Thursday, April 22, 2010

Getting a Handle On It

Here's a topic that I've been aching to write about. In past posts, I've talked about the factors that, for me, make a drawknife worthy of buying. A lack of pitting, a straight blade, good steel and lastly solid handles. Well, finally, my collection of drawknives with loose handles has pushed me to address this handle issue, and I'm quite happy to have done it, because now I can offer a new life to those misfit drawknives that I used to pass by.

The first step in replacing drawknife handles, beside a big gulp for fear of never getting it right, is to split off the old one. By splitting off the handle, the ferrule, tang and end cap are left in pristine condition.

It is one of those "can't turn back" moments, but let's face it, the knife was just sitting around any way. The anatomy of the old tang is interesting. As I've found them, they are rectangular tapers that transition into a round shank.

Looking at the split handle gives a clue as to how to remake it. There is a stepped hole drilled through the center. But before turning the handle, the end cap and ferrule must be removed. To do this, I pushed the endcap, which is held on the shaft via the peened end, up on the shaft and pounded the end out so that the cap could slide off. Later, I'll show how to anneal the end so that the shaft can be peened again to hold the end cap in place.

Above is the end of the shank after being pounded out. Besides being a relatively simple and fun project, I am anticipating the moment where I am standing in front of a tool dealer after hearing the price of a drawknife when I can say "yeah, but the handles are loose."
Next is making the new handle.


johnjoiner said...

If the wood is good, and just loose, could one just tap the endcap up until its tight, and peen the end of the shaft to hold it all in place?

Peter Galbert said...

If the handle is just a tad loose, that might work fine. I think that at some point in the past I've done it. I'm afraid that there comes a time when only drastic measures will suffice!

Josh P. said...

Been looking forward to this series of posts since our class in March. Time to go split handles.

Thanks Pete!

Peter Galbert said...

I have about 5 more knives that need rehandling! Good luck,