New or old vintage drawknife ?

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Established Member
15 Dec 2023
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Hi guys
I fancy making a propeller for a pedal plane I am making
Thought I would try and do this old school with hand tools
I have been looking a new Axminster drawknife’s and then thought what about an old vintage one on eBay
Are the new ones up to speck , the price is about the same for a vintage one, but I will then I expect need to sharpen it
What’s the general opinion?
The old one will likely be better quality. The new one will also need sharpening so thats something you will have to get used to whatever way you go. My drawknife was a junk shop find.
Making a propeller will take more tools than just a drawknife as its basically a roughing out tool. Well it is for me. Gonna need a couple of spokeshaves for the finer work and a couple of rasps would also be handy.
The old ones ae better steel. But I never found an old one with good handles.
I find mine in Car boot and a few second hand shops.
In the Great War propellers were shaped using spokeshaves until replaced by pantograph copy shapers in 1918. The blades were laminated, alternate Mahoghany Walnut cut to template shape, then glued and spokeshaved. The correct profile was at the laminate joint. The propeller would then be balanced
Thanks chaps
I do like the laminate idea
Here’s a photo of the plane so far


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I think good spokeshave would be the better option, although they can be expensive.

I ended up with a L-N Boggs spokeshave after messing about with sub standard vintage ones for far too long.
You must be a little guy to fit in that airplane.

I'm in agreement with using spokeshaves however for a one off project like this (unless you plan of doing more shaped work) coarse sandpaper wrapped around sticks, dowels or any other handy shape will do the job this time. If you really want a drawknife you could consider carving drawknives. They aren't cheap but if you want a little project you can make one from an old saw blade. Thin cutting wheel in an angle grinder will get it out of the blade and a bench grinder can do the rest. My father made a couple that although small, are very useful. The upper one has a bevel on both sides and the lower just on one side. The upper is used with the straight handle pointed towards your stomach and drawn to you.


A page from my Aircraft Made in Lincoln book. Who needs you tube, the 1915 picture shows all of the process. Walnut and mahogany characteristics complemented each other There was an animal glue factory adjacent to the Ruston Proctor works. Rustons made several thousand propellers during the Great War The mechanisation is shown in the smaller image.
I would have thought the way to make the small prop would be to bandsaw 3 planks to the double coffin shape, glue them up with a slight stagger and shape with a spokeshave.


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