Thompson Lathe Tool Handles

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Review by Big_Bob posted 11-18-2010 06:48 PM 9164 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Thompson Lathe Tool Handles Thompson Lathe Tool Handles Thompson Lathe Tool Handles Click the pictures to enlarge them

I was looking for two new lathe tool handles when I stumbled across the Thompson website. I was intrigued by the idea that the handles were square and not round. They are not truly square because the edges are rounded over, but they are not the traditional round shape. The idea being the turner’s right hand can feel the shape of the tool and know where the flute of the tool is facing. If for example the flat part is facing up then the flute is up if the edge is up then the flute is facing a 45 degree angle. This helps with hand-eye coordination especially when the tip of the tool is out of the turners view.

The more I looked at the website the more I talked myself into buying them. When I got them, I was surprised that they were all aluminum then I went back and read the website and sure enough the web site said they were all aluminum. The handles come partially filled with steel shot and I filled one of them completely with lead shot.

I never thought I would like a handle that was not wood or covered with rubber but I learned that I like aluminum. The mass of the tool makes them a pleasure to use and the square handles are all I thought they would be. Also, they will not roll off my workbench. These handles were a good investment and I will probably buy handles from them in the future.

Their website is:

I have no affiliations with the Thomson tool people I just like their tool handles.

-- Bob Clark, Tool Collector and Sawdust Maker

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173 posts in 4554 days

6 comments so far

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4041 days

#1 posted 11-18-2010 07:23 PM

Thanks for the review Bob. I saw these just a few days ago in one of my recent winter tool catalogs and was curious about them. I may have to pick these up in the future. How long are they?

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4115 days

#2 posted 11-18-2010 07:46 PM

Great review….I too favor a heavier handle….gives you alot more stability and is much safer as the handle will not split as easy as the cheap wood ones…I have had one blow and luckliy for me the tool hit he guard on my lathe (gotta love the Powermatic lathes). I also like the ability to add more shot to make them heavier or lighter for balance….I too will look into these…I have been making my own with steel pipe imbedded in wood handles – but it is alot of work and time consuming.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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173 posts in 4554 days

#3 posted 11-18-2010 09:11 PM

They come in 12, 16, and 20 inch sizes. I got the 20 inch.

-- Bob Clark, Tool Collector and Sawdust Maker

View StumpyNubs's profile


7827 posts in 3646 days

#4 posted 11-19-2010 01:10 AM

I dunno, I just feel dirty buying handles for lathe tools when i could turn my own on the lathe. Seems wrong… But that’s just me, I know others feel differently.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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173 posts in 4554 days

#5 posted 11-19-2010 07:25 PM

For spindle turning you could be right. I have found that with a large bowl gouge working with on a large out-of-round bowl blank the greater the mass of the handle the less the turner gets beat-up turning. Remember the rule in Physics, Force = Mass x Acceleration. The greater the mass of the tool the less the acceleration on the turner.

-- Bob Clark, Tool Collector and Sawdust Maker

View Gerry1942's profile


25 posts in 1675 days

#6 posted 02-24-2016 03:29 AM

I have a lot of lathe tools including a Thompson 1/2 inch bowl gouge I bought about 5 months ago. While my Easy Wood Finisher is still my favorite , my Thompson is a very close second. It is a a beautiful work of art itself
as well as highly functional gouge. It holds an edge better than my other 3 Bowl gouges. The handles contain a fine shot and can be balanced to suit the user.. The price is competitive with other similar two part tools. It comes with your name laser cut in the handle at no extra charge.

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