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JOEL Joel's Blog

Announcing the Gramercy Tools Spoonmaker's Drawknife


Announcing the Gramercy Tools Spoonmaker's Drawknife 1
This year Covid-19 really took a toll on our ability to develop new tools. Our manufacturing was shut down for 3 months and with it any chance of prototyping or making fixtures and tooling. So it gives us great pleasure to announce that we managed to get something out the door and we have a new Gramercy Tool ready to go.

The Gramercy Tools Spoonmaker's Drawknife was inspired by a tiny drawknife found in an 1100 year old Saxon tomb. We think (and our guess here is as good as anyone's) that the tang on a regular drawknife broke, and in a time when iron was expensive and hard to work, it made good sense to modify what remained of the drawknife to preserve its use and even make it more portable. A reproduction of this Saxon drawknife made its way onto the cover of a book "Saxon Tools" by Dennis Riley, but try as I might I was unable to get an image of the original find.

The book cover that launched a thousand drawknives
The book cover that launched a thousand drawknives

We took the basic concept of a round-handled drawknife and adapted it to a narrow drawknife that has great action for working tight concave curves. The absence of big handles that can get in the way also means the drawknife is also very portable. The round handle holes are a little more responsive, stronger, and less pinchy than a bent rounded tang. The actual cutting blade is a hair over 2" and the width of the blade is only 9/16", which is why is is so good for small work. You use the shave by clasping it between thumb and forefinger and either pulling or pushing. It is sort of like a long knife but you have leverage on both sides.

We found that with smaller work such as spoons, you are almost always working near a clamp of some sort, and not having extended handles is therefore a massive boon. We also found the overall profile small enough with enough clearance with the handles to allow you to use it in either direction without moving the work.

The drawknife is entirely made in our shop here in Brooklyn. We take O1 Tool steel, machine it, clean off the tool marks, harden it, clean it again, then sharpen and package it.

The picture below shows our prototype manufacturing fixture, which has three stations. Each run of the fixture produces one drawknife in each stage: cutting out the finger holes and the area beside the blade; machining the outer profile; and machining the bevel. Right now we are in the middle of making the production fixture, which will be the same idea but bigger, so we can run more parts at a time without interruption. After the machining, we get rid of any machining burrs, harden the metal and then finally sharpen to a razor edge. The drawknives come sharp out of the box.

The expertise we learned in hardening our spoon bits has really paid off. We are getting better results than we would had we outsourced the hardening, and we can quench the steel symmetrically so that the only real warping involved leaves a slight concavity along the entire bottom of the tool. This is actually desirable - it makes it easy to sharpen and is exactly what we wanted.

You can find out more about the drawknife here, and you can either order one or - if they are out of stock - put your name on the list to be notified when they are back in stock. The material is all in hand and as we streamline setups and procedures we are producing the drawknives at a faster and faster pace. So if there is a wait, it won't be long.

Announcing the Gramercy Tools Spoonmaker's Drawknife 3
Announcing the Gramercy Tools Spoonmaker's Drawknife 4
Announcing the Gramercy Tools Spoonmaker's Drawknife 5

Join the conversation
Really interesting concept for a small drawknife, thanks for innovating/bringing back old ideas
10/21/2020 Daniel
That is an amazing story and a fantastic idea!
I am interested to know more about the person that was buried. I wonder if archeologist has any ideas or theories about the story of the owner. Who was he or she? Why would the tool be buried instead of passed on to the next generation?

Most intriguing!
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