It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I “carve” with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4” burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn’t leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let’s see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.
Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.
Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com