If you have a jointer...
Posted by: bnystrom on Dec-26-12 7:23 AM (EST)
...it's easy to use it to cut the initial taper on the blades. I find it will do all four flats in under 10 minutes. WARNING: IF YOU USE THIS METHOD, USE A PUSH BLOCK OR PUSH PAD AND KEEP YOUR FINGERS WELL CLEAR OF THE CUTTER HEAD!
What you do is:
1- Set the jointer for around a 1/16" cut to start.
2- Hold the paddle blank by the loom area with your left hand and press just the tip to the infeed side of the bed with your right hand and a push block or push pad.
3- Keeping your left hand at least 6" back from the cutter head, lower the blank down, but keep the center of the blank up off the bed slightly so only the tip is touching the bed.
4- Make a pass over the cutter and it will take just a small cut off the tip. Each successive pass will take a longer cut.
5- After 3-4 passes, you can check the angle and raise or lower the paddle in the center until the cutting angle matches your layout lines for the taper. Be sure to check both sides to make sure you're cutting evenly across the width of the blade.
6- Continue until you reach your layout lines. If need be, you can reduce the cutting depth once you get close to the layout lines, so you can be more precise.
7- Repeat for the other three tapers.
Once this is done, I cut out the profile on a band saw, then switch to hand tools for the remainder of the shaping.
If you already have a spokeshave, I think you owe it to yourself to give it another try. A well tuned spokeshave cuts rolling bevels better than any other tool and used properly, it doesn't require you to grip it firmly when used with a pull stroke, so it can be easier on the hands than planing (at least with a block plane). I also find that it's equally easy to work on the left an right sides of the blade, which can be awkward with a plane if you're not ambidextrous.
The key, as with any edged tool, is that it has to be properly tuned and very sharp. I keep one set for rough cuts and another for fine, finishing cuts.