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Forum topic by Kv0nT posted 305 days ago 773 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kv0nT

82 posts in 752 days


305 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: drawknife greenwood spindle table butternut

I have seen numerous demonstrations from windsor chair makers on the glories of drawknives. However, they tend to exclusively work in green wood.

I want to shape a number of spindles and 4 table legs out of dried butternut. Is this stupid? Is there a trick to using a drawknife on dry wood? Is one drawknife better for dry wood and another more suited for green wood?

Any advice will be much appreciated.

-Kevin

PS am I up sh*t creek without a shavehorse either way?


9 replies so far

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jap

1225 posts in 679 days


#1 posted 305 days ago

I’m pretty sure drawknives work best with green wood. But there’s no harm in trying.

-- Joel

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3404 posts in 2586 days


#2 posted 305 days ago

Most of the time I use my knife with the bevel down and the blade skewed a bit to make slicing cuts. Sometimes the wood won’t cooperate, so it’s bevel up time. Ya just gotta feel your way thru the wood.
A SHARP blade is a must.
And be careful.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Dallas

2865 posts in 1112 days


#3 posted 305 days ago

Maybe a drawknife for rough work and a spoke shave for fine work?

No need for a shave horse, but it does make the work much easier.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1577 days


#4 posted 305 days ago

Butternut is pretty soft wood. I made a cradle from butternut a while back. I was pretty surprised how soft it is, especially given it is in the walnut family. You should have no issues shaping it with a drawknife.

You can use pretty much use any vice and do your work with a drawknife. The down side is it will take much longer than having a shaving horse setup.

-- Mike

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Kv0nT

82 posts in 752 days


#5 posted 305 days ago

Thanks for the feedback. I just ordered an Auriou 9” curved drawknife. While I’m waiting for it to arrive I’m going to make a shave pony. It just looks like way too much work to shave out of a vice alone.

View xwingace's profile

xwingace

204 posts in 1214 days


#6 posted 305 days ago

I’ve been working a dry hickory bowstave with the drawknife. It works, but you gotta keep it sharp! That and take small bites. The main thing is practice, you might want to play with some scrap first.

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

351 posts in 1443 days


#7 posted 305 days ago

A drawknife definitely works best in green wood – but traditionally coopers did almost all of the shaping of staves with a drawknife, and they work in exceedingly dry wood. As Bill says you’ll get nicer cuts if you skew the blade a bit and slide it not only toward yourself (if on a shaving horse) but also from side to side.
I’ve found that bevel up/down mostly depends on how the handles are attached. Any knife can be used in either configuration, but if the handles are in line with the blade it will be very awkward and uncomfortable to use bevel-up for any length of time.
Go from square to octagon (I use Pythagoras to calculate the distance in from the edge and then use a marking gauge) and then round it.
You can definitely do it with a vice, but I think you’ve made the right decision to make a shaving horse. Plus you may get addicted to drawknifing…
You’ll need to clean up the pieces with a spokeshave, as Dallas mentioned. You could probably sand or scrape instead, but spokeshaves are much nicer to use. I thought I needed a concave shave and bought a nice one from Veritas, but have pretty much decided that it can all be done with a regular straight, flat-soled one and rarely use the concave one at all. Also, a drawknife can only be pulled toward you, and as you get closer to the final dimension there are places where you’ll have to push to avoid tearout (close to the ends where you can’t turn it around and still have purchase in the horse). Spokeshaves can be pushed.
Have fun…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Tim's profile

Tim

1240 posts in 587 days


#8 posted 303 days ago

I read an opinion that the utility of shave horses has been blown way out of proportion and that all the turning and moving wastes time and thus it would have wasted money so a vice is better. I was surprised by the opinion but it was some fairly renowned woodworker, and now I can’t recall who it was or where I read it. To me the shave horse seems to be able to do anything the vice can, you don’t have to move the work often, but it is quicker when you want to.

View Kv0nT's profile

Kv0nT

82 posts in 752 days


#9 posted 299 days ago

Well the shave pony works great. Unfortunately I cut myself on my new draw knife about 2 minutes after I took it out of the box. That thing is piano wire sharp.

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