When it comes to woodworking, a quality draw knife is an indispensable tool. This simple yet powerful hand tool allows you to sculpt, shape, and strip wood with precision and ease. In 2023, the market has seen a significant influx of new models, boasting innovative features and improved ergonomics. This article will delve into the top draw knives of 2023, offering a comprehensive review to help you make an informed decision for your woodworking needs.
Types of Draw Knives
There are different types of drawknives to suit various tasks and preferences. Some of the most common types include:
- Straight Drawknife: This is the most traditional and versatile type, featuring a straight cutting edge. It's perfect for a wide range of woodworking tasks, such as debarking, shaping, and smoothing wood surfaces.
- Curved Drawknife: A curved drawknife has a slightly curved blade, which can be useful for working on concave or convex surfaces. It's also great for creating decorative elements on wooden pieces.
- Folding Drawknife: This type of drawknife has folding handles, making it more compact and portable. It's an excellent option for those who travel or need to transport their tools frequently.
- Combination Drawknife and Spokeshave: Some drawknives have an additional spokeshave feature, which allows for more precise shaping and finishing of wood. These combination tools are perfect for woodworkers who want to save space in their toolboxes and have an all-in-one option for their shaping needs.
Important Features to Consider
When shopping for a drawknife, consider the following features to help you make the best decision:
- Blade Length: Drawknives come in various blade lengths, typically ranging from 4 to 12 inches. Longer blades are suitable for larger projects and removing more material, while shorter blades provide better control for detail work and small projects.
- Blade Material: High-quality drawknives typically have blades made of high-carbon steel or stainless steel. High-carbon steel blades are durable and hold a sharp edge well, but may require more maintenance to prevent rusting. Stainless steel blades resist rust and corrosion but may need more frequent sharpening.
- Handle Material: Handles can be made of wood, metal, or synthetic materials. Wooden handles provide a comfortable grip and a traditional aesthetic, while metal and synthetic handles offer durability and weather resistance. Choose a handle material that suits your preferences and needs.
- Handle Angle: The angle of the handles can affect the comfort and control of using a drawknife. Some woodworkers prefer handles that are perpendicular to the blade for more leverage, while others prefer handles angled slightly toward the user for better ergonomics.
Our Top Picks of 2023:
Here are our top picks for the best drawknives available in 2023:
1. The Flexcut Draw Knife
The Flexcut Draw Knife has been a favourite among woodworkers for years, and the 2023 model maintains that reputation. The 5-inch blade is crafted from high carbon steel, promising excellent edge retention and strength. The ergonomically designed handles are made of resilient ash, ensuring a comfortable grip for prolonged use. The Flexcut Draw Knife also includes a leather sheath, offering an extra layer of protection.
- Quality construction - The knives are made from high carbon steel and have precise machining and proper heat treatment, resulting in durability
- Ergonomic handles - The handles are designed for comfort and to reduce hand fatigue
- Adjustable blade - The blades can be adjusted to different angles and locked in place, allowing for flexibility
- Smooth action - The blades have a tight fit that allows for smooth cutting action
- Cost - Flexcut draw knives tend to cost more than some other draw knife options
- Limited blade length options - Flexcut only offers a few set blade lengths for their draw knives
- Care required - Like any woodworking tool, proper maintenance and care is needed to preserve performance
2. Timber Tuff TMB-08DS Straight Draw Shave Tool
The Timber Tuff TMB-08DS is a straight draw shave tool that stands out due to its 8-inch long, 5mm thick blade. This premium blade is made from durable steel, ensuring clean cuts and great longevity. The handles are made from comfortable wood, allowing for a secure grip. This tool is very versatile, making it suitable for a range of woodworking tasks such as debarking logs, furniture crafting, and more.
- Low cost - The Timber Tuff draw knife is very inexpensive compared to some brands
- Various blade lengths - Multiple blade length options are available from 12" to 24"
- Replaceable blades - The blades can be replaced when they get dull, extending the lifespan of the tool
- Adjustable handle - The handle can be rotated to three positions for comfort
- Dual safety screws - The blade is secured with two safety screws to reduce the risk of it slipping during use
- Blade material - The blade is made of cheaper carbon steel rather than higher grade steel
- Rough finish - The tool may have a rougher, less refined finish compared to pricier options
- Less precision - The adjustability of the blade angles and locking mechanism may be less precise
3. BeaverCraft DK1S Draw Knife
The DK1S Draw Knife from BeaverCraft is an excellent choice for those seeking accuracy and comfort. Its 4.3-inch blade is made from high carbon steel, offering an exceptional balance of durability and precision. The oak handles are not only visually appealing but also provide a comfortable grip. The DK1S includes a leather sheath for blade protection and is perfect for intricate carving tasks.
- High carbon steel blade - The blade is made from high quality carbon steel that holds an edge well
- Ergonomic handle - The wooden handle is contoured for comfort and balance
- Precision made - The knife is precision machined and sharpened for smooth accurate cuts
- Adjustable blade - The blade can be adjusted to three angles and securely locked into place
- Excellent value - The knife offers good performance and features at a reasonable cost
- Limited blade length - Only one blade length is available
- Wood handle care - The wooden handle requires occasional oiling to prevent drying out
- No replaceable blade - The entire knife must be replaced when the blade gets dull
- Corrosion risk - The blade can rust or corrode if not cleaned and oiled properly
- Learning curve - Some practice may be needed to learn how to use a draw knife effectively
4. Robert Sorby 8-inch Draw Knife
The Robert Sorby 8-inch Draw Knife is a high-end option for professional woodworkers. Featuring a hand-forged, high carbon steel blade, this knife is built to last. The tang extends through the beech handle, providing excellent balance and control. This draw knife is ideal for large woodworking projects requiring precise shaping.
