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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    No, that's the only pic I have Azahan, but I can take some more tomorrow if you wish. It's just a square block, a bit longer than a handle blank, with a "V" groove along the length. You could hand-saw the groove, it doesn't have to be precise, but it's easier to reference your progress if it's reasonably accurate. I just crank the tablesaw over to 45, line it up & centre the cuts so they make a groove about 25mm wide at the surface & vrrsst, vrrsst, it's ready to use. I seem to always have to make a new one when I need it 'cos I can never remember where I put the last one (most likely in te kindling wood box!)...

    P'raps the most important step is to just get started & make a few handles. You'll figure out what's comfortable & what's not soon enough. My tastes in handles have changed considerably over the last 40 years, and I've replaced a few I decided I could no longer live with. I accumulate handle-sized bits of suitable wood by the boxful as offcuts from various projects & making a batch of handles is an easy way to spend a rainy afternoon when you don't want to do anything serious...

    Ian
    Thanks Ian, no extra photos required. You perfectly described the jig and I can mentally picture it now.

    You're right, I need to make a few to find my groove. I've put this in my projects-to-do list, and I'm raring to go... right after I finish all the projects requested by the home minister

    Azahan

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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrose View Post
    All the custom handles you guys have made look absolutely beautiful. But I guess the most important thing is that they feel comfortable & customised to your individual preferences & usage. That's something that hopefully will come to me as I fall deeper into this hand tool madness



    Ok now I'm in love with this octagonal handle! There's a sense of utilitarian elegance to it, and doable with the minimal tools that I have. If I find that I don't like the feel, I can pare down the edges later.

    Ian, are there more photos of the v-block you're talking about?

    Azahan
    Two comments on this - if you're not sure if you want the handles to stay octagonal, leave them a bit fat. The more facets you cut off, the larger the initial square, then ocagonal handle, etc, needs to be as you'll find the near round version gets a bit thin.

    Second comment, there are historical versions of these handles made more or less two ways. Some are tapered "muchly" like mine here where they meet the bolsters on a chisel, and others are left near straight (the seaton chest chisels are in some cases due to huge bolsters on the chisels, but few chisels have large bolsters now and few did much later than the seaton chest, so the style to have a straighter side chisel with less taper is to cut the end to meet the chisel (whatever it may be and then "pillow out" to the handle taper quickly - like this one:

    W Brookes & Son Octagonal Handle Chisel
    – Mag3.14 Vintage Tools - Vintage Tool Shop


    Either holds up well unless the bolster is too small and then if you don't pillow out the narrow end of the handle a good bit, there's not much supporting wood around the tang and the handle will split easily.

    Of course, you can just make another one.

    Or you can make one of these with a brass ferrule and then octagonal above that (cutting the ferrule roundness into the narrow end last and fitting a ferrule) and both wood type and supporting wood thickness around the tang aren't nearly as important.

  4. #18
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    I'd recommend always using a ferrule. Of course you can live without them, ferrules have been around for centuries, but still a late arrival in the scheme of things. My old dad used to just grab a bit of convenient wood & shape it with a hatchet (for file handles, a corn cob was more often than not pressed into service). He was so accurate he could shape a handle with a hatchet in a minute as neatly as I could with a spokeshave in twenty!. Some lasted for years & years, some didn't, that didn't bother him at all, he'd just cobble up a new one without hardly pausing on the job. Occasionally, if fitting a really large tang, he'd light the forge, heat the tang & burn it in like the fellow in one of the videos I looked at yesterday. It's a time-honoured tradition, but a poor technique imo. If done carefully, it might last forever, but what usually happens is that the tang ends up sitting in a bed of charcoal & has a tendency to come loose pretty quickly.

    As DW said, a ferrule allows the handle to be necked-down more finely & reduces the risk of splitting, both in use & when fitting it to the blade. Ferrule or no ferrule, it's still possible to split your freshly-made handle if you bang it on with a too-small/too short hole (damhik!). But that's all part of learning about material strength....

