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BrendanMc - emailed on 8 April 2010 16:45:37 BDT
Hello Brendan,
Thanks for your message - I have been out to my wood suppliers all day and just got back. Glad to hear it arrived safely!

You have a choice - you can either hide the reinforcer by doing just what you have said - cut to smaller than size, glue in, and then use an infill to hide the cut, or you can do what most people do - and that is celebrate the white stripe as an enhancement. It is entirely up to you. I presume this is the first time you have purchased a handle for stick diy. I will assume this and speak accordingly. If you know what I am telling you, then you can always throw it away, if you don't, then what I tell you may help you.

In order to reinforce the handle, you have to install something which strengthens the 'short' grain. You can do this in one of three ways (probably more if I think about it for a time):

1) Laminate wood layers together with the grain in opposing directions - same as plywood is made
2) By drilling a hole into the handle across the short grain, in much the same position as I have made the saw cut - a wood/bamboo/metal studding dowel is then epoxied/glued in place and the hole is plugged with either the same colour timber, or a contrasting piece of timber as a highlight.
3) Like your handle: Shim arrangements are usually glued up and then the whole is shaped as though it is one piece. The finished item then has the contrasting colour/enhancement colour showing as a stripe in the finished handle.

If you don't like the white, you can also cut smaller and then infill with black colour epoxy (like car body filler) to show it off, but hide the white. If you don't like the handle, you may also send it back to me for a full refund (excl postage) or exchange it for something you do like.

If you do think you want to keep the handle, use two part POLYURETHANE ADHESIVE - NOT epoxy. Epoxy does not hold on the HIPS plastics. Glue the shim in place, but ensure that you clamp the handle to prevent any expansion damage to the handle (some glues expand slightly as they cure , such as gorilla glue that is activated by water - if you don't clamp the handle on the sides, the whole thing risks splitting as the glue cures. Clamping helps prevent this).

Scarify the plastic by rubbing the surface very well with 240 grit abrasive. This gives a tooth for the glue to hold on to. Once cured, cut away the excess plastic with a coping saw or a sharp knife and then use a hand rasp to carefully shape the handle to final desired shape. Use grits of abrasive to smooth, finishing with a very fine grit such as 400. Oil with danish oil, giving multiple coats, and de-nibbing before each coat is applied - at least 24 hours between coats, or use a varnish.

I hope this answers your questions, if not - feel free to contact me again with any more. If you feel this is not the handle for you, you can send it back for a refund, or exchange.

If you prefer a different colour shim, I also have yellow, orange or green - all bright colours.

Let me know what you decide! And if you choose to keep that one, I would be very interested to see what you make of it.

I hope this is of help to you,
With regards, Jean