Handles for Turning Tools
Decades ago, wood-turning tools came without handles, and turners just made their own.
This makes perfect sense because a handle that fits and feels "just right" gives the turner confidence. And who better to adjust the handle than the person who will be using the tool?
Turning and laying your own cables is a great design exercise, turning to very tight tolerances and drilling wood on the lathe.
For starters, you can buy non-handling tools (still an option) or remove your commercial handles (very easy).
Customize your fit for comfort and performance
Use strong, dry wood
Select straight grit material, especially for the tool end of the shank (use the strongest grit orientation for this critical area).
Many exotic hardwoods, hardwoods, and even local hardwoods that you harvest and dry are good choices. Do not use softwoods such as pine, poplar, walnut, willow, fir, and spruce.
Make sure the wood is dry. If in doubt about the moisture content, allow the rope to stabilize for several days (or longer) after roughing and drilling the initial hole.
I make each handle unique, using different woods and finish colors to immediately identify each tool. I usually start with stocks that measure 1-3 / 4 "to 2" squares.
The length of the blank depends on many factors, including personal preferences and the tool itself. It is always better to make a strap that is too long than too short.
Each woodturning tool shank must have a metal bushing to reinforce the joint between the shank and the shank of the tool, or "dowel".
Hardware stores and salvage stores are good sources of stock for bolts. Copper couplings (used to join copper tubes and pipes) are some of the best. They are available in various diameters, and each can be cut in half to make two bushings.
Choose a diameter that allows plenty of wood between the shank of the tool and the ferrule, usually at least 1/4 ″; when in doubt, choose a larger diameter.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about What Makes the best Woodturning Tool Handles
Source: Ashley Harwood
Make a Crank
1. The first step is to drill a 3/8 ″ diameter. x 3/4 "deep pilot hole for mold spigot. Note: If the spigot is less than 3/8", match pilot hole diameter with spigot.
The end you choose to mount the pick should have a straight grain and be free of knots. Clamp the blank in a vise and use a hand drill.
2. Install a live hub with a taper in the tailstock.
The cone will automatically center the pilot hole when the blank is mounted in the vise. If you do not have a cone-type live center, rotate a tapered piece of wood so that it fits into the pilot hole in the plate and protrudes approximately 1/2 ″ beyond.
When assembling the blank, center the live center point on the protruding edge.
3. Rotate the end of the bolt, or the entire blank, to round it off, using a shaft gouge.
4. Rotate a dowel at the end to match the bolt length and inside diameter; look for a fixed setting. Slightly sink the end of the pick to help start the bolt.
Drive the splint, factory end first, up to the shoulder of the spindle. This guides the rough end of the bolt with the end of the dowel.
Lower this rough edge after reinstalling the hole in the vise. If the edge is too rough, use a milling file, off the lathe.
5. For safety, place a light bulb over the part of the handle that will house the pick. This provides maximum resistance in case of capture or excavation.
6. Rotate the blank to a diameter slightly larger than the final size. Next, use a detail/spindle groove to round off the back end of the handle.
7. Rotate the grip area of the handle as desired. Be sure to test the handgrip that you will use to control the tool.
As the grip area approaches perfect, shape the transition to the bulb to create the ideal feel and balance, but be careful not to make any parts too thin.
8. Finish sanding the shank and screw to 150 grit, with the lathe running. Turn off the lathe and sand with the sand to finish the job.
9. Remove the tool holder to drill the stem hole. For round shank tools, the depth of the hole should be one-quarter to one-third the length of the tool.
For flat shank tools, the hole should accommodate the entire shank, almost to the shoulder of the tool. Mount a Jacobs-type chuck to the head and install a common cone point drill (other types of drill do not accurately fit the pilot hole). Place the pilot hole in the handle against the drill, raise the tailstock and lock it.
Advance the dynamic center to engage the center hole in the residual end of the tool handle. Put on a face shield and set the lathe speed between 400 and 600 rpm.
10. Turn on the vise and verify that the handle works properly. There should be little or no "ghost" at the end of the bolt.
If you see ghosts, stop the lathe and re-center the drill in the pilot hole. When everything is working fine, take two simultaneous actions to drill the hole: hold the rotary handle halfway with one hand while turning the tailstock wheel with the other. Go slow If you feel a lot of resistance, slowly push yourself out of the hole to remove the chips.
11. If the hole is to be larger to accommodate round tines greater than 3/8 ″ in diameter, simply repeat the drilling operation, using the appropriate larger cone point bit.
Drill staggered holes to accommodate tools with flat shanks. Drill the small diameter. pierce the entire length of the rod; Drill the largest hole only as necessary.
12. Finish the back end of the vise handle. Just cut away the debris with a hacksaw then sand it down.
13. Place the tool on the handle. This step is essential. I am a firm believer in using epoxy to anchor the tool, so start by pouring a generous amount into the hole. Place the strap on the spike.
Stop about every quarter of the way to check alignment, pointing the tool and handling it as you would a pistol. Look for misalignment to the left or right and up or down. Tap the tool with the hammer to make corrections.
14. The finish on the handle of my favorite tool comes from heavy use: sweat, dirt, wear, and maybe even a little blood.
A pure oil finish is another option, but any finish that forms a film (including cleaning oil varnishes) will make the handle very smooth.
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