    Be that as it may, a ferrule looks neater & more "finished". You can buy both brass & steel ferrules from various sources (mostly at absurd prices), but in the spirit of full DIY I cut brass or steel tubing up for mine. When I started out I used copper pipe fittings. A straight sleeve used for soldered joints makes a pair of ferrules, and it has that convenient stricture in the middle for the hacksaw blade to follow. You have a limited choice of sizes, but 12 & 19mm fittings will cover a good range of small to medium handle sizes & you can get 1 inch fittings if you need really big ones.

    Another tip: if you have a suitable round file, make a good chamfer on the inside of your ferrule on the end that goes on first. A metal scraper is actually easier for this sort of job, mine is just a bit of old chainsaw file ground to a an elongated triangular point: metal scraper.jpg

    A good internal chamfer will help the ferrule to ease on to a tight spigot and prevents or minimises shavings from forming ahead of the edge as you bang it on which may/will prevent it from butting up neatly to the shoulder on your handle. All this will very soon become apparent when you make a few handles - it's far from rocket science - I predict you will learn very quickly on the job. And if you don't mess at least one up, you're not trying hard enough.

    If you ever end up with a wood lathe (a whole new rabbit warren, but loads of fun), making handles is a good beginner exercise. It may take a half-hour for the first one, but soon it will be more like minutes, and making a matching set is a good way to learn repetitive turning & prepare you for table legs & chair parts, etc. My first project when I got my first (very basic) lathe was to turn the handles for the unhandled tools I'd bought to go with it. A rank newbie using un-handled tools is probably not the most intelligent combination, & my fumblings would have been amusing or scary to watch, depending on your point of view, but once I had a bit of wood on a gouge & a parting tool, things got a little better (& safer).

    Actually, I still have most of those original tools with their original handles, 40 years on. The handles are a bit crude by my current standards, but they are plenty good enough to do the job. A couple are near the end of their life, but it's hard to part with old friends.....

    Ian
    IW

  5. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrose View Post
    ... Is it possible to make them from hardwood dowels without a lathe?

    Azahan
    Hi Azahan

    If you are talking about the "dowells" sold by BigChain, then I would be very wary of the quality and variability of the timber.

    It is probably a light tropical hardwood, grown super fast in a plantation, kiln dried as rapidly as possible, then processed on a high speed auto lathe. Durability is not part of the equation.

  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraemeCook View Post
    ...... If you are talking about the "dowells" sold by BigChain, then I would be very wary of the quality and variability of the timber.

    It is probably a light tropical hardwood, grown super fast in a plantation, kiln dried as rapidly as possible, then processed on a high speed auto lathe. Durability is not part of the equation.....
    Graeme, on the few occasions I've bought large-sized dowel from the Big Green Shed in the last 10 years or so, I'm 95% sure it was mountain ash, but they probably use whatever is available & it may vary from batch to batch. I do remember last time when I needed some 30mm for a curtain rod, that there were one or two sticks in the rack that looked more like pretzels than dowelling, but I easily found a nice straight stick that has remained so, thank goodness. However, I agree with your sentiments as to its suitability for chisel handles, whatever it is. The stuff I've bought was relatively soft 'young' wood, which I suspect is selected for it's straight grain & easy workability. Not at all ideal for chisel handles, but fine for files & rasps (unless you have a penchant for bashing your files with a mallet?

    Cheers,
    IW

  7. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    Graeme, on the few occasions I've bought large-sized dowel from the Big Green Shed in the last 10 years or so, I'm 95% sure it was mountain ash ....
    Yeah; I can also remember good quality dowelling made from mountain ash. Stuff that I have seen lately is much lighter, much courser grained, much wider growth rings, etc. Does anyone still make dowel commercially in Austalia?

