Mulberry for a chisel handle?


I'm reconditioning an old socket chisel for my nephew who's due back from Iraq just before Christmas. I'd like to use a nice piece of Mulberry from a tree we took down a few years ago. The wood is pretty, it's got a little meaning for both of us, and from the experiments I've tried, it'll be fairly easy to shave into a handle. Not REALLY easy, but I know I can do it. No lathe yet, but I'm getting pretty good with a spokeshave and whittling.
I *think* this is a firmer chisel. It's about 6 1/2 inches long, 1 1/4 wide, and it's tapered, as in the blade's thicker at the top. It's got the word "Sargent" stamped in the face.
I'm going to put a piece of rawhide at the top of the handle for striking. What I'm wondering is, will the Mulberry be just too soft for this, and not last even a few whacks with a mallet? I don't care if it wears out after awhile, this is my first handle and I'll just make another one out of cherry or something. He lives close by.
If Mulberry's really not suitable, I'd like to try that hunk of Mango I brought back from vacation. Either the Mulberry for personal reasons, or Mango just so he can tell his friends it's a handmade Mango handle.
But then, if both of those are poor choices, I'll go get some off-the-shelf cherry or rosewood and use that. I'd really like to use one of those two, though.
Dan
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A suggestion Dan: post your message over on rec.crafts.woodturning. I know there are turners on that group who have worked with mulberry so you may get a quicker response than this group for non-commercial woods like this.
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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Dan wrote:

G'day Dan, I can't help much with the timber types but no matter what I used I'd put a metal feral on striking end as well as one where the chisel enters the handle. It will do a lot to strengthen the handle and the top one will reduce (if not elimate) mushrooming. Regards John
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Hey Dan... I have turned a fair amount of mulberry. This can be an ugly wood (sometimes it is really yellow) depending on what you want to use it for, but it is very dense and really hard when completely dried.
I mean really hard. With a proper ferrule on it, the handle should just about last as long as the chisel.
Robert
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wrote in

I thought much the same thing, till I ran into a guy with a full set of tang chisels, all with new handles, that had thick rawhide both as a washer where they met the base and as a striking plate. He soaked a new rawhide dog chew toy and cut off pieces for the handles. Says he's been using them heavily for years without a problem. He used cherry and he never hits them with anything but a wooden mallet.
So, thanks folks, I think I'm going to give the mulberry a try. Chances that it will work seem above average, chances that I'll learn something appear to be 100%. :-)
If it doesn't hold up we'll just try something else.
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Mulberry should work, as long as it's got lots of annual rings in it. Fast-grown stuff won't do it.
I guess I'm the only one who caught your socket chisel reference, so no ferrules down at that end. Anti-mushrooming devices like a rawhide washer or "schlagring" - slam ring - would work nicely up above, depends on what you're most comfortable with. The rawhide would certainly be easier on a whittled handle.
You'll want to fit the taper to the socket carefully. Push in, twist round, reduce the slick spots until you have a reasonable fit. leave room at the bottom, obviously
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