What to Consider Before Using Draw Knives?

by Editorial Team | March 16th, 2020 | Cooking Basics

Everyone who has a certain career in woodworking, knows the importance of using a draw knife for successfully completing various projects. This tool is different than the other types of knives, since you’re supposed to pull it towards yourself for making more precise and controlled moves.

There’s a wide selection of draw knives on the market, sold in numerous sizes, and appropriate for every woodworker’s preferences. In case you’re interested in purchasing one, take a look at sites like the Official Top 5 Review’s top 5 draw knives, in order to make a better choice.

These are some aspects to consider prior to purchasing one. 

Choose the right type

The first and foremost thing to determine prior to purchasing a drawknife is its type. In fact, you’re supposed to select one out of the two types offered on the market, a curved one or a straight one. The decision you’ll make would largely depend on your skills and the purpose of using it. 

For instance, the former type is more convenient for cutting parts of the wood, such as live edge black walnut, that are difficult to access, so you won’t have to worry about reaching tough stops. Additionally, if you’re looking for a tool that enables you to make deep cuts, then the curved variant is perfect for you.

On the other hand, the latter type is more suitable for fine cuts, being the right choice if you require making more precise movements, without damaging the wood. Actually, both variants will get the job done as long as they’re properly sharpened and used by a person who possesses solid woodcarving skills. Read more about the best methods of operation.

For complete beginners, it’s essential to learn the basics of using a drawknife, spend plenty of time practicing and eventually choose the type which seems to fit you the best. Don’t purchase one until you’ve tried woodworking by using both types.

Methods of sharpening

You’re also supposed to be knowledgeable on the sharpening procedure, as after a certain time the tool gradually becomes duller, until it’s no longer functional. Therefore, you aren’t supposed to use it until it becomes completely blunt, but sharpen it when you notice a slight change in its cutting power.

When it comes to sharpening, you’re provided with two options. You can either sharpen it by using a hand tool or a machine. The former method is more beneficial as you can sharpen the drawknife more precisely, without wasting much of its material. Conversely, the latter method wastes more of the knife’s material, particularly if you don’t know how to operate the sharpening machine properly.

Thus, the most convenient sharpening hand tool would be a stone whose grit matches the knife’s bluntness. For instance, a medium grit would be appropriate for a drawknife that doesn’t require a lot of sharpening. However, a completely blunt knife would require a coarse stone as well as using sandpaper for rust removal.  Visit the following link:  https://www.wikihow.com/Sharpen-a-Knife-With-a-Stone, to learn tips about selecting the right sharpening stone and using the right techniques.

Methods of usage

What’s interesting about drawknives is the way in which they got the name. You have to draw it towards yourself in order to make a cut, which is why many people are reluctant to use it, out of fear of getting hurt. 

In fact, this type of knife has two handles, placed on each side, which you’re supposed to grab for easier operation. When it comes choosing which side of the drawknife is going to be up and which down, a more common mode of operation is the bevel side being up and the flat one being down., as it’s more convenient for making smoother cuts. Anyhow, there’re people who use it the other way around, as it’s more convenient for making deeper cuts.

Another aspect to be taken into considerations is your body position. You’re advised to use drawing knives while being seated, since the control over the tool is doubtlessly bigger. Also, apart from using your arm strength, you can use the strength of your legs as well. However, in case you’re afraid to draw the tool towards yourself, you can opt for the standing position, where you’re required to push it in the opposite direction. 

Regardless of which method and position you’ll choose, it’s essential to take precaution while woodworking, as a slight negligence can result in a serious knife cut. Therefore, until you’re a hundred percent sure in your cutting skills, you aren’t advised to take up woodworking projects, at least not without a more experienced professional by your side. 


The most common way of using drawknives is in the woodworking field, as they are the perfect tool for removing the tree’s bark as well as making it perfectly smooth. As we mentioned previously, the curved type is better for making deeper cuts, whereas the straight one is more beneficial form making finer cuts.

Moreover, although the drawing knife might seem rather large to you, its cutting area is quite small, since otherwise it would be impossible to operate it and you wouldn’t be at all precise. Actually, if you think about it, the result of cutting wood with this tool is almost the same as cutting it with a regular knife.

Your cut will depend on the amount of wood you wish to remove. In the beginning, you’ll find making deeper cuts easier, since the smoother ones require more expertise and skills. You will need plenty of patience, focus and precision in order not to do any damage to the wood. 

Although many people consider drawknives and spoke shaves as the exact same thing, they differ in terms of usage. The latter one is used after the former one, to give the wood’s final touch, as it’s more convenient for smooth cuts. Click here to learn more about their difference. 


When buying a drawknife, make sure you choose the right type as well as method of operation. 

Precaution is extremely important!

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