Gilbert Fritz wrote:To make this work economically, I'm going to need to learn to make my own wooden handles. I know that riven wood is stronger than sawn. Does anyone know of a book or website which covers the process of riven tool handle making from log to handle?
Suggest checking out the PBS Woodwright Shop videos. I know he did videos on green wood tool making and spliting stuff there and and shingle making and splitting wood there. Don't remember if there one on handles but I think those other videos will give you most of what you need to learn to control the direction of split etc. Also look for the steam bending video.
As for the rest suggest learning your local garbage truck route schedule. Can you walk those on garbage day ahead of the trucks for exercise and then go back and haul stuff home if you find something interesting? A lady I dated 20 years ago had 4 things she collected on a regular basis. Bicycles, vacuum cleaners, push lawn mowers, and bbq grills. The goal was to find the easy to fix ones to sell or give away and the rest went back in the trash. Vacuum cleaners more than half of them were simply plugged. She said it was usually a hose plugged with dried cat feces wedged in it. Quick fix and then resell. Gather some common parts from the ones that didn't fix easily(like new vacuum bags) and trash the rest for a second time. Bikes she gave away to neighborhood kids but she got probably 25 easily fixed bikes a year in her area. BBQ grills was often simply missing knobs or bad igniters. There again easily fixed. Also she found many of these that were good but someone had simply trashed because they got a new one. Push lawn mowers a bit of fresh gas with sea foam added and a new spark plug got a fair number of these running. Replacing pull ropes and broken wheels saved a few more. Rest simply went back in the trash. The goal was always to find the ones that could be fixed most easily. She found lots of other interesting things too. Furniture etc. Heck I am still wearing a coat she found then. The first step was simply taking a walk for exercise down the right alleys on the right days.