While working with the metal part of the plane floats was a necessary step, so is some sort of handle. My goal is to follow my thinking on my chisel handles. Multiple kinds of wood, possibly some dyed and acrylic impregnated. Since I am not ready to implement that quite yet (read, to many other irons in the fire) I thought I could at least think through the process and make a temporary one.
Oh look I happen to have some oak laying around and thought why not give it a shot. I can get the dimensions and proportions right so they feel good in my hand. I can also figure out how to use these brass rivets best.
I took two glued up 3/4″ square pieces for the top, the same for the bottom, and some scrap pieces the same thickness as the steel. Glued it all up and let it set. Then with it clamped in my vise I planed it to approximate size. It took a couple of tries but I finally got it about right. I chamfered all the edges to make it more comfortable.
I drilled for the shaft and counter bored for the heads. A few smacks with the hammer and they grabbed hold and moved no more. That was nice and easy. I put final touches with a file on it to make everything extra smooth.
Light bulb goes on, I could ebonize it! I brewed a fresh batch of oak ebonizing solution (vinegar and steel wool). This is such a simple process and you get a great result. I coated it once, let it dry. I grabbed a hold of it and I could tell the grain was raised quite a bit. A quick hit with some 220 grit sand paper to knock off the high spots. Then a second coat of the solution and let it dry again. I then grabbed some raw linseed oil and applied two generous coats over about an hours time. This sure warmed up the previously cool color. The blotching is from different pieces of wood, if you look close in the picture you might be able to see it was made with six pieces of wood. Note the glare is from the oil being wet still, it dried to a nice dull sheen as I had expected.
Now I have to decide if this is going to be really a temporary handle or if I am going to make the rest like this. Oh the tough decisions we have sometimes!