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Thread: How I make tool handles

  1. #1

    How I make tool handles

    There are many ways to skin a cat but here's how I skin mine.

    I found a half log in my pile and bandsawed it into two handle blanks. On top is the drive center I've started using since seeing Alan Lacer at a demo. It's a dead center with 3 notches filed in it. It gives a very secure drive but still gives a little if I do something stupid.

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    First I make things round, decide which end I want the ferrule on and put a tenon on the opposite end to go in my chuck.

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    Next I chuck it up, put my Jacobs chuck in the tailstock and drill the hole for the tool, in this case a P&N detail gouge.

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    Now I use my skew to peel down close to the ID of the ferrule - a 3/4" copper union. I'll then take light scraping cuts to get down to where the ferrule just fits over the end and knock it on the rest of the way with a wooden mallet.

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    Then cut it in half. It's much easier to do it here than off the lathe. Just resist the temptation to turn the lathe on, please.

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    Now the fun part. Turn to whatever shape fits your hand. Sand to 150, burn some lines in, then finish sand. I go to 320 on my handles.

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    Apply the finish of your choice - I've been going with EEE just to make them feel nice. Then part off, sand the base and install your tool.

    Here are some of the tools I've handled.

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    Hope you found that useful

    -Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    Nice job on the handles Joe. Well done. Thanks for the tutorial.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,017
    Nice tutorial, Joe. I made my first handle not too long ago for a Thompson skew, and used about the same method as you. I'll be making more as the need arises. I get a lot of use out of my metal handles from Randy Privett, too. Sometimes I set one of them up with a 3/8" detail gouge on one end and a 1/2" bowl gouge on the other. (Handy if I'm switching back and forth between the two a lot.) Looks dangerous as heck, but in use, it's no worse than any other gouge, IMO. As long as nobody sneaks up behind me.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,807
    Hey Joe, you use your chuck?

    I know this is how you do it, and I'm NOT criticizing, but boy that is a lot of extra work, IMHO.

    I agree that no finish is good, depending on the wood.

    Here is how I do it.....

    Getting a Handle On things

    You are also right about more than one way to skin a cat!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lake City, Florida
    Posts
    498
    Way to go Joe .......... I like making my own handles because I can custom fit to my grip and length. As you can see in below post, I like 'em manly !!

    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ead.php?t=6569

    Got a 5/8" Round Carbide Lathe Chisel in the mail yesterday from Things Western, can't wait to take the grip off and put a real man's handle on it.

    Tony

    Tony, BCE '75

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    Hey Joe, you use your chuck?

    I know this is how you do it, and I'm NOT criticizing, but boy that is a lot of extra work, IMHO.
    You are also right about more than one way to skin a cat!
    See, now I find it -less- work using the chuck. It allows me to face off the other end neatly with a skew. I also like to drill first and use the hole to make sure all of my turning is concentric to it.

    But yeah, to each his own One sure thing with turning, there's no one sure way to do something.

    -Joe

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