Monday, February 18, 2013

Buying a Draw Knife

Ray Iles Draw Knife
Well selecting a draw knife has to be one of the more difficult tool selections out there. Tons of conflicting info on what width, shape, handle style, handle angle, bevels, and whether you use it bevel up or down. I was going round and round looking at them from Barr, Lie-Nielsen, and Auriou for new ones plus a slew of vintage ones on eBay and other tool vendors. Confusion reigned.

I thought I wanted to get a new one but didn't really want to spend as much as some were. I was also concerned about buying a no-name that ended up being a draw knife shaped object. Finally I stumbled upon this one from Ray Iles at Tools for Working Wood. This is the small draw knife with a 6" edge and beech handles. Very reasonable price. I figured I'd give it a try since TFWW will make sure you are satisfied with whatever you buy from them. Well worth it.

Here's a couple of things I learned in the week I've been experimenting with this tool.
  • Another person's advice on a draw knife is nearly useless to you. It is a very personal tool and what works for them won't necessarily work for you.
  • You will figure out if you like to use it bevel up or down as you gain some time with it, currently I'm partial to this one bevel down.
  • A 6" up to about 9" is probably all you want for edge length if you aren't shaving bark off trees or building a log home. I had a 12" vintage one, this smaller one is much nicer in the shop.
  • Can't really speak to curved or straight, but straight was easy to sharpen well.
  • I like the handles on this one, the rounded ends nestle in the palm nicely for me. Can't say how they will be for you.
All in all I think I was lucky with this purchase, either that or I'm not ultra particular about this tool. I find this one comfortable and in my experiments I was able to trim to straight and curved lines with good control. I'm still learning about the tool but have had good success so far. My advice is buy one you think suits you and try to make friends with it for a while before you move on to another knife to try.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the insight. In the same situation and the advice on size was helpful too.