August 23, 2011

Drawknife
Photo by Jim Ruen
My drawknife is one tool that has blown away my expectations of it.

It’s great finding that tool you’ve been wanting. It is even greater when you get to put it to use and it does what you expected and more. That was the case the other day when I needed to bring a 4×4 post down 1/4 inch on two sides. My new (old) drawknife came to the rescue.

We needed a new post for hanging bird feeders and had picked up an 8-foot 4×4 at the local lumberyard. In order to fit it in the supports, I needed to shave it down a bit. I could have used a handsaw or a wood chisel—either one would have been a fine alternative. However, I remembered the drawknife I had recently picked up at an antique store.

For years I had looked at drawings or photos of craftsmen using drawknives. Occasionally, I’d seen them in tool catalogs. The twin-handled blade seemed to have an intrinsic value. You might say I was “drawn” to them. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.)

Drawknives come in many styles with blades of every shape. Mine is straight with the handles offset just enough to make a good pull. It does have a few knicks in it, and it’s quite dull. I didn’t dress them out completely before use, but I did sharpen up the edge.

Once I had the post crudely braced, I set to with the drawknife. The wood shavings were large and peeled away like cheese under a knife. In a minute or two, I had the 1/4 inch off of each of the two sides. It went so easy and so fast, I was almost disappointed to be finished.

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