Dunlap 10″ Draw Knife Restoration

In between other things, I have been cleaning up the goodies that I found at a garage sale last weekend.  One of the items was a 10″ draw knife that had seen better days.  At first I couldn’t decipher any markings, but as I was cleaning it up, I discovered it was marked “Dunlap” and “10”.  A little online research shows that Dunlap was a cheaper line than Craftsman that was also sold by Sears.  It was used from the late 30’s through the late 50’s.

Draw Knife-9

It was in very rough shape when I found it.  There was a lot of rust, but it appeared to me that it was not very deep.  Also, someone had used a can of spray paint on to liberally douse the draw knife everywhere but the blade.  It didn’t look good.

A rather rusty, spray painted draw knife.

A rather rusty, spray painted draw knife.

I used my bench grinder with the soft wire wheel and a buffing wheel.  I used the wire wheel to remove all the spray paint and rust from all the metal parts.  I was careful not to touch the wire wheel to the wooden handles as it might dig in.  I put some masking tape on the wooden handles and then polished all of the metal parts with the buffing wheel and compound.  The masking tape isn’t impervious, but it does help somewhat to stop the buffing wheel from eroding any of the wood from the handles.

After polishing all the metal, I removed the masking tape from the wood, and applied new masking tape to all of the metal.  I sanded back the wooden handles to remove the poorly applied spray paint.  It looked to me as though the handles had always been black so I decided to refinish them that way (as opposed to sanding them all the way back to bare wood and staining them).  I sanded them smooth and applied two coats of black spray paint.  I use the Dupli-Color high temp black engine enamel when I refinish Stanley bench planes, and since this was what I had on hand, I used it for this draw knife. I kept the coats fairly light, applying just enough to get even coverage and no runs.  I thought that I could provide some better protection for the handles than just the spray paint by top coating the handles with a few coats of wipe-on poly.

Watco Wipe-On Poly - Hi Gloss

Watco Wipe-On Poly – Hi Gloss

Watco Wipe-On Poly - Satin

Watco Wipe-On Poly – Satin












I gave the newly painted handles a very light sanding with 320 and then applied 3 coats of the gloss wipe-on poly.

It came out well, but I felt that the super hi-gloss just looked out of place.

Garage Sales-12

Draw knife handle after a couple coats of paint and a couple coats of poly.











To even everything out and get a nice smooth finish, I sanded once more at 320 and followed this up with 2 coats of the satin finish.

After two coats of satin finish, the handles took on a nice even luster.

Draw Knife-3 Draw Knife-4











I removed all the masking tape and was very happy with the final result.

Draw Knife-5

I still need to sharpen the knife, but I’m not sure how to best go about it yet.  I have seen the new drawsharp sharpener that benchcrafted is selling and it looks fantastic.  As with all benchcrafted stuff, the quality of the machining looks amazing.  I just don’t want to spend $84 to sharpen a $10 drawknife.  We’ll see.  Perhaps I’ll breakdown and buy one eventually.

Draw Knife-6

Here you can see the logo quite well.

Draw Knife-7

The only other marking on the draw knife is the “10” on the left arm.

Draw Knife-8

I’m pleased with how this turned out.  For $10 and a bit of elbow grease, I think I’ve got a good tool.

Draw Knife-9

I’ll post pics on the Disston panel saw restoration that I’ve been doing alongside this project soon.  It has been more involved and has taken me longer.


About Jonathan

I am a woodworker and hand tool restorer / collector. I buy too many tools and don't build enough - I need help!
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4 Responses to Dunlap 10″ Draw Knife Restoration

  1. ron howes says:

    Hi Jon, great job! I’m wondering what you meant by a soft wire wheel.

  2. Mike Hamilton says:

    Here is Galbert’s blog entry on the grinding jig he uses (which led to the Drawsharp for honing).
    and the video showing it in use:
    overkill for the occasional user perhaps, but the real idea is a single to point and using the spine of the knife for registration.


    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Mike,

      Fantastic, thanks for pointing me to those links. I’ve just read the post and watched the video. I might have to try something similar.

      Take care,


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