Once you learn how to tune a spokeshave and use it properly, it will be a tough tool to put down. I own more spokeshaves than some people consider normal. And I go both ways. I use them both bevel-up and bevel-down — for shaping chair spindles, cabriole legs and any manner of curved furniture parts.
Tuning and Using a Spokeshave - Canadian Woodworking Magazine
A spokeshave is essentially a plane with a very short sole and needs to be set up in a similar manner. The old Stanley I bought needed a lot of flattening of the casting that the blade clamps against. This is file work and not especially easy to do. In contrast I have a cigar shave made by Woodjoy tools and while it cost much more and took a little trial and error to learn to use, it was perfect and needed nothing but blade setting before it could be used. The flat section on the body of the cigar shave Goodell's patent spec calls it a face-bevel isn't a sole that lies flat against the wood at least not the way I use them. It is simply a cutaway that allows the blade access to the wood. At most the square edge of the flat section i.
Old Stanley spokeshave id and age, Stanley rule & level co
For those trained in an English tradition, it is a common, useful tool for gradual beveling of leather, especially around the turnins and caps. While a Scharfix or Brockman type paring machine is useful, you would have to do a lot of sanding if you want a long, gradual bevel found on English fine bindings, and for reducing thickness in the spine area. It is invaluable for conservation, because one can selectively pare areas to the precise thickness desired. In a pinch you could shape wooden boards with it.