- High quality construction - The knife is made from hardened carbon tool steel and assembled with precision
- Superior blade geometry - The blade has a cambered profile designed for efficient cutting
- Excellent handle design - The contoured wooden handle offers comfort and control
- Secure adjustable angle - The blade can be locked at three precise angles for versatility
- Replacement options - Replacement blades are available when the original becomes dull
- Higher price point - The knife has a higher cost compared to some other draw knife options
- Limited blade length - Only an 8-inch blade length is offered
- Wood handle care - The wooden handle requires occasional oiling and tightening of screws
- Learning curve - Some practice may be needed to efficiently use the draw knife
- Maintenance needs - Like all draw knives, it needs to be cleaned and oiled periodically
5. Two Cherries 500-1320 225-Millimeter Draw Knife
The Two Cherries 500-1320 is a German-made draw knife that boasts a 225mm long, finely polished blade. The blade is made from high-grade carbon steel, ensuring exceptional edge retention. Its wooden handles are ergonomically designed, fitting comfortably in the user's hands. This tool is suitable for both professional and amateur woodworkers.
- Economical price - It's an affordable option for a drawknife
- Long blade - The 225mm (8.8 inch) blade length allows for large cuts
- Adjustable blade angle - The blade can be set at three fixed angles for versatility
- Comfortable handles - The wooden handles are contoured for comfort
- Replaceable blade - The blade can be replaced when it becomes dull
- Basic design - It lacks some of the refinements of pricier draw knives
- Rough finish - The tool may have a rougher, less finished appearance
- Imprecise adjustments - The angle adjustments and locks may not be as precise
- Handle care needed - The wooden handles require oiling to prevent drying out
- Lower grade steel - The blade is made from lower grade carbon steel
6. PFEIL"Swiss Made" Drawknife
The PFEIL"Swiss Made" Drawknife is a premium offering that features a unique curved blade. The 140mm long blade is crafted from special alloy tool steel, delivering excellent sharpness and edge retention. Its handles are made from sturdy ash wood, providing a comfortable grip. This draw knife excels in tasks such as carving, shaping, and peeling.
- High quality construction - Made from high grade tool steel and precision machined in Switzerland
- Ergonomic handle design - The wooden handle is contoured and angled for comfort
- Multiple blade lengths - Various blade length options from 180 to 380mm are available
- Extremely sharp blades - The blades are hand sharpened to a very fine edge
- Premium tool - Regarded as a professional quality drawknife
- Higher price point- PFEIL drawknivestend to cost more than most other options
- Wood handle maintenance - The wooden handles require periodic oiling to remain in good condition
- Blade angle not adjustable - The blade angle is fixed and not adjustable on these knives
- Corrosion risk - Like any steel tool, the blades can rust and require proper cleaning and oiling
- Learning curve - Some practice may be needed to efficiently use a draw knife
7. Stubai Drawknife
The Stubai Drawknife is a versatile tool that caters to a variety of woodworking needs. The blade measures 9.5 inches in length, crafted from high-quality steel for optimum durability. Its ergonomic handles provide a comfortable grip, making it an excellent choice for extended use. The Stubai Drawknife is a reliable tool for both professionals and hobbyists.
- Sturdy construction - Made of hardened tool steel with solid brass fittings
- Adjustable blade - The blade angle can be finely adjusted to three positions
- Replaceable blades - replacement blades are available when the original gets dull
- Comfortable handles - The wooden handles are contoured and angled for comfort
- Compact design - The folding handles make for a compact design when stored
- Moderate price - Not the most expensive but also not the most economical option
- Wood handle maintenance - The wooden handles require periodic oiling to prevent drying
- Limited blade length - Only one standard blade length of 220mm is offered
- Some weight - At 750 grams, it has some heft compared to some other draw knives
- Regular maintenance needed - The tool requires periodic cleaning, oiling and tightening
Pro Tips for Using a Drawknife
To get the most out of your drawknife and ensure a safe and efficient woodworking experience, consider these tips:
- Sharpening: Keep your drawknife sharp to ensure clean, efficient cuts and reduce the risk of accidents. Use a whetstone or honing compound to maintain a sharp edge. Always sharpen away from your body to prevent injury.
- Body Position: Maintain a comfortable and controlled body position when using a drawknife. Sit or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your body positioned so that you can pull the drawknife towards you in a straight line.
- Workpiece Support: Secure your workpiece on a shaving horse or workbench to prevent it from moving while you work. This will provide stability and reduce the risk of injury.
- Angle of Attack: Adjust the angle of your drawknife to control the thickness of the shaving. A lower angle will produce a thinner shaving, while a higher angle will remove more material.
- Grain Direction: Pay attention to the grain direction of your workpiece. Work with the grain, not against it, to prevent tearing or splintering of the wood.
- Safety: Always wear protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves, when using a drawknife. Work in a well-lit area and maintain a clean workspace to reduce the risk of accidents.
In conclusion, the best draw knife for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. The 2023 market is rich with high-quality options, each with unique features and capabilities. Whether you're a professional woodworker or a hobbyist, a quality draw knife is a must-have tool in your woodworking arsenal. The draw knives reviewed in this article are among the best available this year, offering a balance of durability, comfort, and precision.