Make a Draw Knife from an Old Saw Blade

Woodworking Workshop
Make a Draw Knife from an Old Saw Blade

Youtube woodworker John Heisz made this gorgeous draw knife out of an old diamond saw blade. As he says in the video, he doesn’t do a lot of the type of woodworking that calls for such a blade, but he thought it’d be a fun project and that having the tool might inspire more of its use. That is an often overlooked aspect of tool ownership, when the tools themselves inspire your project ideas.

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John uses an angle grinder to cut the metal blade/handle from the blade. He doesn’t even have a template to go from, but simply draws the knife as he remembers seeing them, making sure to leave a 5″ cutting edge (a common draw knife standard).

drawKnife_2He does several things in this build that are worth specifically pointing out. One of them, something I’ve never seen before, is burning the metal tangs of the blade into the ends of the turned wooden handles. He first heats them up with a blow torch to bend them, then he heats them up, slots them into the openings he cut into the handles, and then he presses the red-hot tangs into the wood. As he points out, this approach is not only a fairly easy way of holding the handles on, but it looks really cool, too!

drawKnife_5To make it easier on himself to feed the tang into the handle, he’d cut slots into his handles. After epoxying the blades to the handles, he epoxied a slice of wood into the slot, trimmed it flush, and sanded it after the epoxy was dry.

drawKnife_3drawKnife_4I also really liked how he finished the handles by using a copper wire wrap around the ferrule. The wire he used was little more than 14-guage house wire from which he’d stripped the insulating jacket. After the wrap, he sealed it all with epoxy.

You can see the full build article on John’s website.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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