Hand Tools Archive
I use for for all kinds of thing, and I find getting good accuracy is a snap. What I notice about the guys who do repetitive tasks like our CB up here is John Robinson that he has the process for doing a spindle down to a specified number of cuts and his tapering formula is all math and automatic. I'm sure his control is better, but that is not the material difference it is the approach.
I use them for anything they seem the right tool for, which comes down to whether they will bust off the chips I want. One use I will be getting to this week or so will be a guitar neck. I haven't selected the wood yet, and if it isn't perfect I will probably use a bandsaw followed by a spokeshave. But for the quality of wood one normally uses, the neck profile is basically a half ellipse or a parabola, depending on the style I am making. On classicals the neck profiling is almost the last step so one has a big investment in the project by the time one is brandishing the knife. I lay out some lines pinching a pencil and then just remove the material to the lines in the most efficient number of strokes. As usual the final cut needs to have enough beef in it that the shaving holds the knife reliably in the cut. Being too tentative and leaving a smidge to remove is not conducive to good work. Then I work the facets down, and after that is is on to other tools.
But while it all looks very expert to do it this way it is completely safe if the material is as perfect as a guitar neck needs to be. The draw knife is a very easy tool to use if the wood is good. That is why the chair guys get veneer grade logs.