Menushopping cart

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!
Email (will not be published):
Website (optional):
Please enter your comment (HTML is not allowed):
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
JOEL Joel's Blog
BREN Video Roundup
EVT Classes & Events
BEN Built-It Blog
WORK Work Magazine
Newer Entries...
JOELUsing Rasps in the Woodshop Can Add Flourishes to Basic Work. - 01/17/2012
JOELAre Acme Mfg. Products Really That Bad? - 01/10/2012
JOELCarving With Chris Pye - Next Lessons and a Step Backwards - 01/03/2012
JOELWhy You Should Join the Mid-West Tool Collector's Association - 12/27/2011
JOELHappy Holidays from everyone at Tools for Working Wood! - 12/25/2011
JOEL1869 Franz Freiherr von Wertheim Catalog - Now Online - 12/20/2011
JOELIndia Day and Woodworking In Other Cultures - 12/13/2011
JOELWhat about Isometric Drafting Paper? - 12/06/2011
JOELPeriod Pieces - 11/29/2011
JOELCarving With Chris Pye - First Lessons - 11/22/2011
JOELI'm Giving A Talk On November 30th to the NYC Woodworkers Group: Using Rasps in the Woodshop - 11/17/2011
JOELA Visit To The Met: Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia - 11/10/2011
JOELWhy Cut Nails Are Better - 11/01/2011
JOELShellac Shelf Life -The Followup - 10/20/2011
JOELRegional Tool Names - 10/18/2011
JOELIron Rebate Planes - A Design That Came And Went - 10/11/2011
JOELMoxon's Waving Engine - A Practical Application - 10/04/2011
JOELFestool Fall 2011 Announcements and a Sander Special - 09/27/2011
JOELFestool Fall 2011 Promotion - Sanders! - 09/22/2011
JOEL150 Years of Tool Catalogs - Times They Are A Changing - 09/15/2011
Older Entries...