Handles for a drawknife
First week back to school and life it reverting back to ‘normal’. The summer was pretty amazing - lots of travelling and visiting with friends - more on that later.
I spent a good part of the day clearing off some of those nagging projects that sat waiting over the summer months. Adjusting the pocket door to our sunroom - it was sagging and rubbing against the threshold. Changed a few light bulbs and cleared away a few leaves and cobwebs from the photocell sensor for our front porch light. And there was enough time to get to something I was really looking forward to - getting my Lie Nielsen drawknife up and running.
When I ordered it, I had asked Deneb if they would be willing to use some supplied wood for handles. He agreed and I sent along two pieces of African Blackwood - enough for 4 handles just to be safe. It is a good thing we did - they had a hard time with the broaching - two of them split. Deneb contacted me to fill me in on the issue and we decided to send everything as it was and I would get to it when I could. That was several months ago and the handles and drawknife have been sitting on one of the auxiliary benches ever since.
The supplied handles are beautiful. Beautifully shaped and finished. As soon as I saw the tangs, I knew what the issue was. The handles had a 1/4" round hole through them, but they needed a rectangular hole.
Here is a shot of the tang. There is a nut that threads onto the end and the handle bottoms out on the shoulder of the tang near the leather case.
I clamped the handle into my shoulder vise so I could work on it. The end of the handle just happened to rest comfortably in a dado on the bench which acted as a solid stop.
I was not quite sure how this would work - African Blackwood is not the friendliest material to work with but my Imai chisels performed perfectly. I should not be surprised - I use them for planemaking all the time and they always do everything I ask of them. I also had a coarse file on hand to do any clean up if needed (I ended up not needing it). I used 2 bench chisels and 2 paring slicks. The extra length of the paring slicks were a real advantage along with the fact that they are triangular in cross section allowing me to get right into the corners.
Once I had the first inch or two squared up, I put the handle on to mark the shoulder.
With the shoulder marked, I just pared down to that line.
This shows the final shape of the rectangular hole.
I marked my progress with a pencil line as I went.
All in all it went quite well and there were no mishaps and the handles fit and feel great. Now I need to learn how to hone a curved drawknife.