gripSo what do faculty do when they are done teaching?

Try to get a grip!  On a stroll through the Logging Shop I noticed that a peavey and mattock had lost their handles. Grip, handle—get it?

Last year I made two new peavey handles, but only one of them survived.  The pick mattock head was sitting there all by itself, no handle in sight. So I had a little woodwork to look forward to.

The finished products are pictured right.

Getting the broken shard of the previous handle out of the peavey head was easy.

I found a fairly straight length of a freshly broken ash tree while clearing the Catamount Trail so I brought it home to the workshop. This piece of wood was fairly green so I painted the end grain to reduce cracking if it dried out too quickly.  The four to five inch diameter log shaped easily with a carving axe, then drawknife, and finally the rasp. A coating of linseed oil and voila!  About three hours total time.

As the handle slowly dries it will be a able to slide farther into the peavey head. I’ll need to test its fit in the Fall.  So that is really three hours and three months.

sawing logWorking up the mattock handle took a lot more time.  The starting stock was a six inch diameter white ash log the Tools class had cut in the Fall 2015.  While drying over winter and Spring it had developed a big crack through the center revealing  fairly twisted grain. I was able to split it in half using the pick end of the mattock head.  After drawing on the shape from another handle, I sawed it closer to the final shape.  While there was less material to have to carve away, if piece was far from straight. You can see the 30 degree twist in the photo.

The next stage was using the drawknife to narrow the handle to a graspable size, while paying constant attention cutting away the parts that weren’t part of a straight handle.

You can see the darker heart wood contrasting to the lighter colored sap wood.  Big splinters can be pulled up around the knots.

Then sliding the head on to adjust the fit.  A mattock head if flared inside and stays on just because the bottom end on the handle flares out wider than the head

Final fitting was done with the rasp.

I used a finer rasp for final shaping of the grip.  Again some linseed oil—and it’s back into action.



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