One of my favorite things to do is rebuild or fix broken tools. There’s something about making an item useful again that appeals to me. When the crap-tastic handle on my cheapo hatchet broke a few weeks ago, in Toolmonger style I found some extra wood around the shop, designed a pattern, and fashioned a replacement from mesquite I had lying about.
The swan’s head design I completed isn’t the norm, and traditionalists have fits when they hear anyone made a handle from something other than ash or hickory, but conformity really isn’t my style. Mesquite has a Janka scale rating of 2345 while Hickory sports a number in the 1800’s, so no worries on toughness. As far as chipping goes, I’ve done several test overstrikes and it didn’t leave so mush as a blemish. Of course if chipping/cracking does turn out to be an issue, I’ll just make another handle — which will be fun anyway. However I’ve dealt with mesquite before, and this isn’t really a wood that has issues with breaking.
My $5 bargain bin hatchet has now been polished, sharpened, re-handled, and put back into action. It was a good day in the shop.
Got any comfort projects you like to work on for relaxation? Let us know in comments!