Wood Shaver Machines - Components, Usage Tips & Sharpening

Wood Shaver Machines - Components, Usage Tips & Sharpening
Table Of Content

What are Wood Shaver Machines

Wood shaver machines, also known as wood planes or spoke shaves, are handheld woodworking tools used to finely shape and smooth wooden surfaces. They consist of a short flat blade that can remove thin shavings of wood to create delicate convex and concave forms or flatten bumps in wood.

Types of Wood Shaver Machines

There are two main types of wood shaver machines:

  • Spokeshaves - Used for light shaving work on concave or convex surfaces, especially chair parts like curved chair legs or arms.
  • Bench planes - Larger with longer bases for stability, used for flattening large wooden boards.

Within these categories exist different variations like flat spoke shaves, curved spoke shaves, block planes, smoothing planes and more. They come in different sizes with blades angled and sharpened in different ways to suit specific planing applications.

Key Components and Attributes

While there is variation among wood shaver machine styles, most contain some universal key components:

  • Mouth - Opening ahead of the blade where shavings eject.
  • Blade - The sharp cutter that peels off shavings.
  • Lever cap - Holds the blade firmly in place.
  • Adjustment mechanism - To adjust blade depth and shaving thickness.
  • Tote - Front handle for gripping with one hand.
  • Knob - Rear handle for guiding with second hand.
  • Sole - Flat bottom surface that rides along the wood surface.

Quality wood shaver machines should have precise machining for a tight blade fit. The blade edge should be straight and sharpened to a fine edge. Sturdy construction from materials like brass, steel and high-grade wood ensures reliability and longevity under frequent use.

Using a Wood Shaver Machine

Prepare the Wood Surface

The key first step is preparing a smooth, flat surface to ride the plane sole over. Any bumps or inconsistencies will transfer to the finish surface. Sanding beforehand ensures the machine glides evenly during the cut.

Adjust Depth for Thin Shavings

Start with a very shallow blade depth. Cutting too much too fast is inefficient. Light passes produce thin ribbons of wood that indicate the blade is finely tuned for optimal performance.

Use Proper Technique and Stance

Stand with knees slightly bent. Keep elbows tucked close to body and shoulders relaxed. Grip handles gently to reduce body tension. Making long, smooth passes from one end of the wood to the other provides stability and control.

Frequently Check for Square

Check edge squareness with a try square. Skewing off 90 degrees risks planning too much off one side. If needed, adjust technique to keep the plane body perfectly square to the wood face.

Inspect and Adjust Regularly

Verify shavings are ejecting properly through the mouth opening. No shaving buildup means the mouth and bed are clear. Adjust the blade depth and pitch for thinner or thicker shavings as needed.

Sharpening & Care for Optimal Use

Even with robust builds, wood shaver machines still require regular upkeep and sharpening for best performance:

Clean After Use

Wood resin and debris can stick to surfaces and corrode parts over time. Gently remove buildup and dust off all mating surfaces with a rag.

Lubricate Moving Parts

Keep shaving adjustment components moving freely by occasionally lubricating with paste wax or light machine oil. Just avoid getting oil on wooden handles.

Inspect and Lap the Sole

Flattening the sole on sandpaper placed on a flat surface ensures it stays true. Skipping this can skew the angle of attack and cut quality.

Hone the Blade Frequently

Use a whetstone to restore an incredibly sharp low angle bevel on the blade edge after each use. This maintains cutting efficiency pass after pass.

With practice using wood shaver machines becomes very intuitive and gratifying. Attentive tool handling and maintenance habits ensure these traditional tools remain pleasurable to use for years of wood projects.


What is the difference between a spokeshave and a bench plane?

A spokeshave has a short blade and handles designed for use with one hand. It excels at smoothly shaping concave or convex wooden surfaces like chair parts. A bench plane has a longer sole and two handles for two-handed operation to flatten and smooth large wide boards.

How can I prevent tear out when using a wood shaver machine?

Tear out happens when wood fibers break rather than slice cleanly. To reduce it, ensure your plane blade is incredibly sharp. Take very light passes, and consider damping the wood slightly or planing downhill along the wood grain direction.

What angle should I sharpen the blade to?

Most wood shaver machine blades are sharpened to a 25 degree bevel angle. You can go up to 30 or down to 20 degrees depending on your preference for edge durability over sharpness or vice versa.

How often does the blade need sharpening?

Assuming you strop and hone your blade's edge before each use, you’ll only need to fully re-sharpen and reset the 25 degree bevel every few months. If making finer shavings or working dense woods, sharpen more frequently for best cut quality.

Advertisement 1

Advertisement 2

More from DIY and Crafts

How To Make Tumbler Wraps

How To Make Tumbler Wraps

Discover the creative process of making Tumbler wraps, transforming mundane tumblers into pieces of art using the techniques shown by BrightSide Vinyl. Join us to learn more about creating beautiful tumbler wraps.

Unveiling Kirsten Ross Creations: A Deep Dive into DIY Crafts

Unveiling Kirsten Ross Creations: A Deep Dive into DIY Crafts

Explore the unique world of Kirsten Ross Creations – a unique platform for authentic DIY and craft ideas inspired from foxkirsten of Tiktok. Reveal her unexpected approach in this detailed and insightful analysis.

How Orgonite Orgone Generators Work to Balance Positive and Negative Energy

How Orgonite Orgone Generators Work to Balance Positive and Negative Energy

This article explores how orgonite generators are thought to absorb chaotic energies and emit smoothed out, balanced positive energy, as well as the potential benefits of exposure to these subtle energy devices.

The Fascinating Science Behind the Sounds of Kinetic Glass Necklaces

The Fascinating Science Behind the Sounds of Kinetic Glass Necklaces

An in-depth look at how the unique properties of kinetic glass create the melodic sounds produced by glass necklaces, including insights from an artisan who works with this special material.

How to Clean Grout with Blue Toilet Bowl Cleaner - A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Clean Grout with Blue Toilet Bowl Cleaner - A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to easily clean grubby grout using an unexpected household item - blue toilet bowl cleaner! This step-by-step guide will show you how to restore dingy grout lines to like-new condition without harsh scrubbing.