People have been trying to 'improve' tools for years. They've managed to 'improve' saw handles to point where some of them are downright painful to use.
A drawknife doesn't need improving. Simple handles can be held as the user sees fit - some people prefer slightly different grips, and some tasks require a change of grip. I'm not sure with that design how you'd go on if you needed to use the drawknife bevel-down, which with simple handles is just as comfortable as bevel up.
As for making from flat bar - well, OK - except that if you forge, you don't have to cut bits out for the tangs and scrap them - there's no waste material if your billet's the right size to start with. Also, a forged blade is probably going to have better edge-holding characteristics than one ground from bar, as has been noted with plane irons (says he, cheerfully ripping the lid off a large can of worms....).
No harm in trying to improve things - it's just that several hundred years of experience of basic tool use has probably already done most of the improving possible.
Oddly enough, been using drawknife today for first time in a long while. Not fine work at all, just roughly cleaning up some bits of the dreaded Leylandii to use as parts of fruit cage. Had forgotten how effective a tool it can be!
The design offered looks elegant, BUT I suspect would not have any advantages over the traditional round one, and unless designed individually for the user's hands, could well be quite uncomfortable.
Thx for your posts and opinions, it is as I thought 8) Improving of tool design which was invented probably at least few hundred years ago is quiet difficult task and many times doesn't improve anything....
So I'll keep my old school hand forged Tyzack of classical design
I use a drawknife both bevel up and bevel down depending on what I am doing, because of the ergonomic shape of the handle will I be able to use this knife bevel down? If I can not use it bevel down then it is a waste of money. I agree with everyone else,, centuries of the same design often means things are okay.
Hmmm....I'd rather have my tools designed and made by people who understood how they were going to be used than by 'artistic geniuses'. Looking stunning may be appropriate for furniture or jewellery, but when it comes to things made to do a job, it helps if they do that job really well. If it does it's job really well and looks great, that's a bonus; if it looks great but doesn't do the job very well, it might as well be so much scrap-iron.
Sorry to sound so grumpy, but one of my bete-noirs is the twin cults of 'design' and 'value engineering' that have combined to reduce so many previously adequate or excellent products to the point of near uselessness.
Drawknives have been around for centuries, and are basically fairly simple tools; so it's a fair bet that we've done all the improving we can. It might have been better if the guy had spent his time talking to grizzled old drawknife users about what works and what doesn't. In fact, come to think of it, several toolmaking concerns might like to do a bit more of that next time they 'improve' their products.
Planes have been around for centuries too...that didn't stop Leonard and I'm willing to bet you use his design somewhere in your workshop.
In any case...I think I mentioned this was not a functional design improvement rather a style change that I appreciated. Same with the Bridge City plane...although I would probably smile every time I used it!
It's a good job we don't all agree on these things though...the world would be full of boring drawknives, beech smoothers and infill planes....(oh...no wait...not infill planes because they ARE a technical advancement...silly me! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: )
Mr Bailey was using new materials (cast iron) in a new way. With some development, the idea stuck. Other uses of cast iron (railway bridge beams, for example) proved less successful. Often the way while the human race is investigating the possibilities of it's scientific and practical discoveries.
Infill planes are by no means new - the Romans used them. Don't think they were by Spiers or Norris, though.
Something else struck me while re-reading the blurb on the website. The designer says he's made the blade by cutting from barstock to make manufacture cheaper. Then he sticks two of the most complicated handles I've ever seen on it. Whatever their merits, cheapness of manufacture is not one of them - unless he's intending to make them of plastic injection mouldings. (A drawknife with plastic handles - yeuch.) Maybe the guy needs to decide whether he's designing a fine drawknife or a cheap drawknife. At the moment, it's neither.
I suppose if this innovative new drawknife design takes off to become a commercial success and as lusted after as LN and Clifton planes, then Jimi's right and I'm wrong.
Meanwhile, like the grumpy curmudgeon I'm clearly becoming, I'll stick with my old cast steel wooden-handled Ibbotson.
The handles look nice in a carved well finished way, but its not a tool I would like to use whilst standing up to my knees in mud or salt water, at the bottom of a slipway, triming up some tar encrusted part of a boat. Suspect its life expectancy would be rather limited. Might be good in a nice clean dry workshop, on clean timber. Will stick with my heavy elderly forged one.
That over-engineered piece of a block plane is a very bad example... It is acceptable as a piece of "high tech steam punk", but as a functional and ergonomic tool, it is a total design failure.
The draw knife was the work of a "designer"... perhaps one with some woodworking knowledge and skills. But he designed that tool "just for show". Calls into my mind the DeWalt rubbish of recent times, and the Hitachi power tools in the disguise of a NewBalance sneaker.
Holtey planes are innovative, beautiful and usable at the some time... that is; well designed, and well made. Something, LeeValley does make quite well on a more affordable price level.
I once saw a very elderly cooper doing a demonstration at a country show. His drawknife, which he had had since apprenticeship, had handles now so worn by his hands that they resembled the afore mentioned designer handles. I wonder if such a well used knife was an inspiration?
Though it was perfect for that old cooper, it wouldn't have fitted me.
However I bet those handles are way better than one I had once with handles like light bulbs ... by a good maker too. Maybe the designer was a good smith, but alas, no bodger he.
One of the nicest thing about someone's opinion is that it's theirs, they own it and nobody else can say that it's right or wrong.
My opinion is that both the drawknife and plane are nice designs to look at...they make me happy.
And if anyone want's to voice their opinion I wouldn't even dream of criticising it...so would appreciate the same. Not that I would take any notice anyway so rather than waste your time typing perhaps you had better get back to yer whittlin'!