Drilling a replacement wa handle

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Rufus Leaking
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Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Rufus Leaking » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:17 pm

Just for shits & giggles, I'm making a replacement handle for a Gihei 165 petty. The original handle is the same one as the 210 or 240, I think; it is 75mm in circumference, just a ho wood oval. It's more the shape- I would prefer some flats. Regardless, I've picked up a really nice piece of Italian olive wood with some really interesting figuring. It was only $15, and one of the guys at the Woodcraft store told me that he has worked with it before, it is an easy wood to sculpt. My issue is- how can I accurately drill a hole for the blade without using a drill press? It will be easy enough to accurately mark out, but I plan to angle two holes to match the tang, then a third to bisect the two. My skills with a drill are superior, as I was a machinist for many years. The hole(s) will obviously be the first step, and I plan to use a protractor with a battery-powered drill and some small diameter jobber bits, freehand. Even if I owned a drill press, this would be an issue of sorts, as the blank would be somewhat difficult to secure, and even with a protracted vise, even on a Bridgeport, this would be near hit-or-miss without considerable set-up time. I don't think it should be that difficult. I could simply drill head on, at a true perpendicular angle, but I want as little filler as possible. Any thoughts?

Carter
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Carter » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:29 pm

I wouldn't worry so much about drilling a tapered slot....just drill 3 main holes and then use the same bit or a smaller (I use a 1/8") and a combination of needle files or small Dremel to hog out the rest of the material. You may need to heat the tang and burn it in a little. Use epoxy to fill the tang slot and that will take care of not being drilled in a tapered fashion. If the handle is going to be multi-piece, only the front of the ferrule needs to be milled in the dimension of the tang. I put my handles together with a 3/8" dowel, so the main handle and the back side of the ferrule are drilled at 3/8" on the drill press.

nevrknow
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by nevrknow » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:44 pm

Zipbits for the win. Short milling bits in your language only for wood. That drill factor plus side mill capability made it easier for me. Then file and burn to fit.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Kit Craft » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:03 pm

I could have swore my 210 had a octagonal handle. I don't have it any longer so I can not confirm but your handle does sound like what is on my santoku. I don't like oval handles either, nor octagonal for that matter. D only, for me. :D

Can't wait to see what you come up with, finished photo wise.

Bensbites
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Bensbites » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:29 pm

There are many ways to do this. While olive wood is very easy to work with, I am not sure it is the strongest wood. You might want to think about another wood as the ferrule; rosewoods are very durable.

There are many many ways to cut this if you want a different ferrule wood.

If you only want a one piece handle I would give yourself extra room on the sides and fill with epoxy to solidify the setup.

Feel free to email me for one on one advice.

Rufus Leaking
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Rufus Leaking » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:15 pm

Thanks to all- I'm thinking about an ebony ferrule- I have the stock. With the ferrule, I was thinking about using a plug cutter; I've got time, feet of stock. I'm thinking that if I lay the blank on a shim and clamp it to my bench, and drill straight on, I can accomplish a taper. With a ferrule, that becomes less necessary, but as a machinist, I think I can pull it off, the whole perfect slip fit idea. I'll take pics, I don't know if I can post them here, but I'll create an email file. Olive isn't known for strength, but this piece is roughly 12x 2x 2, and looks to tighten up with the grain rather quickly, as if it is the near-center of a 5-6" piece- it's interesting.

Bensbites
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Bensbites » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:58 pm

Rufus Leaking wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:15 pm
Thanks to all- I'm thinking about an ebony ferrule- I have the stock. With the ferrule, I was thinking about using a plug cutter; I've got time, feet of stock. I'm thinking that if I lay the blank on a shim and clamp it to my bench, and drill straight on, I can accomplish a taper. With a ferrule, that becomes less necessary, but as a machinist, I think I can pull it off, the whole perfect slip fit idea. I'll take pics, I don't know if I can post them here, but I'll create an email file. Olive isn't known for strength, but this piece is roughly 12x 2x 2, and looks to tighten up with the grain rather quickly, as if it is the near-center of a 5-6" piece- it's interesting.
The ebony and olive wood will look stunning.

If you want to exercise you machinists skills and make a perfect fit as a sense of pride, I get it.

From a practical perspective of someone who has banged out 20 handles as part of my side gig, I would make the tang hole larger than you need and fill with your binding agent during install.

