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Note to self...no matter how old and rock hard a pine 2 x 4 seems it is NOT good handle material! LOL. Shaped a great fritz handle today out of an old 2 x 4. And by old I mean it was actually cut 2" x 4". Seemed rock hard and came from an old construction demo, I mean you could probably kill a bear with it. I attached it to a shaft, shaped it all to fit nice then leaned my weight on it.... SNAP! Oh well... live and learn.
 

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Where did you have the dowel? If it's not up into to the horizontal part of the handle it will break. Also, you want plain sawn wood whenever possible for handles that way the growth rings run up and down on the ends instead of left and right. Wood tends to be easier to split along the rings. Old hard pine should work I would think though I generally use just hardwoods.
 
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