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DrawKnives - What's good for axe handles

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by OutdoorEnvy, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy

    308
    Nov 22, 2011
    Hey Folks, I've got some questions on drawknives for those of you that use them. I'm wanting to get one to use mostly on axe handles. Pretty much thinning handles and some shaping. I'd like to carve one start to finish one day but will work my way to that. So my questions are below. I'm wanting to get an older one, probably off the bay unless I can find one locally.

    Edge length? I was thinking around 7-10" but wasn't sure
    Straight or curved blade? I was thinking straight but want to hear from experienced users
    Brand? Are pretty much any of the older ones good, or are there a few brands I should be on the lookout for?

    thanks if advance
     
  2. utah_fish

    utah_fish Gold Member Gold Member

    840
    Oct 21, 2011
    Glad you brought this up. I have one I want to thin down and want to pick up whatever pointers I can, including the best tools to use.
     
  3. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
  4. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Until you get proficient with a drawknife it might be easier to start off with a spokeshave. I use one. Whatever you do don't tangle with a good or expensive piece of wood first time around; there's lots to learn about direction of the grain and maintaining proper angle etc.
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Agreed. And even after you're proficient with a draw knife you'll want to do most of your work with a spokeshave. I think most of us are using the Stanley No. 151 spokeshave.
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  6. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy

    308
    Nov 22, 2011
    Thanks for the advice guys. Didn't think to try a spokeshave. That might be the way to go.
     
  7. Kingsize

    Kingsize

    15
    Mar 29, 2013
    Good info. I really could have used one in a few instances lately. Which is the one to look for? 151M, 151R? Or does it even matter?
     
  8. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Mine is neither an M nor an R. Works fine. [​IMG]
     
  9. Kingsize

    Kingsize

    15
    Mar 29, 2013
    Good deal, Thanks! I just picked up one flat and one round bottom today. Can't wait to try them out.
     
  10. sashae

    sashae

    73
    Feb 2, 2013
  11. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    I like spoke shaves also. But for axe handles I will pick up a four inch draw knife over the spoke shave almost every time. I can do so much more with it than I can with a spoke shave and faster. It never clogs, I don't have to adjust it. I have a better feel with it, so that if I start to get tear out I can come in from the other direction. I can see what I am doing with it better also.
    Mine looks kind of like this one.
    [​IMG]
    Truth is though I can be done faster and do a better job with a rasp, file and scrapers. Ran in that order.
    But it can be relaxing to make shavings, and I like to just use different tools sometimes.
    Lots of different ways to thin a handle.
    Have fun.
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  12. CedarEater

    CedarEater

    354
    Aug 31, 2012
    Agreed, although I start with a sureform then move onto the rasp, etc. for thinning a commercially produced haft.

    I do use drawknives and spokeshaves when making helves from scratch to varying degrees depending on the material I am working with.
     
  13. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    I never have tried sureforms. Don't know why, I just never have. If I want to get rid of a lot of material in a hurry I will grab the farrier's rasp, then a 149 nicholson.
    I don't use dull worn out rasps that trimmed to many hoofs either. Same with files, if its been used on metal its no good for wood.

    I might give the sureforms ago some time, I know they are very popular. Must be a reason.
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  14. lovetohaft

    lovetohaft

    43
    Nov 28, 2012
    I prefer longer bladed draw knifes because I use a horizontal slicing motion in conjunction with a pulling motion and the longer blades allow more of a side to side motion for the length of the pull stroke. As far a particular brands my favorites are Witherbys, especially in the 10-12" straight bladed models.

    You didn't mention a shave horse but if you're going to use a draw knife you have to have a means to secure your work piece. I have a large pattern makers vise as well as a 6" Wilton machinist vise and a large Parks vise but nothing beats a shave horse for working wood with a draw knife. I made a shave horse one afternoon last year when the guys were putting down subflooring using scrap material from the jobsite. It certainly isn't a traditional design nut it certainly works great. I'll try to post some pics.

    Steve

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/11145058583/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/11144924466/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/11144957484/
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  15. mewolf1

    mewolf1 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 24, 2005
  16. lovetohaft

    lovetohaft

    43
    Nov 28, 2012
    Thanks for the heads up, didn't notice that it wasn't set up for public viewing.

    Steve
     
  17. Skiv

    Skiv

    157
    Feb 21, 2006
    Was just finishing a handle for an old swamping axe yesterday and pulled out the spokeshave I picked up at the tool store. I've been looking for a decent used one but had to settle for an indecent new one -- "cast-iron body and high-carbon steel blade" but it was only $20. (Because I'm basically not a patient man. I want it now! But I know that the winter solstice is bringing me a nice Veritas flat spokeshave with a PM-V11 blade...)

    So...first thing, never trust an edge you didn't put on yourself. Pulled out a couple stones and started to lap the back of the blade. $%&@ my "calibrated eyeballs"...the stone said it was nearly U-shaped. :p Once I had it lapped I honed the bevel. That killed half an hour or so. Then had to clean all the packing grease out of the blade slot and clean up some rough spots on the body.

    But after an hour or so of fiddling: zoopa, zoopa, zoopa and I was making nice little shavings. I could get to likin' this tool, once I get one with a blade that isn't Rc17. :D

    I also have my Dad's old drawknife -- not as nice as the one illustrated -- I think it's a Craftsman. I think I only ever saw him use it to hack the bottom off a door that was rubbing the sillplate. Once I've got some ash billets in, I'll probably use it for rough shaping some handles. I've got two handles left to do and the spokeshaves are all I'll need to finish them (well, and a rasp and rat-tail, some sandpaper and a little linseed oil).

    Pix eventually -- the handle's drinking oil like it was Free Beer Night and the head needs a little attention. Probaby use it to take down a Dougie that's crowdin' a pine tree in the front acreage, then drag the top of that sucker up to the house and park it in the living room for a couple weeks.
     
  18. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Colloquially expressed but great post! [​IMG]

    Gettin' cold up there in Resume Speed yet?
     
  19. Skiv

    Skiv

    157
    Feb 21, 2006
    Thanks!

    Not really. It's -7 right now, heading for a high of -6. (That's 20F heading up to 21.) We may hit -18C/0F Friday night which is gettin' a mite chilly to be working in an unheated shop. I think the coldest I've ever seen it in 10 years here (the 10 warmest years in the history of the planet) is -28C/-18F for just one day. Having been places it gets colder, I don't complain about these balmy temperatures. (I also don't intend to move back to the cold any time soon.)
     

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