I love wooden tool handles. Their only downside is they break and need to be repaired or replaced. If you prefer to repair your tool handles, the inexpensive Clamptite tool is your best friend.
The Clamptite is a bit difficult to explain to people who haven’t used it. Basically, it is a device that can pull a wire tight and then cleverly knot it around an object, such as a tool handle. You can use almost any wire with the Clamptite, including a clothes hanger. Lee Valley sells the Clamptite with .041” stainless wire, which is ideal for handle repair.
Basically, you loop the handle with wire and then use the Clamptite to tension the wire and bend it into a knot that will not let loose. You then snip the excess wire and tuck the ends somewhere. I embed the ends of the loose wire back into the handle. After snipping the wire, I bore a couple holes in the handle with an awl. Then I drive the raw ends of the wire into these holes with a hammer.
Repairing a handle with wire (instead of tape) is far more permanent. In fact, it can be totally permanent if you don’t mind the look of the wire. (Personally, I like the way it looks.)
You can buy the Clamptite alone or get it with a supply of wire (highly recommended) for $42.50. This is a small price to pay when you split the handle of a mortise chisel and want to keep working (instead of spending a day making a new handle).
There are many other clever uses for the Clamptite that involve rubber hoses and electrical wires. But for the woodworker, repairing handles is paramount.
For the user – not the collector – the Clamptite is essential equipment.
— Christopher Schwarz
To read past entries from this guide (and from former years), click here.