Finding Center Woodturning Blog

Finding Center Woodturning Blog

Shopmade Handles Make a Matched Set

comments (5) January 24th, 2014 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
thumbs up 27 users recommend

Learn how one woodworker crafted a matching set of beautiful curly maple chisel handles. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Learn how one woodworker crafted a matching set of beautiful curly maple chisel handles.

Photo: Ed Pirnik

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Fine Woodworking associate art director John Tetreault has assembled quite a set of vintage and modern chisels over the years, but something about having a mismatched set with various handle styles always bugged him. With that in mind, Tetreault decided to craft a set of matching handles with plenty of flair.


Crafted from curly maple found in his firewood pile, these handles are topped off with traditional leather washers up top. As this audio slideshow demonstrates, they're not all that difficult to make, and the finished product-a set of almost matching chisels built from beautiful hardwood and leather-is certainly worth the effort.


posted in: blogs, leather, chisel handle, tool handle, firewood

Comments (5)

scx297 scx297 writes: I successfully made a couple of these. I was also worried about the tenon fitting properly into the socket. I was wondering how I would make them so the handle would not slip off. I asked a seasoned woodworking teacher and he told me that I had to heat the tenon before the assembly. Once the wood cools down, it expands and stays stuck forever. I use a propane torch to heat the tenon but I suppose a could have use a heat gun or a hair dryer.
Posted: 9:20 am on January 26th

jtetreault jtetreault writes: Blackhorse,
Getting the socket just right is the most challenging part. A good trick I came up with is to press a piece of clay or plumbers putty into the socket. Slightly twist it as it's removed. Then you have an exact model to take measurements from with your calipers.

I'll take a few photos and post a separate blog on Monday. Hope that helps.
Posted: 10:20 am on January 25th

jtetreault jtetreault writes: Mnwoodworker,
I agree, custom handles can be much more comfortable. I just wiped on a few coats of poly and a final coat of beeswax for the finish.

Posted: 10:14 am on January 25th

blackhorse blackhorse writes: Good, brief video. I wish fitting the taper to the socket had been covered. To me, it's the most challenging part.
Posted: 9:44 am on January 25th

mnwoodworker mnwoodworker writes: Beside being able to get everything matching (which is very important for an OCD person like me) this is great for the comfort level of your tools. I made all my chisel handles as well as new knobs and tots for my planes. Dont be afraid to alter sizes and not just duplicate, I made mine out of scraps I had laying around to experiment, after a little time using the tool you will quickly see if and changes need to be made, once you get them how you like its time to break out the nice wood. I use BLO as a finish for mine as it is easy to rejuvenate when needed, what did John use?
Posted: 9:38 am on January 25th

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