For more information on chisels, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.
Chisels and gouges just turn up from nowhere with sadly abused handles mashed on the end, split down the centre or with short grain that split off a chunk from the side. I seem to accumulate these waifs and strays on a regular basis and unless I do something with them they quickly become a waste of space. For the main part all are repairable though and rarely is the steel beyond working with. Handles on the other hand may seem more questionable and problematic. Here is a gouge we restored for cope cutting and carving with. The steel aspect came quickly back to working condition, but the handle!!???
Step one is to remove the poor split to a flat surface and this we do with a good sharp #4 smoother. It must be dead flat to make a good mating surface with an add-on piece of the same wood. In this case the handle is ash; it could have been beech or box. These three woods are the most commonly used of all handle woods here in the UK. For this repair I used another chisel handle in ash beyond such repair. Planing a second dead flat surface over the existing split gave me a good match in wood and so I glued the pieces in the vise, clamped them on the outer edges to guarantee good seating and meeting and left them overnight for the glue to set up.
I cut away the bulk of the waste parallel to the width and opposite side fot eh gouge handle and also to length. Now I must round the handle. this one is easy because it’s not barrel shaped like some handles are.
This work takes about 20 minutes all in all.
After all the shaping and sanding was done I added in the cut lines that score the circumferance of the handle. I first used a knife to get the lines to meet and then deepened them with a fine Zona model saw.