I was lucky enough to inherit my grandfathers tool chest. Amongst the tools is a CHISEL I am particularly fond of. Unfortunately the handle has become detached. I am not sure how to reattach it successfully. Could anyone advise me how to proceed?
I do not want to replace the handle because it has a wonderful patina acquired after 100+ years of use and is a link to someone special.
If the tang has just come loose in the handle and the hole inside is still square and straight, an old trick (used mainly on socket handled chisels that occasionally came loose) was to lightly oil the tang and to dip it in sharp sand before re-inserting it. The sand would add grip to a loose fit, though not tight enough not to allow it to be removed later if needed.
A more involved fix if the tang section is so loose as to revolve in the hole, is to drill out the handle, glue in a tight-fitting insert (preferably of the same type of wood) and then to re-drill for the tang. The normal method for this type of pyramid-section tang that is essentially square in section is to drill a series of stepped holes to mimic the section of the tang, then to use the use the tang itself to ream out the hole to suit.
Hard to explain but easy enough when you have seen it done.
Alternatively you could get some epoxy resin…… completely out of keeping with the age of the tool, but a fix none-the-less.
Great advice which I shall have a go at when I can get into the workshop again (after a forced and frustrating absence). The hole is still perfect so the first method will be my starting point especially as I have fine plasters sand which I use with linseed oil for grouting window frames.
It needs to be sharp grit to bite into steel/wood, not fine sand. If it’s still loose, pack it out with some thin strips or shavings.
The chisel blade will be tempered (hardened) from the tip up to a point just below the bolster, so never, never, never bend or lever at this point – it’ll break off. Above this the bolster and tang section will still be unhardened steel.
You’ll still be able to get the handle off in future by a sharp tap backwards on the handle by the bolster.
If it is a snug fit, just try rubbing blackboard or sidewalk chalk on the sides of the tang ( this trick works better with socket chisels) a couple drops of alcohol will soften the grain a little and dry fast. 151 proof rum works best. Make sure you test it.
A traditional method to get more grip is to cut a couple small fishhook-like spurs on the Corners of the tang before you insert it for the last time. Test the tang with a file to see that it isn’t hardened. If it isn’t, you can use a sharp cold chisel and hammer to raise the spurs. They don’t have to be very large- think rasp tooth. I use an old nail set ground To a chisel point.
Even just deforming the corners helps. ( wear glasses)
Make sure the tang is well supported in a metal vise or on a hard surface like an Bench anvil plate.(just a chunk of metal)
The hardest part will be holding the chisel steady.
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