Sharpen a Drawknife

The biggest obstacle to mastering this traditional tool is getting it razor sharp.
By Scott Gibson
Pages: 72-75

From the April 2006 issue #154
Buy this issue now

If you visited a crafts school that specialized in traditional woodworking, you’d almost certainly run across at least one student seated at a shaving horse, drawknife in hand, coaxing a chair leg out of a length of green hardwood. Chairmakers are among the fi rst to sing the praises of this uncomplicated but versatile hand tool, but it’s only one of many trades that has put it to good use.

Once available with blades in many different lengths and in a variety of straight and curved patterns, drawknives have been used to make everything from ship masts and barrel staves to gunstocks, wheel spokes and wooden shovels. Some patterns disappeared long ago, along with the trades that used them. For example, you won’t find a crumming knife (a cooper’s tool for shaping staves) at your local Ace hardware. But drawknives are still available from mail-order suppliers and having one around is an advantage even if it’s used only for fi tting an occasional hammer handle or sculpting the edge of a tabletop. They are also fairly safe to use, making them a good choice for children who are just learning how to use hand tools.

From the April 2006 issue #154
Buy this issue now