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recommendation on draw knifes for peeling  RSS feed

 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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I would like some feedback, on the subject of draw knifes. My main use would be for striping bark, off lengths of logs to be used for roundwood framing. Price is not an issue. I want the best possible, within reason, to make my life easy. It will probably be put to use, later for smaller roundwood furniture projects as well.
 
Michael Bushman
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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As someone who teaches woodworking for pay and teaches both hand and machinetool, the way to make ANY woodworking tool work well has FAR more to do with learning to sharpen than it does the quality of the steel or anything else. Modern steel is hands down better than older steel so there is no magic to antique tools other than price.

The tradeoff with blades is harder edges as are often found on Japanese tools hold an edge longer but are you pay for that in labor while resharpening and western, especially vintage tools, are softer and the edge wears a BIT faster but sharpen quicker. Considering the price of Japanese tools, they are more fetish than practical for most tasks.

So, buy yourself Inexpensive $40 King 1,000/4,000 grit waterstone and learn to sharpen your tools. You can go all out and buy a Norton one bigger surface but $65 and higher quality but the cheaper one will last just as long. Learning to sharpen is THE most critical woodworking skill, all others stem from that ability and without you can never do fine work.

Look on Ebay to see examples and for $30 bucks you can get ones with LOTS of blade life left and check out the antique stores but they are often overpriced.

Remember, that a draw knife is a fracking HAZARD, 8" to 12" inch long RAZOR sharp blade with NO protection and if it isn't sharp enough to cut your flesh deeply with just the slightest touch, it isn't sharp enough for wood. WATCH videos of how to use one.

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Chad,

I have and still like old antique ones myself, like my A.J. Wilkinson Folding Drawknife, because they seem to take and hold an edge longer in my experience than modern production types. As for current makes and models of similar worth I would recommend any of the following in no order.

BUFFALO TOOL FORGE Hand Tools - Drawknives

Dieter Schmid offered selection of Drawknives

CARIBOO BLADES

Barr Tools

Lie Nielsen

Lee Valley selection

Janis Forge If you want something custom and a great price, my friend Janis is a wonderful young and talented Smith...

For finer work like furniture a varied set of travishers is strongly recommended over a "draw knife." Draw knives can do fine work, but they are really meant for "roughing in" work and not the delicacies of tasks that the travisher (and spokeshave) are meant for.

There are varieties from Japan that I very much love, but is probably beyond the scope of this conversation...

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Hi Michael,

I agree with the perspective of "sharpening," as without mastering this...there really isn't any "edged" tool that will be of use for very long...

I would recommend to Chad a mix of the "old" and the "new" here with Japanese water stones and modern diamond being a good complement to one another in both speed and quality of edge. I would also learn the difference between "sharpening" and "honing" as well as the many subtleties within the different methods...from understanding "micro bevels" to importance of a "wire edge formation" while sharpening. Practice will teach you as much as a book can. I typically go from 97 µ down to 0.5 µ depending on application and condition of blade edge. Most only need a slight "hone" for most work, then after several of these a sharpening to reset the macro and micro bevels. For my "drawknives" I never go less than 20 µ.

Michael Bushman wrote:Modern steel is hands down better than older steel so there is no magic to antique tools other than price.


Hmmmm....Perhaps we could look at that as a "subjective perspective," as this just hasn't been my experience at all...

I think most of my teachers, and many of the Smiths I know that teach traditional metal work would...at best...say that some modern metals are equal to vintage varieties. Modern alloys are "consistent" in their general matrix more than many "older steels" that I agree with. I don't mean to suggest that all modern alloys are less than their predecessors either, or don't have there place...they do. Such as PM-V11 steel from Veritas that are incredible in their application and type, yet these will never compare to the quality and function of Japanese white and blue steels within their laminated configurations....

The Japanese 鍛冶 "Tan'ya" (Blacksmith) have probably, more than any other metal working culture, reached a zenith in the craft of smithing that only others could hope to match. Of all that I have discussed this subject with and observed, over the years that fashion wood working tools...they still favor and find superior the old methods and materials. This is why "iron sand" is still harvested traditionally and ancient ship anchor chain is sought out for their laminated 鉋 kanna (Plane) and 鑿 nomi (chisel) and other woodworking tools made of traditional 白紙 "Shirogami" (white steel) and 青紙 "Aogami" (blue steel.) These are sought after and found superior in all manner from anyone that I know that used them. Other than "knapped" obsidian, I personally don't know of a sharper edge that is also the most durable over time and use.

Michael Bushman wrote:The tradeoff with blades is harder edges as are often found on Japanese tools hold an edge longer but are you pay for that in labor while resharpening and western, especially vintage tools, are softer and the edge wears a BIT faster but sharpen quicker. Considering the price of Japanese tools, they are more fetish than practical for most tasks.


