The other day I prepared some wood for lock pick handles. Usually I buy the wood cut as "pen blanks." Pen blanks are small blocks of wood about 3/4" x 3/4" x 6" used for making pens. Of course you could buy a larger piece and cut it smaller, but pen blanks are cheap and convenient.
My only wood working experience was a job I had about 11 years ago sanding and staining Adirondack chairs. Since I don't know much about wood working I just treat the wood like metal and that's been working out ok for me.
I get 2 handles from each pen blank by cutting the wood down the middle with my band saw. After I cut the pen blanks down the middle I cut the sides parallel to each other with a fly cutter on my Sherline mill.
Next I use a slitting saw on the mill and cut the slot for the pick blade. The slitting saw is about the same thickness as the steel I use for the pick blades.
The wood is now ready for me to make into a handle.