Harbor Freight sells machetes for $6 (actually, usually on sale at $5). I bought four of them a while ago to use in a film - two normal ones, two flaming. The film didn't end up happening, even though I prepared two of the machetes for flames. My mother commandeered one of the remaining ones to cut plants with. I decided to put a new handle on my last machete - a handle which could, if necessary, accommodate two hands.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
General Materials (what I used)
A machete (from Harbor Freight)
Wood for Handle (broken shovel handle [other handles were not wide enough])
Some spare metal (1" wide strip I found in my barn)
Nuts Bolts, Washers (taken from the multitude)
Rasp (a large file)
Various other standard shop/workbench-type things.
Step 2: Disassemble Your Machete
The Harbor Freight machete pretends to have six screws holding it together, three per side. This is a lie. One one side, there are three screws. On the other side, there are three things which look like screws, but are actually part of the rubber handle and only there to make it symmetrical.
Anyway, unscrew the screws.
Then, pry the handle apart. It doesn't want to go, as there are little pegs holding it together besides the screws. Show determination.
Step 3: The Metal Insert
As I started this, I intended to have two metal inserts, one on each side. You will see that I made both of them. However, with only one in, the balance is near perfect. With two, the handle is far too heavy. So I only used one. It's tough enough.
Decide how long you want it. I decided on about that long.
Cut the piece. Depending on the type/thickness of metal and how large your machete is, you may want two. Turns out I didn't.
Place the machete on top of the metal insert where you will want it to end up. You want it to end up about as far up the machete as the previous handle was, and extending off the handle end with the rest. You may think of this as a handle extender if you prefer.
Take a screw or something that is lying around. Hold it, point touching the metal insert, inside the holes in the machete handle.
Give it a pound with a hammer.
Repeat for the other holes in the machete, where bolts will go.
These spots mark where to drill.
If I had done it this way, I would have been saved a bit of trouble.
Also, drill a hole down away from the existing machete, to make sure everything will hold together later.
Step 4: Make the Wooden Handle
It might be easier to take a couple of wooden slats, cut them to size, attach them, and then rasp & sand them down into shape after. I did not do that. I chose to:
take a shovel handle, put it in the vice, cut one end off, and rip it. Sawing down the length of something, as opposed to cutting across, is called ripping. I do not know why.
I made one initial cut, then made more cuts alongside it, just to take more material out. The shovel handle would have been too big around, especially sandwiching the metal.
Now, cut these off the same length as the metal insert/extender.
Drill holes through one of these pieces where the holes in the metal are. Then flip the metal piece over, and drill holes in the other piece of wood.
Step 5: Assembly
My apologies: by this time, I was so ready to have it all put together that I was no longer taking pictures.
Pretty much, hold it all together and slip the bolts through. I had three main bolts, which passed through the machete, and one little bolt which held it together on the other end.
I slipped the bolts through, made a mark on them with the hacksaw where the nuts would about go to, and then removed them and cut off the extra with the hacksaw. This is so that there are not bolts sticking out everywhere. They only stick out as far as the nuts.
Put them back through, put the nuts on them, and tighten. I could have countersunk to let the nuts sit deeper (as well as the heads), but I would have had to walk to the house for the big drill (the little one couldn't hold a big enough bit), so I didn't.
Anyway, not the machete can be swing with two hands. Also, it looks like it's been through a lot more.