Turning Archive 2006

Made a tool handle last night. (borders on long)

Joe in a Cleveland suburb

I don't wonder over here often as I never (very rarely) use my little Jet lathe. But last night I needed to make a little tool handle so I gave it a shot - I've used my lathe maybe 3 or 4 times in the last couple years. So, I am a lathe noob basically.

Here's the scenario - I needed to make a chisel for cleaning out sockets of hand-cut dovetails. So I went to Home Depot and bought a cheapo Buck Brothers chisel. Ground the chisel into the shape of a DT and cut the plastic handle off then measured the shaft thingy. I measured it to be 5/16" using my trusty Handy Man of America screw measuring device (some freebies are worth the price I guess - still won't join though!). I then drilled (using a drill press) a 5/16" hole into the center of a piece of scrap 1" square Walnut. I screwed a 5/16" lag bolt (with its head cut off) into the hole and mounted that to the drill chuck thingy on my lathe. I didn't really need to "screw" the lag bolt in since it was the same size as the hole.

Turned the little handle and all came out fine. I thing tried to mount the new handle onto the chisel and my pretty walnut handle split. I didn't really have to pound it all that hard. I expected some resistance. In fact, I drilled a test hole into some scrap poplar and the chisel shaft fit in the hole. It was a tight fit but not that tight.

Should I have heated the chisels shaft up or something? Does that somehow help? What's the trick?

Btw, I know walnut may not be the best wood for a chisel handle but this will be used for paring not chopping. Maybe I should use a piece of Cherry or Ash?


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