Once the handle is turned, sanded (to whatever grit satisfies you, I like to go to 400), finished (using whichever method you prefer), and the tang and ferrule or socket are fitted, you are still left with the bit of wood on top that attached the top of the handle to the head stock of the lathe. Carefully cut it off with a handsaw (or bandsaw) and use a chisel, carving knife or sandpaper to smooth out that last bit on the top of the handle.
For socket chisel handles, the portion that will go inside the socket can be mounted in a drill motor or in your drill press, then the back sanded smooth with sandpaper and a sponge while it spins. This leaves a very professional looking finish which is especially nice for paring chisels and other tools that won’t be hit with a mallet.
Pound the socket or tang home, then add finish to the newly exposed area.
Give the whole tool a few extra drops of oil and a bit of wax rubbed on with a microfiber cloth (also known as a Woobie) just for good measure and the tool is ready for another 100 years of faithful service.
Text and photos by Anne Briggs Bohnett
Anne is a young woodworker based out of Nashville, Tennessee. She is passionate about learning and preserving traditional methods of woodworking. Her website is anneofalltrades.com.