The Deadly, Knee-hating Drawknife – Lost Art Press


The only serious injury I’ve sustained in the workshop was with a drawknife. In 1997, I was sharpening my grandfather’s tool with an oilstone at work. My hand slipped, and I gashed a finger.

It took a dozen stitches to close the wound. And as it was a workers’ compensation claim, I had to go through a very interesting series of interviews with the government.

Nice government lady: “What was the tool that caused the injury?”

Me: “A drawknife.”

Lady: “Hmmm. We don’t have a code for that tool. Is it a pocketknife?”

After a long series of questions (No, it’s not an axe. Nope, not a corn knife), she decided to create a new code for the tool to enter into the government forms. This, of course, required more interrogation about my boo-boo, and the case dragged on for many weeks.

In the 19th century, drawknife injuries were much more common. Jeff Burks has compiled this amazing array of news accounts of people who hurt themselves with the tool. Some wounds were self-inflicted. Some very odd. And many of them to the knee.

The knee?

The weirdest one is the guy who burst his bladder with a drawknife.

— Christopher Schwarz

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