for anyone interested in trying such a project: The wood is impregnated with a stabilizing resin already. Not strictly necessary for a hardwood, but it should help with not warping/cracking. Thats more of a problem for western handle scales pulling away from the tang then on wa handles. Fit the wood into the horn with a mortise and tenon joint, then epoxied. To make it shiny, we took it up through 1500 grit sandpaper, then a finished with linseed and beeswax. The blade is burn fit in so I have the option of moving it to another knife eventually. I might use hide glue, which is reversible too, using moisture and heat.
It just feels more solid and heavier than the burnt chestnut D shaped handle I replaced. Burnt chestnut varies in quality I guess, because the octagonal ones from JKI , I like a lot.
I didn't originally. Then I started picking up tools when I started those forgecraft fixer upper projects. I now have a 4x36" belt sander and a drill press. Soon a band saw. Then a forge! just kidding... maybe
I'll say you get what you pay for with harbor freight. I spent almost an hour getting the belt to track.
I do like working with hand tools as much as possible, especially on western handles. Sanders make a ton of heat. At some point the epoxy stops working, so you have to stop and cool it down a lot.
That's why I like the simplicity of wa handles. It's not a bunch of metal and spacers and wood and pins all held together by epoxy; it's just one solid block of wood mostly. And it won't warp on you and pull away from the tang like western scales either.
Yeh and the HF sanders are also prone to throwing bearings. I thought maybe without a sander you would rough plane the handle, rough file the horn and then put everything together and finish sand with a block. Bit of a pita though.