  8. #22
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    Hmmm, it's been a couple of years since I last bought any dowel & I'm obviously out of date on my id. So it looks like yet another local product has yielded to the demon profit?....

    Cheers,
    IW

  9. #23
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    Hi GC. Porta mouldings are still going. As to whether all their stock is made in Australia, I don't know

  10. #24
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    I can't believe the amount of great advice I'm getting from a seemingly simple question... if I don't end up making at least a usable chisel handle, it will be 100% on me!

    Graeme, I did think of the big dowels in BGS. Just shows how much of a newbie I am, because I thought they looked & felt like high quality stuff I might will drop by Urban Salvage (reclaimed timber supplier in Melbourne). They usually have an offcut bin with really nice small pieces.

    Azahan

  11. #25
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    No matter how many crap ones you make, you can still make a good one later. At least that's how I've always seen it (so no worries).

    I've made some duds, and a lot of comfortable handles and some flashy.

    But the only ones that were bad were smooth handles where I ignored what people liked historically. Not that you can't land some nifty design that people will like and that'd just new and fresh, but the odds are against you. Proportion and "man fitting" and orientation with tools is just way up there in importance. If you make a decent chisel handle, you'll notice your arms getting tired, or whatever else, but you'll never notice the handle while you're using it.

  12. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrose View Post
    I can't believe the amount of great advice I'm getting from a seemingly simple question... if I don't end up making at least a usable chisel handle, it will be 100% on me!

    Graeme, I did think of the big dowels in BGS. Just shows how much of a newbie I am, because I thought they looked & felt like high quality stuff I might will drop by Urban Salvage (reclaimed timber supplier in Melbourne). They usually have an offcut bin with really nice small pieces.

    Azahan

    Me, too, Azahan; I have also received heeps of excellent advice over the years.

    Often, I make practice pieces out of cheap pine - pallet wood - while I sort out design details and crafting technique, before I start cutting "real timber" - especially if I am using something special. Perhaps two practice handles out of crap timber, then one or two keepers?

    Salvage joints are great for timber and not just their offcut bin. Pre-1970's furniture is commonly made from solid timber and frequently sells for much less than the replacement cost of the timber. (Be wary that you don't buy veneer.)

  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.W. View Post

    OK, back to the OP - now that we've established these patterns, I think you can start with styles like these and then work from there, as they aren't made on a lathe at all. They're made on a belt sander and then coarse and fine filed to finish.
    https://i.imgur.com/BkQQDFZ.jpg

    And if you want, you can make them fatter and make them a pillow shape more like the marples proportions and then remove facets until it's round. by the time you take the facets out of octagonal shapes by scraping, filing or planing (or sanding) off the line between the facets, you have something that's very close to round and it doesn't take much more).

    (these apple handles are different shapes on purpose to try them out - I hate to say it again, the most even octagonal handles are the most comfortable of the group)

    Yup. Those are nice handles. And not a lathe in sight.

  14. #28
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    A lot of good stuff in this thread. I also started off to make handles without lathe. I do not have the space for a proper lathe.

    But then I came across the concept of pole lathe or better bungee lathe in my case. I found a design which uses the work bench as the base and adopted it to my needs. You can have a look here. Beauty is, that it is very cheap, works great and does not use up any space at all. Literally takes me less than two minutes to set up and stores away on my shelf as quickly. Typically people use normal bench chisels on it. So no need to invest in extra tools.

    So if you ever get to a point where you wish to be able to take it a step higher, this might be a way too. I have been playing with it quite a bit in the last weeks. Here is a chisel handle I just finished this morning.

    20220119_131335.jpg

  15. #29
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    Nice work CK . And more from that same plank?

  16. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Ash View Post
    Nice work CK . And more from that same plank?
    Thanks, but no. This is from a piece of River Oak. My next instalment for the plank is still in planning.... I am not getting as much time now as I wished.

    Sent from my SM-G781B using Tapatalk

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