I can handle this... the replacement handle is made!

Clearly I need to take these over again with a better contrast background.

Old handle above new handle; the new handle is a tad shorter, due to the shape of the tree branch I was working with, but also due to the shape of the branch it fits my hand much better. From this view, given better contrast, you can see a slight ) shape, with the handle continuing a slightly flattened curve from the blade.

View with blade facing toward me

View with blade facing away from me; the s-curve shape to the handle is subtle

To the left the new blade cover, then the blade with new handle, followed by the original handle and sheath.

I'm not sure what kind of wood I used, I haven't succeeded in ID'ing the tree; it wasn't one of our apple trees, nor the Walnut. Its one of the unknown volunteers, which has been de-volunteered with extreme prejudice. It might be a variety of Oak, the bark has that type of pattern to it, which really helps in regard to holding onto it and not having it slide out of my hand in use.

Initially I thought I was talking big in yesterday's blog entry, about how I could whip this off in nothing flat today, but I wasn't. Except for attaching the blade, I had this done by 8:30AM, starting a bit after 7:00.

First step was evening up the ends, for which I used my TopMan Japanese Saw Double-Edge Cross and Rip Cut, Harbor Freight item 92599, purchased around seven years ago, my first pull-saw. [Product no longer available from Harbor Freight 2017 09 15][Technically, a Ryoba. 両刃. Searching "Ryoba Saw" will pull up many sellers of different models]

The initial pass on narrowing down the end for the ferrule was done using the Shinto SR-30 Saw-Rasp, purchased from Garrett Wade in the same order as the root cutter; hadn't expected to use it quite this soon, but this is the type of thing I purchased it for. [No longer available from Garrett Wade; search for "Shinto Saw Rasp" to find other sellers]

After I got within range of the proper shape/diameter on the end I shifted to my Dremel, using a sanding wheel to finish shaping the end for the ferrule.

So far, easy-peasy. Now for a trickier bit, cutting the slot for the tang of the blade. Back onto the back porch with the pull-saw, clamp the hunk of handle-esque tree branch onto the railing using my left hand, and start cutting with the saw in my right, deliberately wobbling it a bit to widen the kerf sufficiently for the tang to fit. Well, that was the theory, I had to switch to a wider blade later on to get it wide enough for the tang.

Taking the old handle off turned out to be much easier than I had expected it to be. I used my trusty Stanley Yankee Handyman No 46, a lovely push/pull drill which they no longer manufacture, although you can buy a very good replica of their upper end model from Garrett Wade, their Yankee Push Drill, (Item 69P01.01), Chromed Brass rather than the plastic, aluminium and steel of the No 46... Now where was I? Oh yes, I drilled a hole in the old handle from the side opposite the nail that held the tang in place, got it in one try, then tapped the nail out, grabbed my vise-grips and wiggled the blade out of the handle, shifted it to the new handle, tried to wiggle it on, re-sawed the slot, wiggled it on, held it firmly while using a deadblow hammer to tap the bottom of the handle the final bit to get it fully seated, and then tried to locate the hole in the tang...

Tried is the operative word. After several wrong guestimates as to where the hole in the tang was located, I shifted back to the Dremel, grabbed a carbide drill bit of appropriate size, and drilled a new hole; I presume I drilled a new hole, I could have suddenly found the old hole for all I know, wasn't taking it apart to check now was I? No, not checking, Mrs. Mead didn't raise that stupid a son.

The nail from the old handle wouldn't work with the size hole I created, so I grabbed a left-over steel rod from a pop-rivet, tapped it through, got it to bend a bit inside the handle to lock it into place, used a hacksaw to cut off the ends of the rod, and voila! New handle made and in place, total time approximately 2 hours.

I'll be 48 in December, I'll be using this tool many years from now. It has a really great blade, and now has a handle, custom fit to my hand, made from wood from my own yard. I'm a happy camper.

Post this Puppy!

Edit 2017 09 15: Removed links to no longer available products. Changed links to merchant main page and added item IDs to minimize link rot. Added search term advice for finding other merchants.

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