Oddly, enough you can buy Japanese woodworking hammers without handles. Not sure why, but I bought two hammer heads recently and needed to create some handles. I started with an oak dowel that I bought at Home Depot by cutting it roughly in half. (the roughly was due to my cutting skill with a hand saw not part of the design). See below:
With the dowel in the vise I started planning it down from a half round to the start of a small rectangle.
Slowly I’m getting there using a rasp and a file to continue to form the handle. One of the things I did first was to make sure the part of the handle that goes into the head fits correctly and then I worried about the handle.
Here I have finished both handles and neither is glued. I used a wedge to tighten the handle into the head.
The finished handles, are shown side by side. Note the handle on the right does not fit the width of the opening in the hammer head. I’ve debated taking it apart and fixing it but decided to leave it along for now. If I were to try and fix it then I would try to put two wedges in on each side to fill the space.
These hammers are used for setting irons in Japanese planes so they aren’t used for bashing things. We will see how that hammer stands up to use.
This is the handle that I fitted correctly and I let the handle go through the head and you can see the wedge which is sapele also known as sapelli is an african hardwood sometimes referred to as african mahogany.
This is the handle that doesn’t fit well at the top of the handle before the head of hammer. Note that I used a wedge on both sides of the handle at the top.
I cut them flush which was a mistake as my flush cut saw scraped the top of the metal hammer head. It will work fine just doesn’t look the best.
Slowly getting better with practice.