LumberJocks

Why Do This?! - The Hand Tool Effect

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Blog entry by Tom posted 07-03-2020 02:27 PM 577 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is perhaps one of the silliest things that I have done recently. I needed a dust brush to keep with my Moravian workbench to sweep away shavings and sawdust. I found one at the home center for only a few bucks. It was obviously cheaply made but at least it was made of wood and had the appearance of natural bristles.

The handle is poorly shaped and finished. It is basically just a flat piece of wood in the shape of a handle with the corners eased a bit. Very little effort was made to finish the surface, it is quite rough. I was surprised how much the feel of the handle bothered me, but I tend to use old, refurbished, wood handled tools where the manufacturer put more effort into the shape and feel of the tool handle. It was rather jarring to use the rough, clunky handle on the dust brush. Also, I noticed the difference compared to an old 50 year dust brush that I keep with my joiners bench, which is one I got from my grandfathers garage many years ago. There was much more attention given to the shape and finish on the handle.

Now for the silliness. With a spare hour one day, I decided to fix up the handle on the dust brush. Using a spoke shave, I rounded off the body of the dust brush to give it a similar look and feel to the old one. I worked along the grain and I worked the end grain as well to reshape it. I really enjoy the spokeshave work.

I think the wood is ash and it worked easily by hand. Next I reshaped the handle, working by eye with the spokeshave and rasps and files. I used the old brush as a model, but I did not try to match it exactly. I just want a comfortable shape for my hand. I worked it from the top and the bottom.

Next was sanding with 120, 220 and 400 grit sandpaper and I finished it with a few quick coats of clear shellac and polished it with steel wool and furniture wax. The handle felt totally transformed in my hand.

Was this a waste of time? Maybe, but not for me. I got to practice shaping wood which is not really my forte. And the brush feels wonderful to use. I can hang it from my workbench with a bit of pride, I suppose. Also, it is good practice if you want to make a saw handle someday.

-- Tom



22 comments so far

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

1015 posts in 459 days


#1 posted 07-03-2020 02:34 PM

I think I have that same home store brush and have always thought its fugly and uncomfortable to use. I never did anything about it because its just a brush so get over it. Now I’m thinking I have a shinto and a spoke shave that haven’t seen action in a while so why not do this.

View sras's profile

sras

5535 posts in 3934 days


#2 posted 07-03-2020 02:36 PM

Definitely NOT a waste of time! You’ll enjoy the esult of your effort every time you use that brush and I suspect it gets used more than any other single tool in your shop…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View htl's profile

htl

5168 posts in 1964 days


#3 posted 07-03-2020 02:37 PM

Now comes the reworking of all wooden things in the shop, but why stop there the house as well. LOL
Having to much time on your hands to improve things could really improve your home life considerable me thinks!? ;-]

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs https://www.lumberjocks.com/htl/blog/130264

View Tom's profile

Tom

135 posts in 697 days


#4 posted 07-03-2020 02:38 PM

Sansoo – I am right there with you. Seemed like an odd thing to do, but it was quite enjoyable. And I feel good about it in the end.

-- Tom

View Tom's profile

Tom

135 posts in 697 days


#5 posted 07-03-2020 02:39 PM

Steve – so true. It does get a lot of use!

-- Tom

View htl's profile

htl

5168 posts in 1964 days


#6 posted 07-03-2020 02:41 PM

I looked back at your other blogs and it’s not your first rodeo when it comes to souping up the shop. LOL

It just hit me that I haven’t had a brush in my small shop for years, ever since I built a wooden cyclone and bought a compressor to use nailers I either suck it up or blow it off.
Is this progress or just plain being to lazy to use a broom.
I do know that I love to clean out the shop with the cyclone, sucking it all in the bucket and out the door once a month need to or not. LOL

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs https://www.lumberjocks.com/htl/blog/130264

View Tom's profile

Tom

135 posts in 697 days


#7 posted 07-03-2020 02:43 PM

I find shop projects to be a nice bit of relaxation and a lot of fun!

-- Tom

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

1015 posts in 459 days


#8 posted 07-03-2020 06:05 PM

No finish on it yet and the handle didn’t come out quite as nice as yours but I don’t have many rasps to work with. Still a heck of a lot better than it was. Thanks for the inspiration to modify the brush. Feels like it belongs at the bench now.

View Tom's profile

Tom

135 posts in 697 days


#9 posted 07-03-2020 06:09 PM

Sansoo – Fabulous!!! It looks great!

-- Tom

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

11800 posts in 3256 days


#10 posted 07-03-2020 06:41 PM

Is this the bench brush of your dreams thread? :-)

Great, now I have to do my Borg brush.

Nice job on improved version Tom.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View SpartyOn's profile

SpartyOn

61 posts in 2952 days


#11 posted 07-03-2020 09:50 PM

Crap, you’ve shamed me into improving my brush as well. Seriously, well done. I like the fact that you can improve your woodworking skills by this type of thing. I tend to leave a lot of my shop projects on the never ending “to do list” but I am inspired by your post.

View Tom's profile

Tom

135 posts in 697 days


#12 posted 07-03-2020 09:53 PM

Sparty – I agree it’s tough to find the time for the “little” shop items. Nice when it happens though! Enjoy.

-- Tom

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1052 posts in 3304 days


#13 posted 07-04-2020 01:54 PM

The brush, broom and dustpan are always missing on the various “essential tool lists”.
Being a bit lazy, I would only have modified the handle.
Nice customization.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Tom's profile

Tom

135 posts in 697 days


#14 posted 07-04-2020 02:29 PM

Thanks Sylvain. Sweeping up is definitely part of the build process! :-)

-- Tom

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16805 posts in 3423 days


#15 posted 07-04-2020 02:39 PM


Is this the bench brush of your dreams thread? :-)
- theoldfart

If this is, I have a couple I could post…

I absolutely love the upgrade you did to that bench brush!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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