I found an old machete blade laying in brush some next to a hiking trail. It was rusted and the handle was missing. The blade was still in good condition, so, I decided to clean it up and replace the handle.
It's really much easier than you would think!
Step 1: Supplies and Tools
As you read this you will see I use several power tool. Most of this project can be done with simple hand tools. The following is the minimum you will need.
1. Power drill (this is the only power tool required.
2. 1/4 drill bit
4. Handsaw, for wood
5. Hand file
6. 2 or 3 wood or c-clamps
1. Sandpaper, buy the assorted grade pack.
2. Wood for the handle. Use a hard wood like oak. It will last longer.
3. 3 inches of 1/4 round bar. They sell it at both Lows and Home Depot in 24" lengths
4. 5 minute epoxy
Step 2: Clean the Blade
The first thing you need to do is clean the blade. The machete I was used had set outside in the weather for several years. There is nothing like some good old soap and water to remove dirt and grime. After washing and removing the heave debris, use some sandpaper. Start off with some heavy 80 grit (examples: heavy 80, medium 120, fine 220). Pay special attention to the area where your hand will be attached. If this area is not clean,
the epoxy will not hold. It may be necessary to use a solvent to remove any grease or oil from this area.
Step 3: Preparing the Handle
I used Oak for my machete handle. I bought a .5" x 3.5" x 36" piece of lumber at Home Depot for $6.00.
Next, trace the blade on the wood. One for both sides of the of the handle.
Cut the handles sides out but don't cut on the line. Give your self some room to shape the wood to the blade handle. I used a jigsaw but the can easily be done with a hand saw too.
I used the existing holes in the blade. It actually had four but I only used three. I used 1/4" round bar for the pins. It's cheap and I like the look. The existing holes for the old handle were a little small so I used a 1/4" drill bit to enlarge them. Measure how thick the wood and blade will be when assembled. Cut three pieces to that length. Mine worked out to be 1 1/8" long.
Using the blade as a guide and drill the whole for the pins. Be careful to make sure they holes match the machete handle.
After the holes are drilled assemble all the pieces to ensure it fits together properly.
Step 4: Attaching the Grips the The Blade
Once again, make sure the handle area of the blade is as clean and dry as possible. Place all pieces within easy reach. Have everything ready to assemble once the epoxy is mixed. I like to use the 5 minute epoxy. It's gives you plenty of time to work with and you don't have to wait very long before starting to shape the handle.
Before opening the epoxy read the packing and instructions. You don't want to have to read them after mixing the epoxy. There is a reason it's called 5 minute epoxy!
I've found it easiest if you go ahead and start the pins in one side of the handle. Also have a hammer and the c-clamps close at hand. Once its all mashed together you might need a hammer to drive the pins all the way in.
While wearing latex gloves use some cardboard to mix the epoxy on. It won't take the whole tube but mix more than you thing you will need.
Apply epoxy liberally to both handle. Assemble the handle and make sure the pins are pushed through and flush on won side. Them attach the c-clamps hand tight.
I usually give the 5 minute epoxy at least 10 to 15 minutes to set before removing the c-clamps.
Step 5: Shaping the Handle
Once the epoxy is cured it's ready. Take your time while shaping the handle. Once you remove he wood you can't put it back on!
I like the use a belt sander to remove the larger area of wood. The same thing can be done with hand files. Once you get close to the shape you like start using the 80 grit sandpaper and then move to the finer sandpaper, 120 or 220 grit, to finish. When it is smooth and to the shape you like, there are many different colors of finishes you can apply.
I chose not to apply any finish. I like the look of the natural wood.k