I just used some old wood handles from junk carpet cutters. Pulled out the
blade and shaped the wood the way I wanted. Finished with 2 coats of poly.
Another handle wood that might work that most people don't mention is elm.
Its tougher than you think and who cares if it looks bad.
Socketed chisels ? Are these slicks ? Big thing, with a socketed
shank and a loose handle that fits inside. They're meant for hand
use, not hammering.
I like ash for these, because it's strong and lightweight. It doesn't
need compressive strength because you don;t hammer on a slick ! For
big mortice chisels, I use beech as it does resist hammering. If I'm
turning handles for bench chisels, fruitwood, holly or even ivy. It's
easy to scrounge small branches of this from people clearing their
gardens. Too small to saw up, too twisted or stressed by reaction wood
to use as a stick, but they turn into a handle nicely.
Elm (English anyway) is one of the toughest temperate woods going, it
looks great if you scrape and oil it, and it's easy to find.
After Dutch Elm disease, our big elms died off. But often the whole
tree didn't die, it put out suckers and grew another trunk nearby.
These new trunks don't get attacked by the beetles until they're a few
years old and a few inches diameter. Often you see a line of them in a
hedgerow, one dead trunk after another. They're no use for big
timber, but they're effectively self-coppicing and if you collect them
at the right time, you can get some useful small diameter poles that
are very strong. Good tent posts.
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Lots of good advice, check your local woods. I made some out of
hop-hornbeam a number of years back, no problem. Also made a replacement
for some European hornbeam that split on me out of yellow birch, which has
held up to three years of steady mallet work as well as its look-alikes on
my lathe tools.
The leather is as much for your elbow as anything else. Eats vibration
which might otherwise be transmitted back up your arm. Sure, it helps
spread the load a bit where the metal meets the wood on tanged chisels, but
not really needed on yours, if you avoid long-grained woods for your handle.
Especially unneeded if you make your mallets out of green wood and soak in
PEG 1000. That process makes a good soft-blow mallet because it keeps the
outer surface soft.
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