Help me with making tool handles...

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Forum topic by RobH posted 01-21-2008 01:49 AM 6254 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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465 posts in 4314 days

01-21-2008 01:49 AM

Hey all,

I need to make some handle for some old tools that were once my grand-father-in-law’s. Many of the tools are missing handles, some of them simply need to have a little better handle. I know how to turn the handle, it is getting the tool to stay in the handle that I am having a problem with.

Please help if you can.

Thanks in advance,
Rob Hix

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

17 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4253 days

#1 posted 01-21-2008 02:03 AM

That would depend on what kind of tool you wanted to put them on?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4314 days

#2 posted 01-21-2008 02:49 AM

Ok, I will clear it up a little bit. The main thing I have is old files. I also have a few chisels that I would like to re-handle, and I have a few turning tools that need re-handling.

Is this any better? How to is nice, but if you have online or book references, I will take those also.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA



53 posts in 4063 days

#3 posted 01-21-2008 06:27 AM

Hi Rob, why bother to make the wooden handles when you can buy them on-line, type in wood handles for files in your browser, They are real inexpensive.Good luck on the other handles…...MIKE

-- never enough time in a day so use it well

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4253 days

#4 posted 01-21-2008 06:32 AM

Usually when I make handles I wrap the end, where I will insert the file, with wire to keep it from splitting.
Then I drill the hole and beat the file into it. I will wrap about 1” of wire

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4564 days

#5 posted 01-21-2008 07:08 AM

I made some handles for my lathe chisels, and also my carving chisels.

I use copper or brass pipe for the ferrules, to help them stay on better I use epoxy.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 4070 days

#6 posted 01-21-2008 03:08 PM

I just beat on them until the handle sticks…course, I ain’t using my own personal heirloom tools to do that with now either.


-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 4050 days

#7 posted 01-21-2008 04:12 PM

Hi Rob,
I use high strength epoxy to keep my handles on the tools I make or refurbish and have had no problem with that method.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View FrankA's profile


139 posts in 4044 days

#8 posted 01-21-2008 08:58 PM

I really enjoy re-handling my old tools, even something as simple as an cheap old screwdriver
can be re-handled into an impressive item. I use a nice hardwood and use copper pipe for the ferrules.

I think they turn out much nicer than any store bought handles

-- Frank Auge---Nichols NY----"My opinion is neither copyrighted nor trademarked, but it is price competitive."

View Tony's profile


987 posts in 4295 days

#9 posted 01-21-2008 09:08 PM

Your right, make your own handles, then they are unique to you and your craft.

I just step drill out the hole for the tang of the tool as close as possible, fill with epoxy and use a copper or brass ferule to help stop the wood from splitting around the hole where the tool meets the handle.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4392 days

#10 posted 01-22-2008 01:08 AM

Hi Rob:

I like to use well dried hickory twigs and branches with the bark still on for my tool handles.
For file and rasps, I whittle the lead end and wrap with a band of wire or copper.
I drill a lead hole, then gently tap in the tang of the file.
I finish the handles with hand-rubbed tung oil.

I try to choose pieces of twigs that are ergonomic and fit my hands well.

For socket chisels, I whittle a taper then tap in the handle with a twig mallet.

-- 温故知新

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 4160 days

#11 posted 01-22-2008 07:34 PM

I use epoxy.

-- Sam

View mski's profile


439 posts in 4245 days

#12 posted 01-25-2008 06:17 PM

Here’s a LJ project that might help.


View pyrogeography's profile


1 post in 2029 days

#13 posted 07-27-2013 10:55 PM

old yard sale baseball bats are great for handlemaking. i use ash ones for hammer, hatchet, and garden fork handles. you can use a sharp hatchet to whittle them to a rough size, and then finish up with a block plane, rasp, or drawknife. for ferrule on file or chisel handles, i use short lengths of conduit or copper pipe.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2303 days

#14 posted 07-27-2013 11:25 PM

If you’re talking about things like tanged chisels, then here is a good tutorial by James Thompson. He’s an Old-Tool guy and a machinist to boot:

If you mean socket style chisels then here is another tutorial by the same guy:

If you’re talking about drawknife handles or any other odd-shaped piece of metal you want to wrap some wood around, this blog series is a good start:

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 3263 days

#15 posted 07-27-2013 11:44 PM

Ok, this thread is only 6 1/4 years old. I guess old threads never fade away or die …

Here is the best description I have seen for socket chisels from Derek Cohen’s website:

Handle making starts about 1/2 way down. My first attempt at making a handle resulted in a 100% perfect fit. I only wish the rest of the handle was as perfect.


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