How To Use A Draw Knife

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There are a number of draw knives, each modelled to suit its purpose. There are curved draw knives, straight drawknives, both long and short and thick and thin bladed as well.

As you chose a draw knife, consider the intended use so that you get the most appropriate.

For woodworking, a draw knife is physically demanding and when used properly can be the most efficient tool.

How To Use A Draw Knife

For better control and hold, make sure your grip is by both hands; that why it has two handles. The bevel should face upwards.

Change grip with bevel facing downwards. Draw knives are used with flat sides down to ensure a finer cut.

If you prefer using your drawknife with the bevel down, you are likely to get a more aggressive slicing.

The more you tilt the draw knife, the finer and deeper the shave compared to when you hold the draw knife flat against the wood.

For a more intense cut, use the bevel up and for a scooping action use a bevel down. The latter will give you more control over the depth of the cut.

This position prevents the slicing of the blade into the wood unnecessarily.

However, there are draw knives that are fashioned to work one-way. The handles are angled in such a way that they only support either the bevel up or downwards only.

The most recommended position is to be seated astride the log you are either shaving or debarking. This position gives you more control especially through your legs.

Standing is also an option; however, your whole body comes to play.

Your whole body will move according to the direction you choose to move the draw knife; towards yourself or away.

How To Use A Draw Knife On A Log

Depending on the size of the log, choose a draw knife that works for you. Fist, ensure your log is well positioned and steady to give you an easy time.

The position you hold the draw knife depends on the intensity of cut you wish to make.

For a cleaner shave, hold it at an angle and for a light shave; hold it flat against the log. You can also create a rustic finish with a draw knife.

How To Use A Draw Knife To Remove Bark

Debarking is done best during spring when the trees are growing. Such a time has the bark moist underneath hence making debarking effortless.

Have the log steady so it does not roll, sit or stand over it and make your cut. You will decide the kind of cut you want, for a cleaner shave, keep it angled to about 30 degrees.

A curved draw knife is most recommended for debarking.


How To Use A Curved Draw Knife

Generally, curved draw knives are more expensive than straight draw knives. A curved draw knife is light, gives more grip and control.

It is suitable for making deeper cuts and debarking when compared to a straight one.

There is no big difference when using one of these, the right position, hold and grip will give you results.


Frequent maintenance routines are recommended for durability and efficiency purposes. Working with a blunt draw knife can be very unpleasant.

Similarly, an over sharpened blade may interfere greatly with your work. Sharpen your draw knife depending on what you are using it for and how frequently you use it.

You can use a grit sharpening stone or a file to sharpen or sharpening machines. This is the most crucial maintenance routine for your draw knife.

Learn to sharpen or seek professionals if you are an amateur in wood working. Oil the wooden handles occasionally.

There really is no one ‘right’ way around draw knives, whatever method that works with you is the best as long as you master it and your craft will be in check.

Too fast and too deep will surely damage the wood; diligence is the secret with draw knives.