuck to a melamine board with some sticky back tape.
I started cleaning up the top of the cap iron, and eventually revealed that it was made by Record, which was a pleasant surprise.
So here I'm just removing the rust, I'm not trying to make it look new like it just came out of the factory, I actually like my tools to look like they've had some use.
Next I worked on the front bevel, so I'm just gradually changing the angle against the abrasive paper until all the rust was gone.
Then I did the back of the cap iron
I sprayed some water with a drop of washing up liquid in it for lubrication on to the 220 grit wet and dry paper and then repeated the process just to polish up the metal.
I also needed to clean the edges, so I did that by hand and that was the cap iron done
The cutting iron eas very rusty, so I gave that some 80 grit action too.
I was only hitting the edges, as there was quite a big hollow in the centre - but the tip was nice and flat and that's all I wanted so rather than spending ages getting the back of the blade flat for no good reason I just cleaned up the centre by hand.
And for the second surprise under all that rust, the cutting iron is actually made by Stanley, so it's a Stanley cutting iron, and a Record cap iron... No idea if the body is a Record, a Stanley, or someting else entirely!
Then I cleaned up the top of the cutting iron, and here's a really nice camera angle.
After polishing on the 220 grit this is how it looked.
The cutting edge was really blunt, and to demonstrate that I tried it out on some paper and as you can see it doesn't cut at all at the moment.
To sharpen it I'd start with my 360 and 600 grit double sided diamond plate. I'll leave links in the description box below this video to all of the products I use for sharpening.
I sprayed on some water and started to clean up the back first at 360 and then 600 grit.
Next I'd use my whetstone, which I'd already put in some water a few minutes before, this is 1000 grit on one side and 6000 on the other.
And I love this stone because it cuts through the metal really really quickly as you can see by the grey slurry.
After using 1000 I moved to 6000 side and this gets the metal really shiny, almost mirror like.
Usually for sharpening the cutting edge, I use a honing guide, this helps to maintain a consistent bevel angle while you're sharpening, but the spokeshave blade is too small for that so I'd need to do it by hand and I've not had much practice at that.
I started by finding the bevel on the diamond plate, and then this happened... Here it is in slow motion - not good at all.
Then I realised that if I held the blade at roughly a 45 degree angle, there was much less chance of me repeating that mistake again, and that worked much better. After a while I could feel a burr along the length of the cutting edge which is a good sign... I couldn't quite capture it on camera, but you'll see it later on when I remove it from the blade.
So now that the burr was established I moved up through the grits again - 600, 1000 and 6000.
The great thing about having both a diamond plate is that you can flatten the whetstone on it, as the whetstone is much softer than the diamond plate.
Finally I used my strop, this is the back of a piece of leather which I salvaged from a leather foot stool, glued on to a block of MDF.
I charged the strop with some green polishing compound.
I first removed the burr from the back of the blade, and here it is.
I polished the cutting edge and got a really nice mirror like finish.
At this point I did all the sharpening cliches like shaving my arm hair off and slicing paper, because I don't think it's possible to make a sharpening video on YouTube without that.
To protect the bear metal parts, I'd use this, it's a piece of cloth soaked in 3 in 1 oil stuffed tightly in to a plastic lid, this is something I learned from Paul Sellers YouTube channel.
I rubbed that on the cutting iron and cap iron too.
The sole of the spokeshave also needed some cleaning up. I did that on the diamond plates again, at 360 and then 600 grit. I didn't bother going higher as it wasn't really necessary. Then I oiled up all the other parts, includig the screw threads.
I put the spokeshave back together so I could try it out.
I started with pine and it worked well. And then I moved on to some oak and it had no trouble with that either - it cut nice and cleanly.
Then I remembered I had some metal paint left over from when I restored my vise, so I thought I'd take the clean up a bit further. I removed all the parts from the body again and sanded it down. I wasn't aiming to get down to bear metal - just to roughen up the surface so that the new paint would adhere.. I cleaned off the dust with some white spirit and then dried it with a paper towel, and then applied the paint. I just did two coats as this stuff covers really well.
For the second spokeshave, I first removed the blade. It was quite rusty.
I flattened the back working up through the grits as I had for the previous one.
Then I could start working on the cutting edge, and for this I couldn't sharpen it on the diamond plates or whetstone because of the pins being in the way, so instead I used a method I'd seen in a Paul Sellers video.
I stuck some sticky back tape on to a scrap piece of pine, and then added some 240 grit wet and dry paper.
I made some marks with a sharpie on the cutting edge, and then added a block in to my vise which the blade would rest on. I did some sharpening and I could see that the marker pen was being removed from the tip of the cutting edge which was what I wanted.
As you can see with one end of the stick referencing on the surface workbench and the other end on the cutting edge, a consistent angle is maintained while sharpening.
I added some 400 grit paper on the other end of the stick and polished the cutting edge some more.
The great thing about this system is that it's adjustable via the block in the vise so you can get the exact height you need to hit the cutting edge. Here I'm using another stick with 1200 grit.
And then I added some polishing compound to the other side so that I could polish the edge even more.
After oiling the blade I could re-fit tehe blade and set the cutting depth. And as you can see this one worked well too.