Friday, November 29, 2013

Drawknife Rehab - Part 1

I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable and blessed Thanksgiving!

It has been all too long since I have taken the time to make a post, and for this I apologize.  It seems life happens and some things have to take a back seat.  I will be making every effort to be more consistent with my posts and hope that you find them interesting and of some use.
The other morning we opened the blinds to find 1 1/2" of the perfect snow.  It was everywhere except on the concrete.  There is something about fall and winter that make me want to be in the shop.  After getting the shop back in order, I was looking over three of my older drawknives and decided it was time to do something with the ugly duckling of the lot (the knife on the far left).  The handles are loose, the blade is rusted and even has a bit of a chunk out of the cutting edge.  I thought this would be a good knife to use in my first attempt at a total rehab.  Then I thought it might be interesting to share this unrehearsed attempt at making this a usable tool.

The handles on the middle knife are my preferred shape of handle.  Oddly enough one of these handles measures an 1 1/2" in the bulb while the other measures 1 3/8".  I find the smaller of the two fit very comfortably in my hand and I don't experience hand cramps or fatigue like I do with the handles on my subject knife.  That made the decision to remove the handles easy.

I have an old orange plastic handled chisel I keep around the shop for jobs such as this.  Knowing the handle tang extends the entire length of the handle I did not want to damage the edge of one of my good chisels, so broke out ole orange.  This is what I discovered.  The hole is step drilled to accommodate the transition from a tang that resembles an over grown cut nail, to round.

The fit of the ferrel and the cap were tight, as was the round portion of the handle tang.  However, as you can see, the upper or larger portion of the step drilled hole was no where close to being tight.  This brings some questions to mind (i.e. another rabbit hole to explore), but not at this time.

The next step is to remove the rust.  After a little research I have decided to remove the rust by electrolysis.  I decided to go down this rabbit hole in hopes of converting the black rust into a more stable state and removing the red rust.  This is done by passing a low voltage DC electrical current through an alkaline solution or electrolyte.  The rusted knife will be submerged into the solution acting as the cathode (negative) and the sacrificial steel will be the anode (positive).  I found the site of a gentleman by the name of Andrew Westcott that I found very enlightening on the subject.

I am now going in search of the materials needed to set up my electrolysis tank.  I do hope I have most of it hanging around the shop, I do not want to have to deal with the Black Friday traffic.  Stay tuned for Part 2.

~ Ray Schwanenberger

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