In one of my older blog I talked about a fellow giving me a 1 ½ inch chisel that didn’t have a handle on it. Well last night I was kind of bored so I decided to put a new handle on it. But the tang of the chisel was a little beat up, it looked like someone was using it without the handle and they had it the metal rolled over, so I used a brace with a reamer on it to cut off all the rolled metal, then filed the top flat, this gave me a flat top and a nice clean taper. Then I soaked the chisel in a solution of Kool-Aid, yes Kool-Aid. I did this to remove the rust and it works well, all you do is mix a package of Kool-Aid with ½ the water and no sugar. I let it soak for a couple of hours then dried the chisel off really good. This took all the surface rust off, but there was still some corrosion and pits in it but this won’t affect the chisel.
. I had some maple from a stool that I cut off from the legs and the off fall looks like they would fit the bill just right. I started preparing the handle by finding the center then I measure the depth I need for the tapered that fits in the chisels tang, then I used a saw to cut a shoulder around the maple and started removing material with a chisel, once I had a round tendon I started on the taper, here again I also used a chisel and rasp. After some trial and error I had a good fit. Then I cut some small nicks in the taper for the epoxy to have something to bite into. I also nicked the inside of the tank of the chisel for the same reason. Then I glued the handle to the chisel with five minute epoxy.
When the epoxy was set I clamped the chisel in my vise and used a spoke shave to rough the handle down to size, then I used a block plane to further clean up the handle. When I had a shape that was close the what I was looking for I started refining to shape by working with files and sandpaper, now I know this tool will a tool that I will be using with my hand more that beating on with a mallet and I wanted something that was comfortable, so I paid a lot of attention to how it felt in my hand and I work from that prospective. Most of the chisels I have purchased in the pass are uncomfortable for me to use in my hands because the handles are to small and they put to much pressure in a small area of my hand causing pain after just a short time working with them so I want a larger butt on the handle of the chisel, this will also give a larger striking area if I am using a mallet and it gave the chisel better balance.
Now for a couple hour of work if you can call it that, and a package of lemon Kool-Aid I have a really nice 1 ½ chisel that would of cost me maybe 30 or 40 dollars, but more that that I got the chance to talk to a interesting man, recycle a nice tool, save a small scrap of maple, and get the satisfaction of making my own tools, well sort of, and I all ready know I’ll be reaching for that chisel more than the one I bought at the store. What more can you ask from ten cents?