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  1. #1
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    wa handle making tools and guide

    hey guys id love to start getting into making wa handles but dont know what equipment is recomended to start. if there are any threads with the info im looking for feel free to link. thanks

  2. #2
    When I made my first wa handle, I pored over the internet looking for resources. In the end I had to cobble a bunch of methods together and hope for the best since all of the information out there is mostly incomplete.

    As far as tools...I'd suggest a drill press (a lathe would be super nice!) with a decent set of drill bits (I use up to 1/2"), and some kind of decent belt/disc sander with a true flat platen. Other than that, some clamps for glue up...and you're pretty much set. You can do it with less...if you're determined, but I'd say that to make them effectively that would probably be the bare minimum I'd recommend you use. As a matter of fact...thinking about it...it's exactly what I still use lol.

    Oh, also...some type of miter saw...or table saw would be nice as well. I am using an old Craftsman radial arm saw...and its a life saver compared to doing it by hand like I did with the first one.\

    Hope that helps!
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

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    mkriggen's Avatar
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    What I did is go to the "shop talk" forum, start from the back and work your way forward, reading all the threads that relate.
    Rule #1- Don't sweat the small s%&t, rule #2- It's ALL small s%&t
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    As mentioned above, a disk sander would be your most useful machine for wa handles. You can use it to hog down blocks to size and do all of the shaping of the handle. It will also accurately square off your handle material which is essential when making multiple piece handles.

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    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    From what I've ascertained, you should try and go with the biggest disc possible, probably no less than 9", maybe 12" preferred; being that you really only use about half the discs length, and most wa handles are 5+ inches....

    Also, some quality clamps and rasps will be necessary. A part I skimped on, and regretted it, with my first attempt. Slotting out the hole is a real pita....
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
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    Somebody once told me "you can do a lot with a little, or a little with a lot".... think that fits woodworking projects well. For speed and accuracy I would say a drill press and a belt/disc sander are the two most useful power tools to have. I rely mostly on those. A band saw is also a big help for sizing blanks or rough cutting spacers and things but it's not at all essential.

    If you're going to go with D handles or do a lot of hand shaping - some good files, or some adhesive backed sand paper stuck on flexible sticks of hardwood are huge help too.
    A carvers vise, or some sort of "holding" tool that will make it easier to work on the pieces freehand is another plus.

    For slotting the tang hole, I will use a dremel tool to help along with a drill press.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CPD View Post
    Somebody once told me "you can do a lot with a little, or a little with a lot".... think that fits woodworking projects well. For speed and accuracy I would say a drill press and a belt/disc sander are the two most useful power tools to have. I rely mostly on those. A band saw is also a big help for sizing blanks or rough cutting spacers and things but it's not at all essential.

    If you're going to go with D handles or do a lot of hand shaping - some good files, or some adhesive backed sand paper stuck on flexible sticks of hardwood are huge help too.
    A carvers vise, or some sort of "holding" tool that will make it easier to work on the pieces freehand is another plus.

    For slotting the tang hole, I will use a dremel tool to help along with a drill press.
    A band saw.../drool! I'm happy with my radial arm saw for now...but I hate how much wood it wastes in the kerf. It may not seem like 3/16" is a lot...but its enough that it limits my options for handle blanks sometimes...particularly when I'm cutting liners/spacers of the same wood. 3/16" waste for a 1/16" spacer is a sucky trade.

    I've been using a zip bit in a dremel (you need the high speed or it just wanders all over the ferrule) for the tang slot. It's VERY nice...but man do you have to be careful.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrisAnderson27 View Post
    I've been using a zip bit in a dremel (you need the high speed or it just wanders all over the ferrule) for the tang slot. It's VERY nice...but man do you have to be careful.
    Cris, you should check out the flex shaft attachments for the dremel. I use one of them to do inlay work sometimes (good for engraving too) and it's much much easier to control than trying to hold the whole machine freehand. At about $35, i think, it is not expensive and it makes it much easier to be precise with a dremel. Also, I use downcut inlay router bits that I got from a luthier supplier. They cut fast, clean and quick...but most importantly, being downcut, they don't wander.

    (Guitar makers have some awesome specialty tools for doing fine detail work..and often their router bits/burrs are much better than the standard stock at the local hardware store. )

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPD View Post
    Also, I use downcut inlay router bits that I got from a luthier supplier.
    Can you supply name/link of the supplier, I would love to get some of those bits.

    Mahalo,
    Mikey
    Rule #1- Don't sweat the small s%&t, rule #2- It's ALL small s%&t
    Mikey

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkriggen View Post
    Can you supply name/link of the supplier, I would love to get some of those bits.
    y
    Pretty sure I got them from stewart mac (stewmac.com)..... them or LMII - both sell all kinds of cool tools and supplies for guitar makers. There are lots of specialty bases and bits for dremel or mini routers at both.

    For dremel type bits - another unusual source is jewelery maker/supply shops like Rio Bravo. You can often find high quality and unusually sized burrs/bits from them (try and find a 1mm cutting edge) .... though their stuff is aimed more for metal shaping/grinding/polishing than using on wood

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