Stanley Spokeshave - No. 51 / 51R

stanley spokeshave 51 / 51R
Our Rating

Stanley Spokeshave 51 Review By: I.Ball

Category: Old Spokeshaves

Manufacturer: Stanley

Tool Type: Spokeshave

Model No: 51 / 51R


This review is about the Stanley 51 / 51R spokeshave.

There is a version of the Stanley 51 with a flat sole / straight bottom and a version with a curved sole / round bottom.

The version with the flat sole was advertised as the Stanley 51 whereas the curved sole version was advertised as the Stanley 51R; with the 'R' indicating the spokeshave has a 'Round bottom'.

The 51 spokeshave is also the brother of the Stanley 51M spokeshave. The 51 and the 51M are the same spokeshaves in design with a couple of differences in construction:

- The Stanley 51 spokeshave body is made from grey iron with a black jappaning finish.

- The Stanley 51M spokeshave body is made from malleable iron with a silver grey hammered finish.

The Stanley 51 spokeshave is a 10 inch long non-adjustable spokeshave. The 51 is advertised as non-adjustable due to the spokeshave requiring the blade to be set manually by hand without the use of a fine adjustment mechanism.

The blade is secured in position by placing the bottom eye of the lever cap through the securing screw and then sliding the lever cap downwards so the securing screw is positioned in the top eye of the lever cap.

Once the lever cap is in position and the blade is in the required position, the lever cap is locked in place by turning and locking the knurled locking nut located at the top of the lever cap. This process is reversed for removing / loosening the lever cap and blade.

The lever cap has a natural polished steel look.

The handles on the 51 are advertised as a 'raised handle'; the handles are arched and raised slightly above the core middle section. The handles have grip pads towards the end of the handles to offer the user extra grip and control.

Each handle has a circular hole cut in the end to allow the tool to be hung from a hook in the workshop.

The Stanley 51 with its flat sole / straight bottom is suitable for a number of fine shaving applications including on convex curved edges.

The Stanley 51R with a curved sole / round bottom is also suitable for a number of fine shaving applications but is especially suited to concave curved edges.

The tool can be used by pushing or pulling the shave to produce fine shavings.

The spokeshave is usually used with the cutter set in the bevel-down position with a good sharp edge. The cutter edge shouldn't be set too far out that it creates too thick-a-cut or wedges and not too far in that it barely takes a shaving.

As with nearly all tools it is important to regularly sharpen the blade to ensure a sharp edge is always in use; in doing so it will create far better results and a lot less frustration.

Spokeshave Construction

cast iron

Blade Adjusters:

Spokeshave finish:

Spokeshave Dimensions

254mm (10 inch)

Cutter Bed:
45 degrees

Stanley Spokeshave Blade / Cutter

Cutter Width: 54mm (2 1/8 inch)

Spokeshave Markings

"No 51" - found on the rear of the spokeshave.

Manufactured Dates

<1934 - 1986>

Spokeshave Also Known As

Stanley curved spoke shave
Stanley flat spoke shave
Stanley round pull shave
Stanley wood shaving tool


(i) This review/article may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith, any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving including corrections, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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