I purchased my first Quangsheng plane just over a year ago and since then I’ve slowly been replacing my Stanley and Record family with their cousins from the Far East. What has really impressed me is the consistent quality that comes throughout the range, and this latest addition — a stainless steel spokeshave — is every bit as good.
It arrived housed in the Quangsheng trademark wooden box with its sliding lid, in which it will live safely for years to come.
The spokeshave is fractionally larger than the standard adjustable Stanley model, with an attractive gull-wing design to the cast handles, The 3mm-thick blade is held In place by the cap iron, which is secured by a single knurled stainless steel screw on the front of the tool.
The main casting of the ‘shave houses a pair of threaded rods on which the brass blade adjusters are mounted. These allow the cutting depth and the skew of the blade to be set and altered easily and accurately. They move very smoothly, but the pitch of the thread seems to me a little coarse for making fine adjustments.
The flat sole is 25mm wide and just under 75mm long, with a finely ground mouth through which the blade protrudes. At the moment Quangsheng makes only a flat-soled version for use on convex surfaces, but no doubt in the future a curved-sole version will be available to accompany it. The UK suppliers, Workshop Heaven Fine Tools, says on its website that the flat sole could be filed to a convex shape if required.
One thing I’ve noticed that makes Quangsheng tools stand out is the quality of their blades. Like their plane irons, the spokeshave blade is 3mm thick and is hardened to RC63 These blades will take — and, more importantly, hold — a very sharp edge, enabling the finest of shavings to be achieved On arrival the blade was finely ground but not honed. However, it only took a few passes on the diamond stone to produce a razor-sharp edge which removed the hairs on the back of my hand with ease!
Using the spokeshave
This modern take on a traditional tool is beautifully balanced and easily adjusted using the knurled brass adjusting wheels. As I mentioned earlier the threads are rather coarse, but very fine changes in the cut can be achieved with care.
I started by using the spokeshave on a piece of European cherry left over from a recent project, and followed this with some cuts on a piece of 20mm-wide European oak.
In both cases I was able to obtain long, continuous ribbon shavings without huge effort.
The oak shavings were especially fine. Remember that you must use the tool to cut with the grain.
Another thing that appeared to be missing was the inevitable chatter that you often get with this type of tool.
Here any tendency to chatter is negated by the thicker section of the blade and the quality of the cutting edge achieved.
I was very impressed with this spokeshave, not only for the quality of it but more importantly how it performs. The gull-wing handles seem to present the cutting edge to the wood at just the right angle to give the optimum cut. And although I wasn’t using it for long during this test, I had none of the fatigue in my wrists that I’ve previously experienced using my old Stanley spokeshave.