Canadian Woodworking

Melbourne Tools spokeshaves

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Flat and round spokeshaves that I can highly recommend.

Author: Chad Martin

Over my years of woodworking both in my own shop and demonstrating historical cabinetmaking I have always loved using spokeshaves. I’ve worked with everything from traditional wooden versions all the way to the cheap clones from Amazon. Be it a flat, concave, convex sole, I’ve tried a lot of different versions.

For the new Melbourne Tools spokeshaves, coming in both a flat and round sole, are a refreshing change from the cheap spokeshaves that have been readily available for far too long.

Manufacturer: Melbourne Tool Company
ItemMTC-106-KIT (flat and round)
Price: $199 (also available individually for $109)
Bed angle: 40°
Blade bevel angel: 25°
Blade dimensions: 3.2 x 51 x 48mm
Blade thickness: 3.2mm | 1/8″
Body material: Ductile cast iron with natural cork inlay
Blade material: M2 high speed steel
Weight: 375g
Made in: China
SourceTegs Tools

Right off the bat, the packaging is excellent, the product is firmly set in the boxes with little chance of damage happening. The foam encasing is actually perfect for repurposing into your own storage of the spokeshaves. At first touch you immediately appreciate the heft of the solid body and easy to grip long handles.

I will admit, the embedded cork in the handles raised an eyebrow for me. Being used to solid handles, be it metal or wood, I had never seen or used a spokeshave with a purposely added element for comfort. My immediate impression was that the cork would deteriorate or peel off quickly and just leave an unsightly indentation. Was I ever wrong! The cork withstood numerous hours of work and look just as good as when I took the tool out of the box. In all of the usage I’ve put it through, it’s still holding strong.

As for the performance itself, right out of the box the blades were sharp and ready for use. A quick fine tuning with the adjustment knobs and I was off and running. Melbourne Tools has chosen M2 high speed steel (HSS) for the blades. M2 HSS has high abrasion resistance which means it will hold a sharp edge much longer than many other steels. I began by testing the flat sole on a variety of domestic and exotic hardwoods, white oak, padauk, walnut, zebrawood, cherry, rosewood and a few others. Each piece was left with a shiny smooth surface, far exceeding my expectations.

Playing around aside, I opted for a real test, and decided I’d use nothing but the Melbourne Tools spokeshaves on a solid white oak canoe paddle, other than rough cutting on the bandsaw, I used nothing but the spokeshaves for shaping and bringing down to size. Which let me tell you, is A LOT of work when using 4/4 white oak. However, the tools handled the job without a hitch.

Roughly halfway through the process I did take the time to sharpen the blade – not that it needed it. HSS did take a bit more work to get the edge where I wanted but soon enough I was back at it. Setting up the blade is quick and effortless – fine adjustment is a breeze.

All in all I’m very impressed with the Melbourne Tools spokeshaves, the quality of materials and precision manufacturing is very apparent. Using the tools is simple and comfortable while leaving a beautiful surface, even across difficult grains.

As I said, I’m a huge fan of spokeshaves, so I recommend them to any woodworker out there, and the Melbourne Tools flat and round sole Spokeshaves are now very high on my must try list for everyone to try.

 

Comfortable durable cork handle.
Melbourne Tools spokeshave
Various spokeshaves.
Melbourne Tools spokeshave
Large heavy blade.
Melbourne Tools spokeshave
Melbourne blade (top) is twice the thickness of other blades.
Melbourne Tools spokeshave
A joy to use.

Published:
Last modified: March 27, 2024

Chad Martin - [email protected]

Chad is the Community Engagement Director at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. He also runs his own woodworking business specializing in culinary and home decor woodworking.


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