Drawknife from a file #3: general assembly

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Blog entry by RobynHoodridge posted 03-16-2013 06:22 PM 2498 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: roughing out the blade form Part 3 of Drawknife from a file series no next part

With the blade form created (see the previous installment of this series); and the handles planned (see the installment before that), i set about adding handles and creating, essentially, a functional drawknife.



Three millimeter thick, 20 mm wide, mild steel flat-bar was bent into the shape informed by the prototype i had made in acrylic plastic. And these steel-strip-handles were riveted to the file-derived-blade.

The rivets were brass machine-screws which i ground the thread off of to bring them to the diameter of the holed, and to somewhat individually shape for the somewhat varying holes as handles and blade aligned imperfectly.

The softer mild steel of the handles was countersunk for the screw heads. And the heads were beaten into place to ensure full fitting. The excess was ground away when the other side had also been beaten to set the rivet.

On one end of the drawknife (ie: in the case of one of the handles) i went through the time consuming process of thinning one of the ends of the flat-bar handles to fit into a groove cut in the blade. On the other end i used the approach of simply stacking the flat-bar of the handle on top of the blade with a rivet through the stack.

On the side which could not be countersunk for the tapered heads of rivets i simply pounded upon the rivets which were cut a little longer than to sit flush with the surface of the blade. This expanded them within the hole. So that when i ground off the pummeled excess rivet material (which you might leave in place to act as a ‘head’ on that end of the rivet) they would still be set in place.

Then i cut the excess from the flat-bar of the handles at the meeting with the blade, and rounded over square and sharp edges.

The joint using alternate layering of handle and blade (“dovetailed”) definately is a better system. It relies on friction between the meeting surfaces of these layers as much as the rivet to lock the handle firmly in place. But it’s a lot of effort to go to. And the simpler method creates a functional joint. So i’m not convinced it’s worth it. Let’s see how they hold up to use though.

The tool works wonderfully. The ‘vertical’ handles really do position one’s hands more naturally. And they rotate within this grip when you want them to, in order to alter the side to side angle of attack of the blade. I’ve also discovered a way that the shape of the handle makes it possible to use the knife ‘bevel-down’ with slightly less but still reasonable comfort and control. But more on this in another installment in this blog series.
Also to come, i will have to add fittings to the simple flat-bar handles to make them less aggressive on the hands. You can see in some of the photos above that i simply taped over some fabric wrapped around the flat-bar, in order to test the tool. But i always envisioned wooden “semi circles” riveted to the flats (as many kitchen knives have).
I’m thinking of ways to cover the blade too. In starage and transport, mostly to stop people from removing body parts when they inevitably touch it. I’ve pondered upon using velcro to sort of sandwich the blade between hook and loop strips. If i can find velcro wide enough, the blade cover could be as simple as a length of velcro over the file-derived part of the drawknife, with enough overhang to attach to the opposing strip covering the other side of the blade.

-- Never is longer than forever.

2 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4009 days

#1 posted 03-16-2013 07:07 PM

Maybe bicycle handlebar tape on the handles? It comes with double sided tape to keep it in place.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View RobynHoodridge's profile


127 posts in 3340 days

#2 posted 03-16-2013 07:57 PM

Having the padded, squishy, comfortable, feeling of the built-up fabric over the handles it’s very tempting to simply add something like that. Also, No shaping and riveting required. Something in me wants to avoid squishy though. As if it would reduce crisp control, especially of the up-down angle of the blade (and allow “dive” into the wood, etc.) But now that i think about it that probably wouldn’t be the case. Especially on a ‘perpendicular’ handle over an in-line one, where the covering would have to move up and down to affect the blade’s angle of attack. I mean i haven’t noticed a difference in playing with it when it has and hasn’t had the temporary padding in place. And with handlebar tape there wouldn’t be too much squish, so it might just be perfect. Thanks for the suggestion.

-- Never is longer than forever.

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