Robobevel Review

Submitted byJohn VanBuren onMon, 06/08/2020 - 07:00


    I have been using a Robobevel tool for a few months now. I am building a Wee Lassie II canoe, which is a 13' 6" one solo canoe with lots of curves. 

    I find that once I mastered the use of the tool that it works very well. It is well made and the ergonomics as excellent. The little plane that I bought separately is a high-quality tool that performs well.

    Listed below are a few lessons I learned on how to be effective with the tool:

      Adjust the plane to take a fairly deep cut. The goal is to shape the strips not smooth them.

      Concentrate on keeping the edge of the plane in contact with the strip as you move it along the strip.

      Stop every 3 or 4 feet and use a pencil to clear the waste from the plane. Otherwise, it will not cut properly.

      Move the plane in the tool to cut in the opposite direction when it seems to be "digging in".

      Once in awhile the tiny adjustment that holds the plane blade may become loose. Check it at when you move the plane to cut in the opposite direction.

Be Well,

John Van Buren



John VanBuren

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 08:46

I forgot the most important item:

      I found that using witness marks or lines with a sharpy across the top of each strip already attached to the forms to be the best way of checking to find out if I have planed the surface correctly.

John VB


Tue, 06/09/2020 - 15:38

Thanks, John.

Good review and tips.

I've had a 'Robo' on my list for quite a while but never got around to actually ordering one. The plane goes out of stock at LeeValley sometimes, too.

What percentage of the strips are straight enough for the Robobevel to let the plane contact the strip edge?

I was thinking about the 'football' shape on the hull where the strips get quite curved with some hull shapes. I guess that's usually on a fairly flat area of the hull where a lot of bevel isn't needed.

I know the 'base' of the Robo has a curve, and I'm assuming Nick has figured out the optimum shape.

I bought the tool a year and a bit ago and still need to buy the plane. I plan to start using it when I begin my strip canoe project. Haven't decided which canoe to build yet. I want a cargo style canoe, relatively flat bottom, at leat 17 feet long, 30-36" beam...I plan to rig up a temp mast and rudder (thinking Vikibg side style) for those days when we care not to paddle but use the wind to easy effect. 

Robert N Pruden


I have just used the Robobevel in the "non-football" strips of the canoe thus far and found it works on over 95 % of the strips on this canoe.

I have some cove and bead edge strips leftover from another project I will be using on the footfall. So I will not be in a position to report on that aspect.

I found the curve on the base to be just right.  Also, the cutout in the center is a very useful handhold.

There is a learning curve but it is quite steep, And once you "get in the groove" the too; is a joy to use.

I hope this is useful,

John VB



Wed, 06/10/2020 - 15:37

I want to add my thanks for the review as I too have considered buying a robobevel.  Frankly, it sounds a little fussy to use.  While I built my first strip kayak recently (a Vember from CNC kayaks),  many (>30)  years ago I built about a dozen strip canoes for friends and family.   My initial boats were built by hand beveling strips using a block plane.  After a while I switched to cutting beads and coves.  This was itself a tedious process involving two routers in a jig to cut both simultaneously.    Since I was building mostly 17' canoes with 18' long cedar strips I had to do this outside (The neighbors were plenty annoyed).   While I still have the router bits the jig is long gone.

When I started the Vember build I returned to using a block plane to produce a rolling bevel.   I had totally forgotten how hard it was to do a good job. Since,  I was too far into the process to bring out the bead and cove bit set,  I switched to using my table saw to cut a bevel on each strip as needed.  Generally a 5 degree bevel was perfect though at the chine I switched to a 10 degree bevel.  While this crude approach does indeed result in some gaps on the inside of the boat near the bow and stern they get filled with epoxy during the glassing process.   After glassing they were totally invisible to me even before I put the deck on the boat.   As I am about to start another Vember build (the previous one was my wife's 70th birthday present) I was seriously considering purchasing a robobevel.   You just saved me a couple hundred dollars (bevel + plane).  Thanks.

I'll add to this thread.  I (FINALLY!) put the first strips on my Petrel Play.  I quickly learned the following:

  • There is more bevel needed then meets the eye at first glance - the post beveling fit is so much tighter.
  • It took two strips for me to "get in the groove," and John VB states.  For me, the key was to:
    • Concentrate on applying downward pressure as I moved the tool.  At first, I was so intent on keeping the tool pressed against the forms, that I was bowing the strips.  As a result, the robobevel deflected off the forms as I approached them.
    • The cedar is so soft that very little pressure is required.
  • Importantly, I did go back over each strip with a small blade to remove slivers or burrs that the shoulder plane missed whenever I slightly got off track.

Obviously, experience counts.  I have a few tiny gaps that I will fill later on, but I am amazed by how well the tool works.

On a different note, I was intent on avoiding staples, but I am building my kayak in the mezzanine of my manufacturing plant here in Southern California.  The temperature up there is often well over 100 degrees.  On Tuesday night I had the sheer strips glued to the forms and they were well afixed.  Yesterday afternoon, the heat was up and nearly all of the contact points became dislodged.  So, onto audible number 5 - staples it is!



   In one of my original postings, I used the term "steep learning curve".  To clear up any misunderstanding, what I meant was that one quickly learns how to use the tool. I did NOT intend it to mean that it was difficult to learn ho to use the tool.

Be well,

John VB


   In one of my original postings, I used the term "steep learning curve".  To clear up any misunderstanding, what I meant was that one quickly learns how to use the tool. I did NOT intend it to mean that it was difficult to learn how to use the tool.

Be well,

John VB