If you don’t mind me suggesting this next bit: make a handle or two just to practice before you touch the ebony and olive wood. It took me a few runs to come up with a product I really liked

Rufus Leaking
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Rufus Leaking » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:10 pm

@bensbites- I've just a hint at the tang length and general dimensions on this knife. I still have the handle on it. Even if it is unshapen, irregular, I can file it down if necessary. I expect it to be truncated. I plan to drill into a sacrificial maple block that I have - I have several from another job from a vanity I made- good point. I'm a little perplexed at the "burn in", having seen it on YouTube. I see no need for this. With properly applied Tite-bond rather than epoxy and some of the chips from the drilling, I think I can seat the tang. I'm going to need some play, because no matter how good I think I am at freehand drilling, there's going to be some axial error. It may take a gluing jig to get my desired final knife/handle geometry, I don't know, but I need to be prepared for this. I want to secure the ferrule with a rectangular cut that leaves radiussed corners to circumvent cracking and splitting. I'm thinking and hoping that a Lie-Nielsen chisel will facilitate the ebony ferrule mortise; I've worked this same hunk of ebony before, and it was a real bear to tool. It is now 30 years old. I'd almost rather work metal. Thanks for the input, I will do a maple blank first, I may use it on another knife later if I don't eff it up. The ferrule will be the most difficult part of this.

Bensbites
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Bensbites » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:44 pm

Rufus Leaking wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:10 pm
@bensbites- I've just a hint at the tang length and general dimensions on this knife. I still have the handle on it. Even if it is unshapen, irregular, I can file it down if necessary. I expect it to be truncated. I plan to drill into a sacrificial maple block that I have - I have several from another job from a vanity I made- good point. I'm a little perplexed at the "burn in", having seen it on YouTube. I see no need for this. With properly applied Tite-bond rather than epoxy and some of the chips from the drilling, I think I can seat the tang. I'm going to need some play, because no matter how good I think I am at freehand drilling, there's going to be some axial error. It may take a gluing jig to get my desired final knife/handle geometry, I don't know, but I need to be prepared for this. I want to secure the ferrule with a rectangular cut that leaves radiussed corners to circumvent cracking and splitting. I'm thinking and hoping that a Lie-Nielsen chisel will facilitate the ebony ferrule mortise; I've worked this same hunk of ebony before, and it was a real bear to tool. It is now 30 years old. I'd almost rather work metal. Thanks for the input, I will do a maple blank first, I may use it on another knife later if I don't eff it up. The ferrule will be the most difficult part of this.

With all due respect to your skills, and trust me, I believe you have them. Do a few google searches on how people build wa handles. It might inspire you to go a different route.

I always thought tilebond was better for wood to wood applications than metal to wood. It is certainly less effective on greasy woods like ebony. I would suggest 2 part epoxy for the ferrule to body junction.

As far as the handle install. I would suggest either a 5 minute epoxy and hold the handle dead straight until the epoxy sets up. Alternatively, I know some people like beeswax to install the blade.

Either PVA glues like tilebond or mist epoxies will not survive a burn in. Most of those adhesives are not stable above ~ 200 F

Rufus Leaking
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Rufus Leaking » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:56 pm

I'm with you on all accounts. On further thought, if I get an ebony blank and cut it into a tenon, then mortise the olive while it is still the full, slip-fitting that up, THEN drilling, I think I'd be better off. Epoxy it will be- I've got a bunch of T-88.

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JeffWard
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by JeffWard » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:44 am

Getting it straight from the start has a lot to do with careful milling or drilling, and then scraping out the slot carefully. You can make some minor adjustments to the straightness here by scraping the inside of the slot as needed. If it is too far off, best start again. And you don't want to open up the front too much. I do leave a little slop in the front so that some epoxy will fill that slight void.

Hiroshima
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Hiroshima » Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:57 pm

I’ve now made 15 handles. All with dowel center and a drill press. I’d say find a buddy with a press and buy them a six pack. It’s way easier to use a slotted dowel

I should say though that I did try the single piece method and a slot the whole thing. The from furrel area just got messy for my taste and gave up. I prefer to use a dowel and a fitted furrel

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JeffWard
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by JeffWard » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:57 am

I forgot the brace handle at home once…….went without it that day and never looked back. Haven’t used it since. I see no need for it, as I brace the drill with both hands. My boy does the same and has drilled a ton of holes with it w/o the handle.

Jason H
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Re: Drilling a replacement wa handle

Post by Jason H » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:30 am

As someone looking in and not understanding the language, I’d love to see some pictures of what us happening here.

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