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A.J. Wilkinson Folding Draw Knife - 1884.jpg

While the folding draw knife was “new, novel, and selling rapidly” in the 1880s, draw knives have aided woodworkers since Noah noticed the clouds rolling in. Gripping both handles, the woodworker pulls the draw knife toward him (or pushes away, despite the name), peeling bark and wood from logs and leaving a unique hand-made look.

The two main styles are the English style, in which the handles angle 90 degrees from a straight blade, and the continental pattern, where the handles are set in line with a curved blade. A general rule of thumb: the harder the wood, the sharper the blade needs to be.


The continental draw knife pictured above has a 4-3/8″ blade — a rare find for a woodcarver working with small objects.

Draw Knife Ad From 1884 [Hyperkitten.com]


5 Responses to It’s Just Cool: Adjustable Draw Knife Ad From 1884

  1. Teacher says:

    Draw knives are great for trimming fence rails. I looked at buying one and almost fell over at the prices I was seeing. Instead, I made one(continental style) out of an old lawn mower blade and some scrap wood for the handles. It’s not pretty but it works and all it cost me was some time and some wear on a cutting and grinding wheel.

  2. PutnamEco says:

    Draw knives are great for trimming fence rails. I looked at buying one and almost fell over at the prices I was seeing.

    Forestry Suppliers makes what they call a “bark knife”. I find it ideal for rough outdoor drawknife type work. under $40.


  3. Jim K. says:

    I’ve bought a few of these at yard sales and through antique shops. If you look around you can find them in decent shape for good prices. The most typical problems are split wood on the handles and damage to the blade. Often problems with the blade can be ground out with a bit of work some good sharpening and I’ve hacked together some replacement handles for others. I use mine for ripping the bark off branches I’m using for making walking sticks and find them incredibly useful.

  4. Bob Towers says:

    I found a folding adjustable handle draw knife from A.J.Wilkinson & Co, Makers, and I was wondering what it’s value might be? It is marked July 16 1895. If anyone is interested you can contact me at towersrobert698@Gmail.com.

  5. Bob Towers says:

    Or call me at (518)986-6964 Thank’s

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