A few weeks back I ordered a Veritas flat spokeshave with the money I received for publishing a tip in Popular Woodworking Magazine. After my initial inspection when I received the tool I didn’t do much with it. So over the weekend I decided to mess with it just a little and see what I thought. I marked and cut a rough arch on a small piece of pine. My first impressions were pretty favorable, but I do have a few minor grievences. Actually, I have only one real issue with the tool. The iron that comes with the tool is lapped flat at the factory, a great plus, but, it is also sharpened and given a micro-bevel as well. The iron is listed as “ready to use” straight from the box, and it does show up sharp. But I honestly think it could be sharper. I took a few passes on some pine and indeed I did get a good shaving, but I think it could be better. If I had my way I would rather have Veritas provide an iron with just a flat back, I would rather hone it and add the mirco bevel myself, and this is coming from a woodworker who is hardly a great sharpener. Now, with a micro bevel already added, I’m basically stuck with their edge unless I want to regrind the whole iron again, which I absolutely do not want to do. As I said, I would have done it a little differently, though I will admit that they are the experts and I am not.
Otherwise, the spokeshave works great. The adjustments were smooth and easy, the iron and cap are top quality, and the “sole” was nice and flat. My only other very minor complaint is the handles, which I think could be a little shorter. Of course I could unscrew them and make my own, or shorten the handles that came with the shave, but for the time being I am going to leave them be. For the past year I’ve been using an old Stanley, so I think I will give myself a little bit of a learning curve on this one before I start to modify the thing. This coming weekend I think I will sharpen the iron and do a few more experiments and see where that leads me.
In other woodworking news, Steve Shanesy, of Popular Woodworking Magazine, contacted me today to notify me that another tip that I submitted will be published and also entered in a reader tip contest. Before anybody thinks that I spend my free time submitting hundreds of tips to woodworking magazines in the hopes that they will be published, I will say that I can only ever remember submitting three woodworking tips in my life: the last tip that was published, this current tip that will be published in the future, and a tip for laying out dovetails using chisels that I was told had already been done before. I don’t make it a habit of trying a bunch of new woodworking tricks every time I’m in the shop. Like many woodworkers, every now and then I have to try something out of the ordinary to get the job done, usually out of necessity. I suppose that necessity truly is the mother of invention because it has lead to two published tips now. Again, I sold the tip to the magazine so I will say nothing of it on the blog except that it is a jig, and this from a guy who professes to hate making jigs. Still, I will admit that I am honored that the Popular Woodworking staff, in all of its mighty wisdom, has decided to publish another tip of mine. And even better, I get some spare cash that I can spend guilt free on a new tool. Taking some ideas from some very good comments and suggestions I received on my last post, I will probably use the money to pick up a box joint blade for my table saw.
Lastly, in yesterday’s post I also mentioned making a tool cabinet from a wall cabinet that my wife is picking up for me. I am starting to get excited about the project especially after a few comments I received. I have some good ideas already and I don’t even have the cabinet yet. But I think the next weekend that I have off from work, and the weather is decent, I will take a trip to Hearne Hardwoods and pick up some Walnut and Ash, or maybe Walnut and Butternut, and use it to make a box for the new cabinet. If I’m ready for it and I have enough practice, I may even make it using box joints. If not, it will be dovetailed. But, the comments I got yesterday really have gotten me back in the saddle again. It’s great to get that kind of help and feedback. When it comes down to it, the best way to get new ideas is by talking to other woodworkers. There is always something new to try, and it’s great that people are willing to share those ideas freely, and it would never have happened if I didn’t start writing all of my nonsense down and publishing it on the internet. I knew that I started writing this blog for something! So thanks to everybody and please keep those suggestions coming.