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Stanley 151 Spokeshave

Length: 10"
Cutter Width: 2 1/8"
Year: 2003


At around $30 the modern Stanley 151 seems like a great deal. The Stanley name has meant good quality tools for over a century. In truth, that reputation ended for many of us in the last century. The quality of the manufacturing may be just fine but what Stanley is asking the factories to manufacture is a far cry from what it used to be. I don't own an old 151, but Stanley didn't develop a good reputation creating tools like this.

I received this spokeshave as a gift for Christmas last year. I had really wanted one for some time so I was very happy to receive the gift. Once in the shop my excitement was tempered a bit. I have two main gripes.

The first problem is that the area the blade rests on isn't flat. Before you tighten the thumb screw the blade just wobbles back and forth. Being somewhat surprised, I went to my local store that carried these and the salesperson confirmed that was normal. I should have expected this answer since the surface wasn't machined, but just cast and painted. Maybe that is how Stanley has always made them. If I get an older one I'll just have to check. With this new knowledge I decided to make the best of it. After using a mill file on my brand new tool for some time I was able to get the surface somewhat flat. At least the blade didn't wobble around anymore. Mission accomplished!

It wasn't until using the spokeshave that I noticed the next design issue. The mouth of the tool is just huge. Unless you are taking greater than 1/8" chunks on your passes with this tool, the mouth is just too big. There are much better spokeshaves out there, even some made by Stanley. I personally think the Stanley 53, with the adjustable mouth, is a big improvment over the 151. By the way, if you like the idea of hogging off tons of wood, I recommend a scrub plane, draw knife or a belt sander with 60 grit. Getting back to the spokeshave, the gaping mouth on this tool really doesn't lend itself well to working with anything but straight grain and without the wood supported by the body of the spokeshave, chip out can be a problem.

All is not lost. Once I get enough money for a truly nice spokeshave I intend to use this one to experiment with different cutter shapes.

Overall Rating 2 out of 6.


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