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Old Style Octagonal Handles

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For ancient type handles,... well they're faster to make than to tell about.  I've been meaning to do this for you guys.  This project, which I did just now so you all can see, was total elapsed time, 11 minutes, all in 11 minutes total... I watched the clock!

Now remember this is having to use a vise instead of a shave horse and stopping to take pictures drug down my time considerable.  Plus I'm totally out of practice, it's been years since I made one of these!

Split you out a blank.  Whatever you have seasoned and dry on the way into the woodstove anyway, that happened to not split as it dried.  There is always at least a short section of wood on one side or other that doesn't split. Cut it to length, around the knots, a little overlong.  Use a hatchet if you have kindling making practice and split it out in 2 or three easy chops.  Or use a froe or even a stout dull chisel if you aren't accustomed to splitting all the time anyway.

I grabbed a piece of madrone off the floor laying in front of the woodstove.  Madrone is fairly tough wood, it starts as nearly white or cream and ages like old cherry if you're lucky, and grows around here like a weed.  Use whatever you have handy.

It had a split in one side as per usual and a couple/three knots, so I sawed for length around the knots and split it out.  There was still plenty of good meat in the middle for a simple handle.

Square it up and knock a line 'bout 2/3 rd up.  Or mostly square it up.  Depends on what you think you need or need to see more than any practical purpose.  The old ones should look a little more relaxed in style than your 19th century lathe turned handles I think.  You can futz around and get them pretty crisp if you want, but it isn't essential by any means, is my point.  Mark some rough centers so you can keep track of where you're going.  You want the sweet spot. This where the least bark and wormholes or whatever are lounging around.  Be human cream separator as you go.

A few seconds close personal contact with a drawknife will do to start, and I do mean seconds.  Some hogging cuts to quickly establish where you're going.  This is where a shave horse really shines.  My horse is down for renewal, so I had to use a vise and this is brutally slow and unsure clamping.  The job a horse can do in work like this, is why people invented them.  Fast sure clamping against a solid bed you can really work against, and instant release so you can pull it off for a look and slap it down and grab again for the next cut, just as fast.  Then you taper it.  More at the long end and shorter less taper at the other. This is why you knocked a line on it.

Just go on each side and watch if it's square and such.  It'll all eyeballed, no need for a square or jig or anything.  Fast.

Then knock the corners off.  Follow up with a spoke shave.

You can go to a scraper if you want to get persnickety about it and really even it up.


 
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