Woodsmith

A custom HANDLE

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The handle forms the woodworkin­g part of this project. Nearly any wood will work for the handle. Chris used maple, beech, and oak for the ones shown here.

BLADE MORTISE. The starting point is to make a home for the blade on the bottom face of a handle blank. Place the blade on the handle and scribe the perimeter with a marking knife or a utility knife, as shown in Figure 1.

Then create a shallow mortise. I used a router plane. Another option is to drill out the waste and clean up the mortise with a chisel (Figure 2).

The point is that the blade fits snug in the mortise and is flush or slightly recessed in the handle. Use the holes in the blade as a guide for drilling the through holes in the handle.

HANDLE SHAPING. Transformi­ng the handle from a square blank into something that’s comfortabl­e to grip is up next. I’ve included the three styles of handles that Chris came up with on

Scribe. Trace the perimeter of the blade with a knife then mark and drill the holes.

the next page. Of course, you are encouraged to create a handle shape entirely on your own.

As much as I like carving, I do like to get the bulk of the material out of the way quickly. So I copied a pattern and taped it to the top and side of the blank. At the band saw, cut close to the pattern lines. Then with a knife, files, and sandpaper, refine the shape until it’s comfortabl­e in your grasp. I find that a little texture offers better grip and control.

Mortise. Create the mortise by drilling out the waste and cleaning up with a chisel.

JOIN THE BLADE & HANDLE. Time to bring the two parts together into a custom carving tool. The box below covers the steps. Insert the blade into the mortise and slip a pair of rivets down through the handle. Cut off any excess until there’s a scant 3⁄16" past the blade.

To lock the blade and handle together, we’ll use the relative softness of the copper rivet to our advantage. Place the handle on a flat metal surface, like the anvil

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