How to Sharpen a Draw Knife

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A drawknife is a shaping tool used when making hand-split shingles and other flat-surface items. A sharp drawknife is a smooth-cutting wonder. A dull drawknife is useless, as its effectiveness depends on whether the bottom edge of the blade is completely flat. There are also special-purpose drawknives with curved blades to fit inside barrels, wagon wheels and bowls.

Things You'll Need

  • Clamps
  • Workbench
  • Whetstone
  • Penetrating oil
  • Clean rags
  • Clamp the blade to the edge of your workbench with its angled side up, so that the flat blade edge overlaps the edge of the bench. Shenandoah National Park volunteer Patrick Wilson recommends marking the blade's bevel before you begin, so that you have a visual cue of your sharpening progress.

  • Using the coarse side of a whetstone, rough-sharpen this side by laying the stone flat on the existing bevel and drawing the stone away from the blade edge. Dieter Schmid Fine Tools recommends a 1000- to 1200-grit stone for coarse sharpening. Continue until you can feel a sharp burr on the underside of the blade edge along its complete length.

  • Clamp the blade to your bench with its flat side facing the ceiling. Lay the coarse side of the whetstone flat and sharpen in a smooth circular motion until the burr edge is on the other side of the blade.

  • Flip the blade again and repeat Step 2, using the fine side of the whetstone until there is only a fine burr on the opposite side. Dieter Schmid Fine Tools advises using a 4000- to 6000-grit whetstone for this step.

  • Flip the blade again and repeat Step 3 with the fine side of the whetstone, until there is only a razor sharp edge with no burr. Clean the blade with penetrating oil and a clean rag. Wipe away any excess oil.

References

  • Photo Credit oil and grindstone image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com
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