Great Gear: Issue 95

Sometimes they make ‘em better than they used to

Like many woodworkers, I often pulled my old bevel-down Stanley #151 “gull wing” spokeshaves into play to help shape and smooth curved workpieces of all sorts, using the flat-sole version for straight or convex surfaces, and the radiused-sole model for concave shapes. That is until I discovered the Pinnacle flat-bottom (#151) and radiused-bottom (#151-1/2) remakes of the Stanley models.

These beefy 10-3/4" long tools are made of rust-resistant 304 stainless steel. The handles are not hollowed out on the backside like on the Stanleys, contributing to heft and comfortable handling. The solid, precisely machined knobs and threaded posts and the dead-flat 45° blade bed make for smooth blade adjustment and great cutting performance.

The 1/8" thick × 2" wide cryogenically treated, A2 steel blade in each shave is dead-flat and ground at 25°. The steel, which is hardened to Rc 60-62, polishes up nicely on waterstones without a lot of sweat, and holds an edge very well. The thickness of the blade ensures chatter-free service, and results in a bevel with enough footing for jig-free honing—a real boon for short blades like this that can be difficult to mount in a honing guide.

These tools work as well as they look. The matte texturing of each body promotes solid gripping while the shape and 17 oz. weight aids maneuverability. The sole on the Pinnacle #151 is 1/4" wider (front to back) than on my Stanley, which, in my opinion, provides better footing without being too wide to use on slightly concave work. The sole on the 151-1/2 is also 1/4" wider than its forebear, but is radiused the same, which perhaps provides a bit more stability while slightly limiting access for tighter curves.

At about $120 each, these shaves aren’t cheap, but if you have the money, and if you appreciate nicely designed, well-made tools, they are worth it. If you do a lot of spokeshave-worthy work but can’t afford them, I suggest you start saving up.

—Paul Anthony, senior editor

You’ll want multiples of this multi tool

This humble tool is one of my favorites. In fact, I own five or six of them. One in each car, one in my installation tool kit, one in the kitchen tool drawer, and a couple in the shop. Why? Because they’re so darn useful. The double-ended, replaceable tips work with 90% of the screws I’m likely to encounter, plus the barrel itself serves as a nut driver—all in one tool. Usually, I’m a bit skeptical of multi-function tools, but this one delivers. Look for ‘em at your local hardware store.

—Ken Burton, senior editor

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