Step 4: Shape with Sanding Disc on Angle Grinder
I have found that for removing large amounts of wood and shaping an object quickly, it's hard to beat a sanding disc on an angle grinder. You can by all means carve the entire handle without power tools, but carving across the grain, as we had to do to create the rounded butt of the handle is very difficult. The sanding disc does this work in no time.
The 80 grit disc removes a lot of material, so press lightly, make short passes and remove material bit by bit until you've shaped the handle.
Our two main handle features were 1) a rounded end to the handle and 2) a flattened top surface to rest our thumbs upon. The flat top surface just gives the handle a little less of a massive look. We made both of these features using the angle grinder, and then smoothed out the sanding marks on the stationary belt sander.
If you don't have these power tools, the same process could be done with a dremmel in just about the same amount of time.