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DSCN0843 Shaping a Handle | by Andrew Henwood
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DSCN0843 Shaping a Handle

For hammer handles, ash or hickory is certainly best, and oak, (which was the material of the old handle) is very good. But I happened to have an offcut of hard maple that had been hanging around for thirty-five years or so, waiting for the perfect use. It was just the right size, and hard enough and strong enough to last the next two or three generations with care.


I started by tracing upon it the profile of the former handle, then used the bandsaw to rough it out. Then I used spokeshaves to round the edge corners and fair the lines. I cut two slots crosswise at the head end with the bandsaw to accept wedges.

By rights, you should have a shaving horse to hold the handle whilst shaping it, but I am not a chairmaker and seldom make handles, so I can’t justify the space it would take up. That’s why I left the handle blank nice and long and square, so I could hold it in the vise instead.

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Taken on August 9, 2012