Perhaps this is a perspective of some, but this is not what I have ever found in any of my Japanese tools compared to those like a good "Buck" or "Witherby." It is more the quality of the stone, and modality of sharpening, in my experience. I can sharpen one of my my blue or white steel chisels or plane blades much faster than my Veritus or "Barr" Chisel steels. I would also suggest that the "perspective" of a Japanese tools being "fetishes" is again a very subjective view. I have used Japanese tools for over 30 years, and there prices (if one looks for them) can be along the lines of any quality hand tool in price. If one shops for them well...even much less expensive...compared to quality...
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 311
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Thank you both. And jay, keen and prompt as always. Im still looking, waiting for the right tool to call my name. I apriciate the sharpening advice. I have a fair amount of experience from working in a woodshop, but we never or rarely used anything but small chisels for relief. it is always nice to hear some outsider advice.

Now for bragging.

I am proud to announce, i officaly am a proud owner of my own beautiful 16 acres.
i did not expect to buy a ready made home, but luckily i found a home built by an artist, and built to have all the amenities, and conveniences, but ready to go off grid.
There is plently i still need to build.
And also a proud owner or my first chisels, 70 bucks for all three. Flea market. Ohio king, forged. Got a lot of plans, but those are for another post.

P.s. the furniture aspect would be for, over sized rough, outdoor 2-4 inch round wood patio type furniture. Rustic trail benches and tables, as an example


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Jay C. White Cloud
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Congratulations Chad...I am very please for you...!!

Land and house to call home...now some projects to build I am sure...

Great tools, I have a "O.K." antique chisel floating around here someplace and have seen a fair number of them over they years...especially the corner chisels which seem to be excellent in condition and edge quality compared to many contemporary versions. Very hard working tools and a real asset to cutting any mortise out...

I would note that nothing beat gouges (even "V" style gouges like 90° corner chisels) for speed of cutting. In all my years of traditional woodworking and timber framing...gouges of all variety...are what I reach for most in the "meat and potatoes" of a day's task of mortising and carving. I seem to find "flat chisels" for only finish clean up and parring work...My old teacher told me they could tells if someone has trained with a "vintage traditional woodworker" or a contemporary teacher by what chisel they use the most and how they employ them. You will love that corner chisel the more you use it, and if you can find a nice set of large to small gouges...all the better for fast timber framing and other woodworking work!

Great to read you good news, and thanks for sharing it! Look forward to reading about intended projects.

Regards,

j
 
Eric Materne
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Not intending to divert you from finding a good drawknife but I'd like to suggest one of these for peeling logs. It works great at least on pine I haven't tested it yet on hardwoods. If you can elevate your logs to about knee high it saves you backache and keeps you up off of the logs. You don't get covered in sap. I think it's proper name is a "slick" I call mine BACH.
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Mike Cantrell
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Eric Materne wrote: I think it's proper name is a "slick" I call mine BACH.


A "slick" is a very wide chisel. I think you're probably fine calling that one a slick. For the sake of anybody else reading this who needs to go searching and find one, I've seen them more often called a "spud" in the context of peeling logs.

 
Bill Erickson
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Mike Cantrell wrote:
Eric Materne wrote: I think it's proper name is a "slick" I call mine BACH.


A "slick" is a very wide chisel. I think you're probably fine calling that one a slick. For the sake of anybody else reading this who needs to go searching and find one, I've seen them more often called a "spud" in the context of peeling logs.



I would call that a "spud" as well. As long as it does what you want I guess it doesn't matter what you call it. I think Bach is a fine name for something that makes music with the wood! LOL
 
Morpheus Being
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I have lots of white cypress (native) that need peeling before use or insects get under bark and destroy the timber. I had a broken trailer leaf spring. All I did was weld a piece of tube on each at 90 degrees to long axis of spring to make a handle each end, then with angle grinder, sharpened back of curve. Touch up every so often with file or grinder to remove any bigger nicks. Works fine, especially if log lifted off ground onto truck tray or back of ute.
 
alex Keenan
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Eric Materne wrote:Not intending to divert you from finding a good drawknife but I'd like to suggest one of these for peeling logs. It works great at least on pine I haven't tested it yet on hardwoods. If you can elevate your logs to about knee high it saves you backache and keeps you up off of the logs. You don't get covered in sap. I think it's proper name is a "slick" I call mine BACH.


Decades ago I remember seeing a Slick type chisel hooked up to a air impact hammer.
You just ran the chesil edge along the log and it peeled like butter.
The guy who used it had welded the slick on to chisel used on air hammer.
He made several so he just swapped them out as he used them.
At the end of the peeling he cleaned theim with terpintine and sharpened them for the next use.
 
Devin Lavign
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Personally I prefer not having to draw knife a log. If you fell a tree in the right season for your area you can actually peel the bark in large sheets, or even the entire log all at once. This optimal time is iduring the spring, when the sap is starting to flow heavily to reinvigorate the tree and start new growth.

Here is some good videos about the subject.





The channel BTW has some great info and is just fun to watch his cabin progress, well worth watching his other videos.
 
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