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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all,

Don't know if thus belongs here, or on OT.

Was digging around in my grandfather's tool chest a few days age. He was an foundry man/iron worker. Was surprised to find a spoke shave. I already have a concave spoke shave, and a draw knife, but for sentimental reasons, this was a great find. Its a Stanley Level & Rule #51. From what I have been able to learn, dates to no later than 1920.

The cutting edge was not rusted. Somewhat surprising, since its been sitting in the box for about 85 years. The enamel, or lacquer coating was pretty crusty. There is a blade and a clamping plate, but when I 1st removed them, they were stuck tight together. Pried them apart, and sanded away the crud, which was part rust, and who knows what else. Worked some on the edge, which had nicks in it.

Its missing a thumb screw. I'm uncertain of the screws function. Perhaps it allows finer blade positioning. I suppose that because I've had trouble putting it back together, and getting just enough edge projecting from the plate to do shaving.

After trying it, I think I need to work on the edge more. Worked pretty well on some harder maple, but mushed some unknown soft wood.

Composite material Metal Fashion accessory Household hardware Electric blue
 

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Great old tool. Blades can be hard to sharpen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great old tool. Blades can be hard to sharpen.
Dug out one of my lapping plates. Placing the blade plate against it, and then the edge, I see the plate is slightly bowed, and the edge is an arc, not flat. Bit more work needed, but the steel seems worth the effort.
 

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Great find. Well worth trying to bring it back to life. You know the old saying "they don't make um like that anymore". Well they don't!
 

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I don't think I own a spoke shave. If I do, it would be buried in one of my old tool boxes and I've forgotten it.

The fact that it was your grandfather's makes that one special.

Are you going to put it back to work?

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think I own a spoke shave. If I do, it would be buried in one of my old tool boxes and I've forgotten it.

The fact that it was your grandfather's makes that one special.

Are you going to put it back to work?

Rodney
Assuming I can get it flat, w. an accurate bevel, I'll use it some. I have a concave spoke shave, and have used it on occasion. I also have a draw knife, which I've used more. I'll see if the flat Stanley gives me more control.

Looking over antique tool sites, it appears that a later model, the 151, which had twin adjustment screws pushing the blade forward, became the big seller. A version of that is still in production.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great find. Well worth trying to bring it back to life. You know the old saying "they don't make um like that anymore". Well they don't!
The steel of the blade seems good. Don't know if the way it gets together is as good as it might be. At the time, the company was best known for its planes.

But it is true that lots of hand tools have gone down in quality. Where I worked, the shop had lots of Craftsman hand tools from the late 40's thru the mid 50s, and they still were just about perfect. Came across an article recently about Crescent wrenches, doing a side by side with one made years ago, and a current off-shored version. The old one was measurably better in every aspect. Finer and tighter adjustment of the mouth size, tighter geometry all over. Even the lettering was better.
 

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Exactly why I prefer older tools. Other than a few boutique makers the quality of hand woodworking tools is way down from what it was 50 years ago. Hand woodworking tools started declining in the 50s. I think that cheap electric tools kind of killed them. Stanley planes are a good example. When you look at the fit and finish of the antique ones compared to what they made after WWII you can see the decline starting to happen. Hand saws are another good example. Once tradesmen switched to electric saws there was no going back. American manufacturers sending the actual manufacturing of their tools overseas was just the final nail in the coffin.

The Chinese are very capable of making quality tools. The problem is the people who buy them ask them "How cheap can you make this?" instead of "How well can you make this?". The companies in question seem to rely on the reputation they built for making a quality product 50 years ago to sell their inferior imported products at inflated prices today.

We pay the price with inferior goods and manufacturing jobs that have moved overseas.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I managed to restore the edge, and I think I have the blade set back into tool properly. Don't have a replacement thumb screw yet, but I did manage to do a little shaving w. it. Not quite as good as the draw knife I have, but it may just need a little more adjustment offered by the thumb screw.
 
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