Menushopping cart

JOEL Joel's Blog

Announcing the Gramercy Tools Spoonmaker's Drawknife

10/21/2020

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!
Name:
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.
Subscribe
JOEL Joel's Blog
BREN Video Roundup
EVT Classes & Events
BEN Built-It Blog
WORK Work Magazine
Newer Entries...
JOEL150 Years of Tool Catalogs - Times They Are A Changing - 09/15/2011
JOELFour Ways To Build a Iron or Steel Plane (Really Five) - 09/13/2011
JOELA Walk On The Bowery - 09/08/2011
JOELA Visit to the Met with Chris Pye - 08/16/2011
JOELIn Which I Start a Course in Woodcarving With Chris Pye - 08/09/2011
JOELBoston - The Old South Church - 08/02/2011
JOELIn Which We Build a Ridiculously Simple Chair - 07/26/2011
JOELBuilding the Gramercy Tools Turning Saw - The Video - 07/19/2011
JOELIf You Loved The Joiner and Cabinet Maker You Will... - 07/12/2011
JOELA Look At The Work of David Yepez - 07/05/2011
JOELSummertime and the Living is Easy - Except You Might Want To Sit Down - 06/28/2011
JOELTwo Visits From Roy Underhill - 06/22/2011
JOELHappy Father's Day from Tools for Working Wood - 06/17/2011
JOELHow Chisels Work - Part 1 - 06/14/2011
JOELI Go To Festoool Training and Find Out About Splinter Guards on Jigsaws - 06/09/2011
JOELQuick Update - Price Reductions on Festool Jigsaws and Other News - 06/02/2011
JOELMaking (and How To Make) Folding Knives in Sheffield England - 05/31/2011
JOELI Learned Something New - Native American Woodworking - 05/26/2011
JOELThe New Festool CXS Cordless Drill and a Look Back At The Early Days of Cordless - 05/24/2011
JOELHow to Pre-Sell a New Book in 1879 - 05/19/2011
Older Entries...