At the Lathe: Turn a Custom Tool Handle

An elegant grip that perfectly fits your hand can enhance your tool-using experience.
By Judy Ditmer
Pages: 19-22

From the August 2006 issue #156
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There are at least two reasons you may want or need to make a new handle for one of your turning tools. Sometimes unhandled tools are available at a lower cost than handled, so you might choose to make your own. More often, the handle that comes on the tool is just not right for your hand; it may be too large or small in diameter, too short, too long, etc. And occasionally a handle wears out before the tool, particularly if you’ve used it as a hammer one too many times (or so I am told).

Pictured are a number of my own tools that are positively crying out for new handles. Some handles are too big; some are the wrong shape for my hand. Many have been inelegantly modifi ed (i.e., chopped off), but somehow never replaced. Most of these tools will benefit from new, custom-made handles. The large bowl gouge is an example of a shopmade handle that suits the tool much better than the one it came with.

Custom-made tool handles will enhance your turning enjoyment, and quite possibly your accuracy as well. A tool that fits your hand is not only more pleasant to use, but also less fatiguing.

From the August 2006 issue #156
Buy this issue now