I considered turning a new handle, and while that has a certain appeal I couldn’t get excited about it. I wanted to save the old one. Easy enough to say, but once I made that decision I began to feel it was just too small for the width and weight of the steel.
I used high quality epoxy, mixed with sawdust, to fill the cracks. At this point I am thinking the wood, which may be ash but I’m not certain, will be a lovely natural tone and the epoxy stripes won’t be too unsightly. Alas the wood had some deep stains in it, revealed in sanding.
When I cut the leather washers off I could see the tenon was still sound, just mushroomed. I decided to add a rosewood butt to the handle, increasing its length by 2 inches.
More epoxy, a 1/2” hole in the rosewood to accommodate the tenon (the mushroom shape was a structural gift!) and let it sit.
Here’s the final product: I dipped it in ebony stain, let it dry a couple days and then dipped it in three coats of varnish.
And here’s the result of the hone run:
It’s a usable tool with nice heft and balance. Overall length, 11 inches. I can see it being used to clean out the sides of mortises with a tap tap here and a tap tap there. Meantime, I just leave it on the bench and pick it up now and then and admire it. I hope its new life—anything but a “restoration”—is a long one.
-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"