A drawknife is a traditional woodworking hand tool used to shape wood by removing shavings. It consists of a blade with a handle at each end. The blade is much longer (along the cutting edge) than it is deep (from cutting edge to back edge). It is pulled or "drawn" (hence the name) toward the user.
A drawknife is commonly used to remove large slices of wood for flat faceted work, to debark trees, or to create roughly rounded or cylindrical billets for further work on a lathe, or it can shave like a spokeshave plane, where finer finishing is less of concern than a rapid result. The thin blade lends itself to create complex concave or convex curves.
The drawknife ideally is used when the operator is in a seated position astride a traditional shaving horse, which safely grips the working stock and they can also use their legs for additional pulling power. The ideal working stock has the grain of the wood running parallel to the shaving horse and perpendicular to the blade of the drawknife, so that the drawknife shaves away the entire wood fibre and does not cut against it. It is best not pulled with blade perfectly perpendicular to the wood stock, but pulled slightly upward toward them in a skewed (blade at a slight diagonal) or slithering fashion, aiming not to take off as much wood as possible, but gradually "shave" the work. The operator gently levers the blade to "bite" into the wood and then controls the depth of the cut by raising or lowering the handles as they pull the drawknife towards them.
There are two drawknives at Smith’s Tavern.
This item has "M&CO" etched into the side of the blade.