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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Adapt and improvise; bushcraft draw knife

As we've mentioned many times before bushcraft is all about adapting and improvising and one such adaptation you can make to your bushcraft knife is to turn it into a fairly effective draw knife very easily. 

A home made draw knife. 
A draw knife is used for a lot of green woodworking tasks and is normally a fairly long blade with handles set at 90 degrees to the blade edge. The blade is generally sharpened to a chisel grind meaning that one bevel is completely flat and the other slopes to meet it with no secondary bevel at all at the edge. The flat bevel is then used against the wood being worked, which is clamped in place, and the knife is then drawn towards you to remove shavings from the work piece. 

This sounds dangerous but the shape of the tool and the way you use it means that even though you pull the cutting edge towards yourself it will never reach you and can't cause you any harm. Draw knives though are heavy, expensive and too specialist to be carried amongst the average bushcrafters tool on a trip out to the woods so you can adapt your knife to be used like a draw knife with a bit of ingenuity. 

First take a stout green stick and carve s slot in one end, you do need to carve this rather then just force the tip of the knife into the grain otherwise it will split. 
Into this slot you can then insert the tip of your knife, this forms your draw knife, while both handles won't be at 90 degrees to the blade the stick forms one and the handle of the knife the other handle and it can now be used and controlled very easily for draw cut towards you. The addition of the stick adds power and leverage to the tip of the knife to power through knots and imperfections in the grain as you work wood.
The 'draw knife' in action on a piece of English Elm that's going be become a 'quick bow'.
 The knife used in this post is my custom knife made to my design by Ammonite Knives which you can read about in a past post HERE and HERE.

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