Friday, May 15, 2015

Handles with Care

Handle with Care
  Aside from the fact that I was a big fan of the Traveling Wilburys and played many of their songs while in a party band, Handles with Care is a good idea.

  Today's blog is about home made tool handles. 

Wood turning with a Drill Press
   A common way to make a tool handle is by turning on a lathe, if you haven't got a lathe than you can use your drill press as a mini lathe. Things like handles can be even be turned on the drill press using rasps, files or course and saving you from having to buy extra tools.

  I looked around my shop to see how many tools had home made handles.  If you don't have a lathe or a drill press there are still plenty of ways you can  make an appropriate tool handle. 

  Cheap and easy handles. 

  The knives have several wraps of duct tape covered with painter's tape. The duct tape gets sticky over time, the painter's tape doesn't.  The gouge handle is a hunk of broom handle held together with super glue. I bought the little wood carving gouge blade cheap at a wood show a few years ago. I am beginning to believe that buying the blade alone is a good value, the producers don't have to waste time and energy making a nice handle and can focus on the blade alone. (think Hock Blades)

Fancy Handle 

   The is a fancy handle made from deer antler. The blade is from Sweden and made by the 2012 world champion blade smith. You could do eye surgery with that little knife. All I did to make the handle was bore a hole in the core of the antler and glue the blade in. That blade deserved something special.

Shop Knives

  These are two shop knives made from blades 2 of 6 blades I bought 25 years ago. The small handle is riveted in place but the big handle is held onto the blade with epoxy. Rivets are nice, but the epoxies are so good now days, rivets are not necessary. These knives will take a good edge but are mostly used for splitting, scraping and scratching. If there is an nasty job, these knives get it.  

Files and Rasps

  Files usually come without handles. Don't use a file or rasp without a handle, it is a sure way to get a puncture wound. Again cheap and easy handles, no real tools required. The needle files have handles made of plumbers putty, you can see that the one on the left was made in a hurry. The file on the left has a wine bottle cork wrapped in tape as a handle.  I found that he cork needed help to keep it from breaking when used as a handle. On the right it started out a piece of square softwood and was given a rough shape with the sander.  Handles do not need to be high art, they are just a way to make a tool more usable.

Big Handles

  The middle file has a oak handle that I appear to have taken some time over.  It has a bit of shape and is very smooth to the touch. Again it wasn't a lathe project, and was done a few years ago.

  When making wooden handles I have found, especially for files which have a tapered tang it is best to drill out the hole with at least three different bit diameters so that he wood doesn't split nor the file wobble about. 

Turned Handle

  As if to prove that not all my wood working is rough and ready here is a lathe turned handle on a socket chisel. If you have the time and inclination a turned handle that has been sanded to the nth degree while spinning is pretty nice.

  My tools have been marked with three dots since I worked for Ontario Hydro in Dundas Ontario in the late 1970's. So I used a wire to burn three stripes into the handle when I turned it on the lathe.

  **As a side note 
Figure out a way to mark you tools. All the tools that go onto job sites or out of my shop have WAL clearly marked or three dots/slashes. It is nice to go out and help folks/organizations but you want to come home with all your tools.**
cheers Ian W


let your imagination take flight.

No comments:

Post a Comment