File Handle

Some of the water oak I brought back earlier has started to crack and split.  Sadly, that means I won’t be able to use it as material for making bowls.  Well, I could fill the cracks but it isn’t worth the trouble.  Still, it doesn’t have to goto the wood pile yet.  It can be used to make tool handles.  Metal files and rasps are usually sold without handles.  Of course they sell handles but where is the fun in buying one.  If you have the tools, it is cheaper to make handles.  You can also shape the handle to fit your hand.

Here’s a piece of the water oak the handle will come out of along with the 17″ long file that the handle will go on.

After splitting and some bandsawing, I’m left with a block for the handle.

Before I can start turning the handle, I need a ferrule.  A ferrule is a metal ring that goes on the front of the handle to keep it from splitting when the handle is driven onto the file tang.   I used a bit of 3/4″ Copper pipe I have around.  Couplings from the hardware store also work well for this purpose.

Now the block is mounted in the lathe and can be roughed out into a round shape.

Once the block has been turned into a cylinder a hole needs to be drilled into one end for the file tang to be inserted into.  From what I’ve read online, take a measurement about halfway up the widest side of the tang to use for the hole size.  The caliper shows a little larger than 3/8″.

I could use the drill press or lathe to make the hole.  I chose to lathe.  To hold the piece, I swapped the chuck back on the head stock and put my Jacobs chuck in the tail stock.  Drilling in this fashion is a little odd the first time you see it because the drill bit doesn’t turn, the piece does.

With the hole drilled, I swap back over to the centers.  The only critical size is the area where the ferrule goes.  The diameter needs to be turned down to about the size of the inside of the ferrule.  You must also have enough depth to put the ferrule on and not have it stick out.  The outside calipers are a convenient way to monitor the diameter.

Now you finally get to make the handle.  Do whatever you want here.  If you’ve got big hands, make a big handle.  Want a place to rest your thumb?  Make one.  Since you’re making it, you aren’t stuck with a preset shape.  Here’s my handle shape roughed out.

Here’s the handle after it has been cleaned up and sanded some.  As you can see, there are cracks in the handle but it doesn’t matter.  I added some rings onto the handle for no real purpose.

I went with the easy way of putting the ferrule on my handle.  Sure, you can tap it on with a hammer as well.

Installing the handle onto the file is easy.  Simply put the handle onto the tang of the file and drive it home with a hammer.  Don’t pound it like crazy but make sure it won’t be coming off soon.

After a little bit more sanding I applied some boiled linseed oil as a finish.  Boiled linseed oil is a great handle finish.  It protects the wood, is easy to apply, and more can be added later if you scratch the surface.    Plus it looks pretty good.

Now I just need about 20 more of these…..

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