Making a Blade Guard for a Drawknife

Not long ago, I picked up a 10″ curved drawknife (made by A. W. Crossman) at an antique shop.  It still had an edge on it, so I scraped off the surface rust and honed the edge.  I wish all tool restoration jobs were that easy!

Using a sharp drawknife is a pleasure, but storing it safely is another matter.  The edge will get nicked if I keep the tool in the bottom of my tool chest, and if I keep it hanging on the wall near my other tools, I’ll almost certainly cut myself when I try to reach past it.

The solution is a simple blade guard:

Above is a drawknife with a factory-made guard, which I modeled mine after. Below is my finished guard.  It’s a very simple project if you have the right tools for the job.

Because this guard will have a deep groove running down the middle of it, I decided to use the most split-resistant wood I had on hand: pecan.  The one on the drawknife above is oak.

I think a tool should participate in making its own accessories if possible.  So I shaved the pecan to near-finished width with the Crossman drawknife.  I dimensioned the pecan to 3/4″ X 1 1/2″ X 11″.

Next I plowed a 1/2″ deep groove in the stock using a 3/16″ iron.  The original cover has a groove that’s about 3/4″ deep, but my plow plane bottoms out at 1/2″, so I went with that.  So long as it fully covers the cutting edge, the guard will work fine.

For a straight-bladed drawknife, the groove would be done.  However, the curved blade of this drawknife would rock back and forth in the groove, making the guard difficult to secure.

So I used a 1/8″ chisel to excavate the center of the groove so as to accommodate the curved drawknife blade.  No measuring of radii here: it’s just done freehand until the blade fits without rocking.

Next I used a rabbet plane to lower one wall of the groove by about 1/4″.

This step is not strictly necessary, but it does indicate which side is the “front” of the guard. (It’s the short side.)  And I happen to like the two-level effect.

At this point, I realized that having a full 1″ of thickness underneath the groove was overkill, so I sliced about 1/2″ off the bottom, making the guard significantly lighter.  It’s now just about 1″ wide.

I could drill a couple holes for the leather thongs and call it done, but I prefer to add some decorative details.  If I’m going to be looking at this every time I approach my workbench, I want it to look good.

I used the jack plane to round over the bottom, making the guard even lighter.  (I should have drilled the holes FIRST.)  I also used a coping saw to clip each bottom corner, and I rounded over the top corners with a spokeshave.

I drilled two holes through the bottom for the leather thongs and then smoothed all the sharp edges with a card scraper.

I’m glad I thought to save the leather laces from that old pair of slippers I threw out last winter!

This entry was posted in Build-Alongs, Tool Making, Tutorials, Wood and Woodwork and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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