A Travisher “on the cheap”
I’ve always wanted a travisher. Maybe it’s just the name. Travisher. That je ne se quoi. It’s just cool. You know, like Paris in the 30’s. Django Reinhardt playing in the backround with a little Gypsy Orchestra. Or maybe some “tucked away” place in Cornwall or Wales. But every time I’ve gone out to procure one, there was always something else I needed more. So it never happened.
So yesterday, I’m “hoggin’ out” this seat blank and I began thinking about travishers again. Pete Galbert makes a beautiful one. But hey, I’m retired, on a fixed income… Maybe next month at WIA. But not right now. For some reason, I look around the shop and my eyes fall on a Kunz convex spokeshave (hollowing). I mean I’ve had this thing for years. I’ve never used it. It’d probably be great for cleaning up wooden eaves troughs. But really, it has just sat there on the shelf for years. (BTW, it’s the only tool that I have like that. I USE ever other tool. There are no “lookers”, only working tools, REALLY! Really Mary, I’m serious).
I got to thinking… The are only two (major) differences between this spokeshave and the most magnificent of the travisher class. It’s on a fairly tight radius and it’s got a 45 degree cutting angle. So after a few mental gymnastics, I get out my single cut bastard file and commence to drawfile a radius (running perpendicular to the cutting direction) on the sole of the shave. (You’ve got to remember to PUSH the tool and “roll out” of the cut, just like using an old, curved wooden spokeshave. Galbert has a good video on using a travisher on his site or Youtube.)
After giving the iron a good honing, I re-assembled the “bastard travisher” and was very pleasantly surprised. Anyone who has worked in elm knows the it is a contentious specie. If a wood can be ornery, elm’s the one. The tool cut very well in both directions, against and with the grain.
The Kunz spokeshave is inexpensive, good quality, but will need a little finagling, as I’ve mentioned above. The tight radius is great “around the edges”, but a broader radius tool would be a nice addition. There are other convex shaves out there, but they’re just as expensive as the finest of the handmade travishers. There are, however, tools to be had on the used market.
Look out all of you “travisher peddlars”, I’m comin’ to Cinci next month, with money in my pocket, but till then I’ll just keep “hoggin’ away with my “little bastard””.