Fitting the Handle into the Socket
If I have done everything right up to this point, I should be able to jam the handle into the socket of the chisel and be done with it. Yeah, right....
Since it is never quite that easy - I use some sight black (soot from a candle or alcohol lamp - or even chalk would be better, but this is what I had handy) I spray the inside of the socket, and jam the handle in to see how it fits:
You can see that it fit pretty well on the bottom, but is touch and go along the top, and not touching at all in the middle. So I take the handle over to the vise, clamp it in tight (I said don't cut that end off from the lathe, didn't I? - this is why) and take a file to it to "lower" the parts that were touched by the lamp black. I use a sweeping motion with the file, and take very light cuts (it can amaze you how fast a file can remove material). I turn the file several times in the vise until I've covered the entire taper, removing all of the marks left by the soot. I then fit the handle into the socket again, and repeat this process if necessary until it fits tightly. It doesn't have to fit perfectly - just uniformly along it's length:
The handle should fit tightly onto the socket, and not fall out - you should have to give it a pretty good tug to get it out. This particular chisel gave me fits, but eventually I got it (though I'd used up all of the taper I made for it - it did finally fit tight enough):
From there, I cut the turning off of the end and touch it up with a belt sander. I then lightly sand the handle with 220 sandpaper.
I've not found it necessary to glue any handles I've made into place, unless it was either a poorly made socket chisel, or simply a bad fit. I have used a small sliver of wood on occasion to help it fit tighter when I find I've removed too much material (Like that ever happens! HA!). Usually though, if that is the case, I will make another handle and cut the taper off of the poor fitting one, drill a hole in the end of it, and use it for a tanged chisel or file handle. To get it to fit tight enough that it won't come out, the only thing I've found that is necessary for a tight fitting handle is to use a bit of boiled linseed oil on it, and shove it tightly in until it fits tightly. The oil swells the wood a bit, and when dry, helps hold the handle in the chisel.
If the socket has been damaged, and it has needed to be reamed out to repair it, then epoxy might be necessary to hold the handle in place.
I finish the handles with several coats of boiled linseed oil, applied over several days. I made four handles in about an hour and a half - here's the three other chisels I did in the same session, each with a coat of linseed oil:
Four chisels back from the brink, and for a cost of 17 dollars and a couple hours of my time, I have 9 great chisels (5 had handles already - including 3 Millers Falls Permaloid plastic handled chisels and a Stanley "Defiance" that were in the same bunch of chisels I purchased):