No, not that kind of "handling", I mean fitting a new handle to an old tang. I know there's one or two in here who have posted up some lovely pictures of their own DIY handled knives in the "what was the last thing you made" thread, so I'm after a bit of advice.
I have a "modern" stamped steel plate billhook* for snedding in the coppice, but being stamped plate it's rubbish at keeping an edge. So i've been hankering after an olde forged billhook for a while. Finally came across half a dozen at a local sales and picked out a style that suits what I need for £10. The handle on it was rotten though, so having removed it I'm left with a bare tang.
What's the process for fashioning and fitting a new handle? I have access to lots of good poplar - would that make a suitable material?
Someone mentioned to me about soaking the wood before fitting so that it swelled and then as it dries it tightens on the tine - does that work? I take it I drill a starter hole down the handle shaft first.
Should I add a rivet hole in the wider bit of the tang? OR even as Ive seen before, die thread the end of the tang and use it to screw a retaining washer on the butt?
Or do I just say sod it and buy a new hickory handle for £10?
* insert Two Ronnies joke here