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Drawknife Sharpening/Grinding - What bevel angle should I shoot for?

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Forum topic by Ocelot posted 02-25-2021 07:28 PM 584 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ocelot

2972 posts in 3689 days


02-25-2021 07:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drawknife grinding sharpening witherby winsted question

I now have 4 drawknives – ranging from 6” up to 14”.

The 8” one is a “modern” tool – looks like a close cousin to a lawnmower blade – crude, but the other 3 are old ones and are more elegant – made by Winsted Edge Tool Works under the Winsted and Witherby names.

The modern one that I bought new has a blade a full 1/4” thick, ground at 30 degrees.

The others vary. I noticed that Veritas new 4” drawknife, according to the web site is ground at 20 degrees.

What should I shoot for on the old ones?

Thanks,
-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.


14 replies so far

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them700project

300 posts in 2069 days


#1 posted 02-25-2021 08:19 PM

I would match the bevel that exists. I just ordered the veritas a couple days ago. This is a question that had been on my mind since ordering it.I would assume match the existing bevel and follow all other steps of a plane blade

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Ocelot

2972 posts in 3689 days


#2 posted 02-25-2021 08:37 PM

them700,

That little Veritas drawknife looks pretty sweet. Maybe someday I’ll get one too.

The existing bevel on these old tools have been ground sloppily for decades it looks like. There is no trace of the factory grind.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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SMP

3773 posts in 956 days


#3 posted 02-25-2021 08:48 PM

I believe most are 30 or 35 degrees, but the older ones tend to have a convex bevel that is hard to measure. If its working and just dull, i would follow Bens video here:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oQkHt1-8E8g

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therealSteveN

7463 posts in 1625 days


#4 posted 02-25-2021 09:26 PM

I never quite figured it out in years of playing with drawknifes, and all aren’t the exact same. So I bought one of Peter Galbraiths Drawsharps. I got mine when they had the initial roll out. Love it, always perfect edges, and in hardly any time. I used to put off cleaning them up like I do with chisels and plane blades. Keeping them tweaked makes all the work easier. and to do so only takes a few minutes. Rehabbing an old knife takes a while, but once you have them usable to keep them that way is a few minutes.

https://www.benchcrafted.com/drawsharp

Video below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8AiS9zlRwk

-- Think safe, be safe

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Ocelot

2972 posts in 3689 days


#5 posted 02-25-2021 09:38 PM

That drawsharp looks pretty nice, but $89 is more than I paid for my most expensive drawknife. Maybe I can improvise something like it.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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jacww

78 posts in 2058 days


#6 posted 02-25-2021 11:24 PM

Chair maker Curtis Buchanan has a couple of videos on YouTube about sharpening drawknives. It’s been awhile since I watched them but his process is pretty easy.

They are easy to find with YouTube seaech.

TonyC

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Ocelot

2972 posts in 3689 days


#7 posted 02-25-2021 11:28 PM

Thanks, TonyC. I’ll check it out when I’m at home… to which I shouild be going now!

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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Foghorn

1143 posts in 437 days


#8 posted 02-26-2021 12:21 AM



them700,

That little Veritas drawknife looks pretty sweet. Maybe someday I ll get one too.

The existing bevel on these old tools have been ground sloppily for decades it looks like. There is no trace of the factory grind.

-Paul

- Ocelot


I have one of those and yes, it is a sweet tool for guitar necks and the odd axe or hammer handle.

-- Darrel

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Ocelot

2972 posts in 3689 days


#9 posted 02-26-2021 02:49 AM

I’ve had another look at the drawsharp, and concluded that it is an excellent thing. Pity it’s so expensive.

I guess I’m going to have to decide how much I want sharp drawknives. One shortcoming of it is that it rides on the spine of the knife, so you have to spend some time making the spine straight and smooth if you want a straight and smooth cutting edge. Chris Schwartz reviewed it and admitted that he couldn’t use it on his grandfather’s drawknife because the spine was too beaten up.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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jdh122

1232 posts in 3868 days


#10 posted 02-26-2021 02:52 PM

I know this is not an answer to your original question, but I use my Worksharp3000 for drawknives.
Really does a great job as long as you are a fan of a chisel edge, flat bevel rather than a knife edge. Not everyone is, specifically if you use the drawknife bevel-up you need some relief on the flat side.
Just checked my four drawknives (two French-style with the egg-shaped handles – on from LV and one from a flea market during travels in France – and two from local flea markets possibly left over from the heyday of wooden boatbuidling here) and all are close to 30 degrees.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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them700project

300 posts in 2069 days


#11 posted 02-26-2021 03:57 PM

This just came with the veritas drawknife

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Ocelot

2972 posts in 3689 days


#12 posted 02-26-2021 04:37 PM

Thanks guys. The Veritas with PMV-11 and all that would be a special case, I figured. But it’s interesting to know that they suggest increasing to 25 degrees if there is trouble.

Jeremy,

I decided to shoot for less than 30 and add a “microbevel” or more likely convex grind if needed.

I started working on two of them.

Saturday, I think it was, I finally worked up the nerve to grind the bevel of the 10” winsted on my 6” wide belt sander. It was needed because some previous owner had ground a back bevel on it. I needed to take about 1/16” off the entire length of the blade to remove the back bevel. Now the blade is about 1 1/16” wide. There is plenty of hard steel there, so no problem. This went well as it is a straight knife and the 6” wide belt sander kept it that way, but I think I left the bevel too steep. It is convex because that’s the way it will come out when you free-hand it. That’s why I originally posted this question.

Last night I worked some on my 6” Witherby, which is a very nice knife, about 1 1/4” wide and with a curved edge. It is slightly hollow-ground on the back, which helps. It too had a bevel more than 30 degrees at the edge and I am trying to make it more shallow with a small e-z-lap pocket diamond stone (medium grit). When I make it all the way to the edge, I intend to finish with a 1” wide ultra-fine e-z-lap pocket stone. These stones ride the curved edge ok.

I looked at some of the videos you guys suggested. The Curtis Buchanan chairmaker and one other showed hollow-grinding the back using a bench grinder. I think I will do that to my 10” Winsted, but use the end (cylindrical part) of the belt sander. Hollow grinding the back is an effect like a Japanese chisel which makes it less work with the fne stones when working the back. I intend to stay 1/4” or 3/16” away from the cutting edge, so that part will be flattened along with a bit of the spine when I work the back with flat stones.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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Bearcontrare

108 posts in 187 days


#13 posted 02-26-2021 06:09 PM

Windsor Chairmaker Michael Dunbar writes in his book, that he clamps a drawknife handle in a metal vise with the bezel facing upward. He grasps the other handle with one hand and CAREFULLY sharpens the bezel using a whetstone.
Dunbar advises against grinding, as it usually does more harm to the tool than good.

-- Barry, in Maryland

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Ocelot

2972 posts in 3689 days


#14 posted 02-26-2021 06:12 PM

I certainly would prefer not to grind.. especially not on my bench grinder, which is fit only for lawn mower blades.

The belt sander hardly heated the blade at all – just warm, and did a fairly quick job of removing the erroneous back bevel.

Many knive makers seem to use 1” belt sanders. Mafe sharpens his drawknives with one.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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