Hand Tools Archive
When I make handles I cheat a little bit you could say. I use a modification of Nic Westermann's slotted dowel method.
Since I have the equipment, I use my hollow chisel mortiser. For a 1/2" wide x 1/8"-ish thick blade I cut a 1/2" x 1/4" (my smallest bit) mortise. Then I glue in 1/16" (or whatever is needed. The handle in the picture is for a 3/32" blade) spacers on each side using the blade to hold them in place (only glue the handle side). Not much glue is needed, this is just to hold them in place.
With the blade out, I can add small chamfers on top and bottom in order to fit the blade better. Shaping the handle is much easier with no fixed blade as well. Once everything is ready, I epoxy the blade in permanently. At this point, the epoxy completes attaching the shims as well.
It took some refining, but I have had good luck this way once I worked the bugs out. Fitting a curved hook knife takes some time. The only major problem is that the length of the handle is limited by the throw of the mortiser.