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permaculture salvage, tool repair, and blacksmith shop

 
gardener
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No, but I do it all the time. The key thing to remember is to start with a piece MUCH larger than you think you will need. From a tree about 8-10" I will get one axe handle from each split quarter. If you are making straight handles, or small ones, you can get more, but always expect a lot of waste. You need to plan for curves in the handle and cracks, knots, bug holes, etc. in the stave. Almost all of the time, split a piece of wood in two; if you try to split a small piece off the edge of a large piece, it will rarely work (unless it is short). The staves can be split green to cure faster, but a handle made from green wood will warp. I took some picks making a handle for an adze a while back and forgot about them. I guess I need to make a thread on it and link it here.
 
pollinator
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That would be great!

How much shaping do you do before drying, as opposed to after?
 
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If you combine your smithing with re-hafting and repair it could be viable. Shaving and turning handles, unless a specialty handle, might not pencil out. Garden hand trowels, weeders, cultivators from salvaged materials are an easy sell and get a premium price at craft fairs.  Handles for older folks and people with grip issues is something I have worked with. Shave horse, steam box, draw knife spoke shave maybe a broad hatchet are tools you will probably need or want for non linear handles like axes and adzes.
 
Jordan Holland
gardener
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:That would be great!

How much shaping do you do before drying, as opposed to after?



The best way is to do all shaping of the handle when completely dry. Any time wood dries, it wants to crack and warp. Using a fresh log is a disaster, using a partially dry stave is do-able, but best to rough out the handle leaving maybe a quarter inch of extra wood to be removed after fully dry. Fully cured wood will be the most stable and can be finished all in one go.
 
pollinator
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:To make this work economically, I'm going to need to learn to make my own wooden handles. I know that riven wood is stronger than sawn. Does anyone know of a book or website which covers the process of riven tool handle making from log to handle?



Suggest checking out the PBS Woodwright Shop videos.  I know he did videos on green wood tool making and spliting stuff there and and shingle making and splitting wood there.  Don't remember if there one on handles but I think those other videos will give you most of what you need to learn to control the direction of split etc.  Also look for the steam bending video.

As for the rest suggest learning your local garbage truck route schedule.  Can you walk those on garbage day ahead of the trucks for exercise and then go back and haul stuff home if you find something interesting?  A lady I dated 20 years ago had 4 things she collected on a regular basis.  Bicycles, vacuum cleaners, push lawn mowers, and bbq grills.  The goal was to find the easy to fix ones to sell or give away and the rest went back in the trash.  Vacuum cleaners more than half of them were simply plugged.  She said it was usually a hose plugged with dried cat feces wedged in it.  Quick fix and then resell.  Gather some common parts from the ones that didn't fix easily(like new vacuum bags) and trash the rest for a second time.  Bikes she gave away to neighborhood kids but she got probably 25 easily fixed bikes a year in her area.  BBQ grills was often simply missing knobs or bad igniters.  There again easily fixed.  Also she found many of these that were good but someone had simply trashed because they got a new one.  Push lawn mowers a bit of fresh gas with sea foam added and a new spark plug got a fair number of these running.  Replacing pull ropes and broken wheels saved a few more.  Rest simply went back in the trash.  The goal was always to find the ones that could be fixed most easily.  She found lots of other interesting things too.  Furniture etc.  Heck I am still wearing a coat she found then.   The first step was simply taking a walk for exercise down the right alleys on the right days.
 
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