Turned Tool Handles


Custom-fit your tools to your hand.
By Kevin Drake
Pages: 40-43

From the February 2010 issue #181
Buy this issue now

One of the best uses for a lathe is making tool handles. Most production tool handles leave something to be desired. The good news is that the handle is the part of tool that is the easiest to modify.

Fine gloves are sold in sizes such as 6, 7, 8 and 9. Work gloves are generally sold in dumbed-down categories such as small, medium and large. But when it comes to tool handles, one size is expected to fit all. Having custom tool handles is like having made-to-fit gloves. They feel like part of your body.

Look around your shop for a tool handle that feels good to you and compare that to the rest. My guess is that the one that feels the best will be the one you reach for most often. Plastic handles are molded around the tang and very rarely loosen or come off, but I get rid of them as quickly as I can and make handles that fit my hands. Plus, I much prefer the feel of wood compared to plastic.

The lathe is best suited for making round and oval handles, or a combination of both. I, for example, prefer a turning-tool handle that is round with an oval section near the blade. The oval part allows me to use one hand or the other to torque the tool when I need to without over-gripping it to the point where I lose the tactile feedback that is so essential to successful turning.


From the February 2010 issue #181
Buy this issue now