Replacing Gouge Handles
I recently inherited a set of gouges, most of which have splits in the handles. How do I go about making a new set of handles? All of the gouges have ferrules.
Terry Melia, Cardiff by the Sea, CA
The wood should be a dense, tough species such as hickory, ash, or–my favorite–boxwood, which is very smooth to the touch. The handle should be about the same length as the “business” end of the gouge.
Drill a 1/8-in. hole at the center of one end to a depth slightly longer than the tang, then mount the blank between lathe centers. Turn the blank down to the largest diameter of the intended handle. At the end with the drilled hole, turn a “bed” to the length and diameter of the inside of the ferrule. If the ferrule isn’t salvageable, you can make one from brass or copper pipe or tubing.
Remove the blank from the lathe and fit the ferrule snugly over the bed. Remount the blank on the lathe, and turn the handle to its final shape.
Remove the handle from the lathe and enlarge the pilot hole until you can insert the tang up to the last 1/4 in. or so. Hold the tool shank in a vise and drive the handle onto the tang with a wood mallet.
Photos: Charles Reina