Woodworking as Therapy #19: Hand tools bulking them up.

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 03-12-2012 12:56 AM 3893 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Hand tools Part 19 of Woodworking as Therapy series Part 20: Relearning Google Sketch Up »

So I’m working a little on getting my chisels to the right size that will keep my hands from cramping. Taking some of the advise my fellow LJs provided I’ve gathered a few things to work with

I went to my neighborhood bike shop and they were kind enough to give me a trashed inner tube. As an aside, I had forgotten how nasty those things smell. Yuk. I also got some athletic tape and some of the under wrap to use with it. I also bought some new plumbing insulation to play with.

You should know that the easiest way to cut the plumbing insulation is with the band saw, it cuts clean and easy. One difference on the insulation that I used and what was left from sun room project is the new stuff has adhesive on the edges to bind it together when it’s wrapped around the pipe.

1/2” insulation is too small for the chisel handles and the 3/4” is too small but closer.

I could not hold the chisel and do the wrapping so I had to wrap the business end in paper towels and painters tape to cushion it for holding it in the bench vise.

The first thing I tried was the insulation with wrapping of athletic tape.

You can see that it does bulk up the handle, but you can see in the picture that it’s still not enough.

My goal is to get the handle up to the point where my fingers are about as far apart as the next picture.

So I’m not quite there. I next tried to add another layer of the pipe insulation.

With a layer of athletic tape, the two layers of insulation was too much.

Next up I took off the second layer of the insulation and wrapped the first layer with a layer of rubber tubing.
As an aside the inside of tubing has a nasty white powder that you really need to clean off of your hands will get dried out from it.

With a layer of athletic tape I’ve gotten pretty close.

A second layer of rubber and tape and I feel pretty comfortable with the grip.

I’m going to play with this a little bit before moving onto my hand saw. Will definitely use the the athletic under wrap on the saw handle to protect the good wood handle.

Slowly but surely I may be able to at least use my chisels comfortably in my everyday woodworking. That’s a comfort all in itself. :-)

Thanks for all the help.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

5 comments so far

View lew's profile


12661 posts in 4084 days

#1 posted 03-12-2012 01:19 AM


I wonder if the stuff they make Memory Foam mattresses out of would be too soft?

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4224 days

#2 posted 03-12-2012 01:50 AM

Hadn’t considered memory foam. Might need to find a source for that to try it out.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3393 days

#3 posted 03-12-2012 11:00 AM

Betsy you can get some memory foam from. Walmart, I don’t know if it will wotk or not. It would be the cheapest to try though.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 3596 days

#4 posted 03-12-2012 01:06 PM

I’ve used pipe wrap. Used for insulating pipe lines. Comes in rolls, black, about one-inch wide and adhesive backed. Also used to combat pipe sweating drips. Found at HD plumbing section; a little pricey but an excellent product.

Have also used kids’ swimming noodles. 4’ pc. at the dollar store. Cuts and carves easily for a whole host of creative applications.


View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4224 days

#5 posted 03-14-2012 12:29 AM

Thanks guys. I really do appreciate all the ideas.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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