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Thread: How to turn a tool handle?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    How to turn a tool handle?

    With my relative success in making the ember rake last week (The rake I made I used 1/2" stock which was too heavy), I thought I might go ahead and make a set of tools for the fireplace (Ember Rake, Poker, Shovel).

    But I don't think I really did it the right way. The end of the handle I really didn't finish off very well.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction to turn a tool handle? Since I'll be turning 3 of them, I thought it might make sense to do it the right way.

    I did prepare 5 blanks today, so hopefully I can get 3 good handles. This time I'll use 3/8" steel and make each tool 30" from base to tip.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Hey Brent!
    1st...your ember rake was great!!
    2nd...Do you routinely make turning tool handles?
    3rd...Do you know...or have you ever owned a turning handle you felt to be superior to whatever it was that you made...and do you have said proof in your hand at this moment??
    Case dismissed!!
    Chances are that it was made from end-grain fiber...good luck making that look pretty A lot of sanding s involved and usually some bad words...coffee ingestion and LOML comments not in favor of or work
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    DSM, IA
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    Here's a good tutorial from Thompson Lathe Tools...

    >>>link<<<
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  4. #4
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    Thanks Jeff!

    That all makes sense but I feel like I'm doing something wrong when I get to the final step of parting end of the handle off of the blank.

    I'd like to get a perfectly smooth rounded end to the tool, but as I start to work it down, it usually breaks off before I finish. Then I have to move to sanding the end of it by hand with sandpaper. Or is that the normal way to do it?

  5. #5
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    Are you using a steady rest to keep it from getting off center?
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
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    I agree with Darren, I think to get a great finish on th end you would find it worth while to make a little steady rest. The other option is to do what I do and hold it towards the unsupported end with one had and sand with the other as the lathe is on, a slow speed.
    "We the People ......"

  7. #7
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    No steady rest. Would that help for something like this?

    Hmm, Might have to review the archives and put something together...

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Jim Bradley just wrote up an article for building one...

    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ht=steady+rest

    Hint: Hit the thrift store and look for some used roller blades for donor wheels.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Harrisburg, NC
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    I haven’t turned a lot of handles but when I did, I drilled and turned the ferrule end first. Then it was held with a cone in the tailstock. When parting off (next to the headstock) you may try using a skew, making V cuts, and then slowly rounding it over. You should get a very smooth finish (quite unlike using a parting tool). Do not part off exactly at the end or you may get a divot in the wood. Bring it down to about 1/8 inch or less and leave a little stub attached to the wood. You can then cut off the stub with a chisel or pocketknife and it takes very little sanding.
    Some people also use an upholstery tack in the end but others think this is cheating.
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Location
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    That makes sense. Guess I've got to get the skew out again and practice with it a bit...

    Thanks!

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