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.
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.