After we rough out the spindles and bow blank with the draw knife we will refine the shape of them with a spoke shave. As with the draw knife, there is a variety of spoke shaves available. The two that we use most frequently for chair making are a flat sole and a compass sole, shown below. For our purposes a flat sole will give the control for truing up the shape of our parts.
These two shaves were made by Dave’s shaves in North Conway, NH. (www.ncworkshops.com) Check out his web site. If you are looking for a traditional spoke shave this is the place to go. He has a variety of different shaves at very reasonable prices
Wooden spoke shaves like these act like a paring chisel, in that the bottom, flat surface of the blade rubs on the work and the blade has a chisel edge with an angle around 25 degrees. These work exceptionally well in making chair parts especially when cutting across the end grain of the seats.
Metal shaves like this one have the blade at approximately a 45 degree angle and while they may work well for shaping along the grain, end grain work demands the lower cutting angle. Think of it as the difference between a low angle plane and a standard angle plane.