A friend asked me to put a new handle on his old hatchet. The hatchet was well worn and probably an antique, similar to an Eastwig.
I do not believe it was one. The original handle was wood (not leather) and the tang did not look like an Eastwig tang. With the markings worn away a long time ago, it would be impossible to tell.
To replace the handle, the current one had to be removed. There are no progress pictures of this because… I am lazy. The original handle was hidden under 1/16 of electrical tape that was cut off. Under the tape were cracked, dry rotted scales that were easily removed with a screw driver and brute force. The screws that had originally held the handle in place had all but rusted away.
I had some bloodwood from another project that had no planned use for. It is twice as hard as Ash (a common tool handle material) on the Janka scale, so it should hold up to abuse well.
The stock was cut on a bandsaw, attached to the tang of the hatchet and shaped on a belt sander. Once the shaping was complete, copper pins were used to hold the scales in place.
To finish it off, several coats of boiled linseed oil were applied to the handle and this is the result. I am really happy with the way the handle turned out and can not wait to do a similar project. The belt sander really earned its keep on this job, making quick work of the bloodwood and turning the workshop into a pink mess (I am saving up for dust collection).
As a result of this and how well it went, I dug out my old boyscout hatchet. In the coming weeks, I plan to refinish it and take plenty of pictures along the way.