GENERAL DATING Shaves tend to have a partial chamfer around the top of the keyholes. Overall build quality is higher, threads fit tighter, the blade caps usually fit very precisely. If you have more than a passing interest in spokeshaves, Lamond’s highly illustrated, encyclopedic “Manufactured and Patented Spokeshaves” is a must. NOTE: Most of these spokeshaves are virtually identical if viewed from the front, therefore I have provided pictures of the back, plus details, which illustrate casting variations.
CREDIT: Thanks to Tom Lamond and Tom Conroy for alerting me to errors.
A TENTATIVE TYPE STUDY THE STANLEY 51 This was the Stanley spokeshave looked like in 1911.
There are no adjustment knobs, and its overally size is smaller than a 151.
a cutting or planning tool consisting of a blade with a handle at either end, usually in line with the blade, and a narrow sole in front of, and sometimes also behind, the cutting edge; used for shaping, trimming, and /or smoothing a variety of materials, usually wood or leather” Judging from Lamond’s definition, he considers the use of a spokeshave to thin or trim leather second only to its use on wood.
(Middleton 1963, 298) This is pure speculation, but perhaps the combination of WWI and the depression forced some leather tanners and curriers out of business and binders were forced to do the thinning themselves?Some prefer what is termed a French Knife, but this is a somewhat laborious method, and the spokeshave is quicker, and, what is more important, it does the job much more evenly, and is therefore better.The blade of the spokeshave must be kept very sharp and finely set—that is to say, it should not project too far.” (Mathews 1929, 111) Noting that a “steel” spokeshave should be used highlights how common wood bodied shaves must have been at the time of writing.According to Lamond, 151’s were manufactured in the US from 1911-1978, although production continued in England until around 1996. (Lamond 1997, 205) He notes that the 151 design is very similar to the Murray Adjustable Spokeshave, patented 1901, since they share a double screw to adjust the blade depth and angle (Lamond 1997, 207) The current veritas spokeshave is suprisingly similar to the Murray, in that the blade is notched on the edges to accept the adjustment knobs.(Lamond 1997, 206) No patents were ever issued for the 151, 151M or 151R, though some early examples are marked “PAT. The adjustment screws allows the user to raise or lower the blade without having to take it out of the shave and remove the cap. (Lamond 1997, 209) At that time there were 23 different Stanley styles of spokeshaves available for specific functions—by the 1980’s only the 151 and 151R were being made in England.Eventually the market, I predict, will give them pause. There are huge gaps in our knowledge about the history of tools—which surprises me given the number of 151 style spokeshaves produced in this century. Any and all corrections, additions, conjecture, images of different types of 151’s are welcome, I intend to keep incorporating new information on this page.