I finally worked in time on and off to finish this project. I took my tanaka ku 165 deba and tried to pimp it out a little. (This doesn't necessarily make me a post whore?) Anyway, I thought I would show how I did it with the results. Hopefully it will help some of you to try it. It's not as hard as you'd think and it's pretty rewarding to do it yourself. Besides if you mess it up, you can reinstall the old handle or ship it to someone listed here as a handle maker to make one for you. I first removed the handle and removed the ku finish with my buffing wheel using greaseless compounds, finished by buffing and hand polishing with flitz. I know that's kind of cheating. I had to finish it this way to preserve the hammer marks and the engraved kanji. The old handle was comfortable but was an oval handle and I wanted a tapered octagon. I took measurements and wanted my finished handle to be very similar in size and taper. Here is a picture of it un assembled and the new handle rough block.
I used taz's technique with the dowel rod. I didn't take any photos of this stage of making it, but a hole was drilled down into the padauk part of the handle and the dowel rod was epoxied in. Enough was left sticking out the top for the brass spacer and the ebony ferrule to be drilled out and epoxied on as well. The dowel comes up to within about 3/16 of an inch to the end of the ferrule. This photo shows the tang end and you can see the poplar wood dowel inside, looking into the tang hole.
The tang hole was first drilled out with a pilot hole down through the center of the handle, which is also through the center of the dowel rod. The deba has a large tang, so it took quite a bit if file work to get the squared out mortise finished. The tang mortise is equal to the length of the tang, so this hole goes fairly deep into the handle. If I were to do this one again I would draw out the tang mortise hole and drill holes at each end and then file out the center and square up the ends. I could have saved a lot of time.
Next I used the disk sander to fine tune the tapers on the rectangular block. I then set the table on the disk sander to 45 degrees and sanded down the corners moving from one corner to the next. I did a little at a time on each edge until they were all uniform and the octagon looked and felt proper. I then sanded down all the flats using a progression of sandpaper 200, 320, 400, 600, 1500. The sheets were laid on a piece of glass to keep all the flats straight and crisp.
Next I applied. 3 coats of tung oil buffing between each coat. I will apply oil and wax and buff it again after a few days. Here is the final product. I wanted it to match the fish scaler I did for practice. I added the brass spacer to make it look a little more professional and to tie in the brass from the scaler.
There are more qualified people to make a post like this, but seeing that it's a first time rehandle, I hope it inspires someone to try it. It also shows you what you can make a fairly inexpensive knife look like. Anybody reading this that has any time saving tips or the like, please comment. I hope to get better at this.