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Turning tool handles

Discussion in 'The Class Room' started by woodtickgreg, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. woodtickgreg

    woodtickgreg scroll, flat, spin Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator Founding Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    This is not the most complete detailed how to as far as tutorials go, but it will give some basic information on how to make your own tool handles. This is how I like to make mine, There really is no right or wrong way to make them and everyone has their own way of doing it. These are some older pics but the info is still good, imo.

    So the first thing you need to make a handle is some hard wood. Just about anything will do, maple, ash, walnut, cherry, osage, hickory, well you get the idea.
    lathe-chisels-020.jpg

    I chose to use walnut because I had a large piece that I was going to use for a bowl but it checked pretty good when it dried because I forgot to seal it, oops. But I got quite a few tool handles out of it. I just marked the checks with a sharpie and cut around them. A band saw was the tool of choice for this. lathe-chisels-022.jpg

    Next thing is to turn your handle, I mounted it in a chuck on one end and used a live center on the other. The reason for this is so I could move the tail stock and live center out of the way to work on the ferrule end and then slide the tail stock back in place to perform other operations and still be centered and stable.
    I turned this entire tool with one chisel, a curved square carbide chisel. When the work is done I will just part it off at the chuck end. But before I do that I will start the hole for the chisel to keep it straight and centered, then I will finish it by hand.
    lathe-chisels-027.jpg

    For the ferrule I just use a piece of copper pipe, in this case for a 1/2" chisel I used 1" pipe. I cut it with a Pipe or tubing cutter to not distort it. It cuts quick and very clean. Then I file the burr off the inside and sand it down a little to give it tooth for the epoxy to stick too. Measure the id, about an 1 1/8" lathe-chisels-025.jpg

    I then turn a tenon on the handle to a little over the measured diameter of the pipe copper ferrule. I can then sand down to a snug slip fit. This is where being able to move the center out of the way and test the fit comes in handy.
    lathe-chisels-026.jpg

    Here's the ferrule epoxied on. And you can see the center is back in place, this way I can sand the ferrule and the whole tool in preparation for applying the finish. I fit the tenon to the ferrule, not the ferrule to the tenon. It is easier to cut wood than metal. The excess tenon will be trimmed on the lathe up to the ferrule. This will be a very strong ferrule and handle. lathe-chisels-028.jpg

    So here we are all sanded up and the finish applied, I just used a wipe on polly and coated the copper ferrule as well so it does not oxidize. The only thing left to do at this point is dull the finish with some 0000 steel wool, trim the tenon back, and start the whole for the tool tang. lathe-chisels-029.jpg

    Voila! A quality turned tool handle with materials sourced on the cheap. This is one of my earlier tools when I first started making them. This one happens to be a stainless steel full size round cutter, this one is mine!
    lathe-chisels-030.jpg

    Here you can see the tenon trimmed up and how the tool fits. I use a razor blade to smear the epoxy squeeze out over the end of the wood to seal it. lathe-chisels-032.jpg So I hope this will give some insight on how to make your own handles, especially using copper pipe for the ferrules as you can usually find it or buy a short piece that you can make a bunch of ferrules out of cheaper than buying brass ferrules and they are just as strong. Everyone has their favorite shape or style of handle that they prefer, this is the shape I like as I like my handles long and I like to grip them in different areas. I also like them long for balance, leverage, and I like them fat around the tool tang for strength and to help cancel vibration. This tutorial is probably not all inclusive but it should give enough of the basics for anyone to have some fun making their own handles and saving some money doing it.
    Greg
     
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  2. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Member Full Member

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    Nice job! Nice handle! I think that the most critical part of making a handle, is boring/cutting the hole for the tool shank. I like to start with a square blank, find the center, and drill the hole first. This way, the live center cone will center the blank even if the mark or drill drifted off a bit. I've never made a handle for a square-shank tool.
     
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  3. woodtickgreg

    woodtickgreg scroll, flat, spin Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator Founding Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Mike, the shank of my tools are turned round so all you need to do is drill a round hole and epoxy it in. Only the body of the tool is square.:cool: But the advise about drilling the hole and then using the center is good advise.
     
  4. ripjack13

    ripjack13 ɹǝʇɹɐqpooʍ Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator Full Member

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    Nice write up Greg! Thank you for this.....
     
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  5. ripjack13

    ripjack13 ɹǝʇɹɐqpooʍ Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator Full Member

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    Obvious bump for easy finding....
     
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  6. Tony

    Tony Hardwood Enthusiast Staff Member Global Moderator Full Member

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    Never saw this before, good stuff my brother!
     
  7. B Rogers

    B Rogers Member Full Member

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    What's the best way to bore the hole for mounting? I always struggle with wobble when chucking up a spindle that's very long at all. Drill press maybe?
     
  8. Barb

    Barb Member Full Member

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    :nodice::popcorn:
     
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  9. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    whathesaid That's exactly how I turned mine. Simple, easy, no wobble. Used a pilot point drill bit in my tailstock chuck to drill my hole, they track a little truer. Pull the chuck, replace with live center, and turn; there's really no way to find wobble in it.
     
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  10. Barb

    Barb Member Full Member

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    I love how you follow up your explanations with a link so there's no question about what you mean. Thanks :)
     
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