Hey thanks for the comments!
Although it didn't take much time to complete, it was a trick to get the shape (almost) right. I could have done better with the butt. The tenon (to the ferrule "mortise") wasn't as bad as i had expected, just a bit of elbow grease. and the blackwood...a "tad bit messy" and really clogs up sandpaper/file. But, it finishes nicely. I'm happy you (ecchef) appreciate the minor detail of reusing the ferrule and find it still has a vintage look (thanks VB).
The original knife weighed 171g and this one weighs 178g with the new handle. It feels like the balance shifted more than the 7g delta. It's slightly longer (approx 1/4", in order to avoid dealing with the end of the tang which used to be exposed). That probably helped move the extra weight back a bit. Unfortunately, I didn't balance the original. But, it now balances at almost exactly 1" north of the finger guard. In my limited and yet unrefined experience, it feels better in hand.
As an aside, although my wife was uncomfortable with my 10" TI nogent (225grams), she can't get enough of this one (which is also 10", but much more nimble). She prefers it to her 8" gyuto...just goes to show that length doesn't always tell the whole story when it comes to comfort in use, as others have mentioned here before.
Thanks again all!