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I just made my first tool handle from a piece of unidentified wood that I picked up at Rockler today. It's not perfect, but at a certain point each adjustment fixed one bump but introduced another.

Thanks to John Lucas for his video guides, I knew to use a parting tool to set the important diameters, and I got my first real skew practice. The end result is a little thinner than my original plan, but you can't see the tracks where the skew got away from me :laughing:

I used a copper plumbing coupler as a ferrule, it was threaded so I could screw it onto a tenon then cut off the excess. Turned it round with a cheap scraper and sanded it a bit.

My plan is to use it for a Doug Thompson spindle detail gouge as shown in the picture. I have one of his handles, but two of his gouges -- so I have to keep swapping between the detail gouge and a bowl gouge.

Questions: the gouge fits quite snugly into the handle, should I glue it in anyway? If so, any particular type of glue recommended? Any special tricks?

Thanks!
 

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When I install steel in my handles I do it one two ways. I glue them in with a little epoxy. You can simply heat the tool if you ever need to remove the handle. Epoxy softens at about 160 degrees so it doesn't take much. you can also knock the handle off using a deadblow hammer. I clamp the metal in my vise and use a stick and deadblow hammer to drive the handle off.
The other method is to drill a hole very slightly undersize. The heat the tip of the tang end to almost read hot. Then drive it in the handle. This makes a perfect fit and usually doesn't need glue. I use that mostly for square or tapered tangs but have done it on round tool with not problems.
 

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An important tip for using epoxy. Epoxy forms an air tight gap and will often force the steel back out by hydraulic pressure. You can clamp the work from both ends but what I do is to drill a small hole through the side near the bottom of the original hole. The excess epoxy is then pushed out this hole. The epoxy seals the hole. You can wipe off any excess with a little alcohol.
This method won't push the metal back out so no clamps are needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks again John, your tip about drilling a small relief hole to let the surplus epoxy escape is the way I'll do it (but it means the 48" clamps I bought when they were on sale will continue to sit unused ... for now!)
 

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How deep would you recommend drilling the hole for the tool? I've only done a parting tool handle, but have thought about putting a new handle on a couple of other tools I have.
 

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It sort of depends on the handle itself. The weak points on the handle are right at the juncture between the tang and the wood of the handle, and the thinner part of the handle where many people hold it. This second area isn't really a problem because it's usually quite thick. The first area is where I've seen them break. I extend the tang at least an inch or more beyond this.
Sort of depends on the tool as well. Obviously you won't be putting as much force on a1/4" gouge as you would a 5/8" bowl gouge. I think 2 to 3" is good for the big bowl gouge. Probably 2" for 1/2". I wouldn't go shorter than about 1 1/2" for any tool unless it's as small as my 3/32 gouge.
 
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