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Home Forums DIY Colonial carpentry tools you can make yourself

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    in colonial days wood was shaped by hand, usually with a drawknife and a shaving horse
    im going to show you how to make both of these simple tools
    one, the drawknife, requires a bit of blacksmitihng but is a good starter project if you wanna learn the craft
    personally i think if you wanna live the simple life, this is a must know skill
    so here we go:

    How to make a drawknife

    Start with a 1inch x 1/4 inch piece of steel barstock 12 inches long. Cold rolled is best.
    Measure 1 inch in from both ends and mark with a soapstone .
    Now measure 1/2 inch in on both marks and make new marks crossing the first ones.

    Get your fire going, youll need a good bed of coals, yoou’re going to cut a notch in both ends, this takes some good heat.
    Set one end in your fire and let the marked area get almost yellow. While it heats, get your ‘Hotcut’ hardy out and put it in your hardy hole so its ready.
    When iron is hot enuff, set the mark on the cutting edge of your hotcut, your iron standing on edge, and strike soundly with your hammer. One or 2 strokes should do. You want to cut just half way through, up to your cross mark.
    Do the same with the other end making sure both cuts are from the same edge.
    Reheat one end, namely the portion thats half cut off. When its hot, work it on the anvil face with your hammer and start drawing it out to a taper. You will want the first 3 inches to be 1/2 inch wide.
    About 3 inches from your strting cut, bend the tang 80 degrees, away from your incut edge.
    This last 4 inches needs to taper down from 3/8 inch to a thin point for your handle. This part can be rounded. Part should lok like this…
    ” \ _______ ”
    ” \ ____| ”
    ” ____________ ”
    If iron gets cool and hard to work, reheat it. Repeat until done. When drawing iron out be sure to strike all sides evenly to avoid mushrooming.
    Do the other end the same.
    Heat the center portion of your iron. Change your hammer to a straight or crosspeen.
    The next step we will ve drawing the iron in one direction only, using a plain hammer will cause your iron to ‘curl’, we want the top edge to remain flat and straight.
    When drawing in one direction we use a straight or crosspeen. You want the line of the wedged point to run parallel to your straight edge. This will force the iron to give in the direction you want.
    We want to draw the bottom edge out evenly to become the cutting edge of the drawknife.
    Dont over heat this part, if you burn out the carbon it will never hold an edge. Work it at a nice deep red only, candyapple is too hot.
    For this taper you draw all from one side to create a bassilled edge, a one-way taper.
    Work it out around 2-3 inches and keep it even the full length.
    When you are done with this step, heat whole cutting edge to a deep red then quench in ice water.
    Congratulations, you just made a drawknife!

    pictures to help you along :)





    this is a drawknife i made years ago, just needs handles and sharpening

    for the shaving horse i have a couple links that someone else posted, they are very good tutorials
    and simple enuff for anyone…Have a look

    im going to try and post here every few days, lots to share if youre interested
    just let me know and ill keep posting


    Very good beast, thanks!


    How to make a Froe

    Ok, so what the hell is a froe? i know youre saying that, dont lie.
    a froe is the old tool used for splittin shakes, shingles,barrel staves and planks out of log sections
    just a strange shaped heavy knife with a big stout perpendicular handle
    you drive the froe thru your wood with a special mallet and control the cut with the handle
    by tipping the blade you can change how thick or thin the plank or shake is cut, then you chock it in your shaving horse and finish it up with your drawknife

    now to the nitty gritty part, makin one
    an old truck leafspring, one offa heavy truck, works best
    they are thick enuff and the steel is unbeatable

    first, if it has an ‘eye’ on the emd you will wantto open it out flat
    heat it up and hammer that eye right out flat and true

    next make a bigger eye, about 2 inch inside diameter, tapered out on one end. this will be the bottom ot cutting edge of your froe
    use a drift inside the eye to shape it, if you have one

    now mark the length of your blade with a soapstone, measure out from your eye about 28 inches. Heat it up andcut it off with your hammer and hotcut

    heat it back up and round off the top corner at the end, the top is the side with the smaller end of the eye

    set your fullers up and heat the bottom edge, you need to draw it ou into a cutting blade. dont make it a loong drawn out thin taper, keep it heavy for prying on, just draw out an edge you can sharpen
    do the whole blade like this

    make it nice and even, dont make it ‘curl’, keep it straight

    once you have it all hammered out, quench it good
    now cut a 2 footlength of good hardwood around 3 inches diameter
    shave it down to a taper so most of it slides thru the eye of your froe, all but maybe an inch. the long part of the handle should be opposite your cutting edge

    congratulations, you just added a very important and useful tool to your collection

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