I was feeling a little low, problems with my garage/shop permit and problems with my health and switching of insurance agencies ….turns out that they lost me or deleted me from the system and now I have no health insurance!
So, thought I would share some thoughts that I shared with the facebook group …basically my way of dealing with stress and problems of this world. Sometimes you just can’t beat it and if you can stick a piece of steel into a turning piece of wood……for a short time your problems go away!
Sharing Some Woodturning Pictures
Thought I share some pics.
This is what I do when I want to turn, but just don’t have it in me to set up a bowl blank or some other more complicated woodturning project.
I turn tool handle blanks!
I know, that probably sounds dumb, but its really easy to do, I’m turning something so I’m feeling a little usefull and I’m making shavings 🙂 I love making new woodturning tools so I’m always in need of some woodturning tool handles.
From Branches to Tool Handles
The trick is to cut up some fairly straight branches that are at least 24″ long and anywhere from 3 to 5″ wide. I try to use hardwood, but I use anything I can get my hands on. So at this point I have about 25 branches cut to around 24″ and I keep them outside. I probably should paint the ends but most of it is ash and oak which have been dead for a couple of years.
I don’t know how many of you mow your own lawn, and those that do how many of you look at it as a pain in the ass or think of it as a time to empty your brain ….and just cut grass. That’s how it is for me to turn some handle blanks….. I suppose I could apply the some train of thought to bowl blanks, but handles are a lot easier.
Making Tool Handles for Woodturning Tools
I like making tools so the handles always get used. I give some away and I’m planning on selling some of them, carbide tools and HSS parting tools and scrapers for now. I hope 2018 to be the year that I set up a website and can sell a few tools per month, helping me, helping my fellow turners!
Clear My Head By Turning Tool Handles
But, to place a branch on the lathe and start turning is the fastest way for me to empty my brain, or just feel like I accomplished something for the day……it has all kinds of theraputic purposes! Its a lot healthier than taking some type of sedative or other mind altering drug, better than pounding down a bunch of beers. Sometimes I’ll go out to the shop when I can barely walk, I throw one of those limbs between centers, scrape off the bark, get down to the wood and see what God has designed for me today. No limb or branch has ever been the same and the beauty of wood is something that never, never ceases to impress me.
Turning a New Oak
Woodturning Tool Handle
Was feeling a little low today so I threw an oak limb on the lathe, between centers and created kind of a funky shape only because the bark went deep into the wood, doesn’t matter I might make 2 handles out of it, or one long one with a unique shape 🙂 I also practiced my skew skills a little, using both the flat skew and the oval skew…. didn’t do too bad, but I need some practice, I need to sharpen the skews….probably would have done a better job, but I didn’t feel like setting up the shapening jig.
If you’ve read this far….good on you! For the new people, I really don’t like showing too many pictures because a tree fell on my roof, been waiting for the insurance and county so I can get things started. I’m trying to put a 12/12 pitch on this thing ….back in the day I could do it by myself. Gonna be tough now. Plus just talked to the county and they changed their building code standards and this whole thing has become a bigger pain in the ass. I live in the most expensive county in Illinois, they have taken me to court a couple of times but the problems have always been their fault, now I have to redraw plans!
This is why there is boxes, wood, shavings and debris all over the place. I don’t have a roof over my head, just a bunch of tarps.
Sorry, I don’t mean to bring you guys down. We all have our problems, life sucks and if you don’t think that you haven’t l;ived long enough. Its how you deal with the sucky part that matters.
Check out the hunk of oak, that will be a beautiful handle some day.
Here’s a couple of pics to look at. Will try to post a video also
Ok, unless you are brand spanking new there’s no trick to this process of making woodturning tool handles.
Basically you grab a 3×3 square blank of your favorite wood and turn it into the lenght and shape you need for your desired tool.
Grab a straight piece of a tree limb or tree trunk, find the centers and turn it between centers. Use your turning roughing gouge to get the branch cylindrical and then put a shape for the tool you need. Then finish with oil or something like OB shine juice.
DIY Wood Handles For
Turning Tools Video
You can watch a video I put together called “How to Make Wood Handles for Wood Lathe Tools”, it involves taking a small dead tree trunk and turning it into a cylindrical blank to be used for a wood lathe tool handle, club, mallet or whatever you might desire!
Where I live I have 2 lots on a river. Not very big lots but we left a lot of it naturalized so, after about 25 years, we had a lot of young trees of every sort. There were lots of Ash and Beech trees, a few oaks and some hickory, lots of young mulberry and catalpa and also some sumac, there are even som walnut and black locust. I found a bunch of wild cherry trees and a good 5 or 10 I couldn’t identify. Oh, I forgot …a couple of willow trees, maple, popular and cottonwood. Did you ever see cottonwood or popular seeds flying in the summer. Some call it a nuisance, to me, its a reminder of summer and all my memories of my childhood fishing on the river with the cottonwood seeds floating through the air like snow and sticking to my fishing line as I reeled in my pole.
Our Own Forest For Making Your
Own Woodturning Tool Handles
My wife and I are not like most people. We don’t clear cut everything so we could have a nice green lawn. Drives our kids crazy! We do have some areas that are mowed and you could say they are grass but in reality it is just green weeds….. looks pretty good when cut 🙂
As a result of our yard planning we have a whole bunch of trees. They create a haven for wildlife of every sort. We even had a mama deer give birth in a small section we called the forest. The mom came out and then following her was this little small dog sized deer that was all wet and wobbling, it was awesome to see. We didn’t know it but she had another one that was left in the forest, somewhat hidden in some brush but apparently not strong enough to move. Four or Five hours latter it was up and moving and mama was right there.
Save A Tree and Rescue Some Animals ….
Your DIY Handles Can Remind You of That
If I tried to remember how many animals we rescued over the last 30 years or so I know I would leave some out. Birds of every sort, squirrels, raccoon families….at least 3 litters of little raccons. Just saved a possum I caught in the chicken house!
Trees are wonderful creations of God. They give shelter to wildlife. Provide material to build homes and shelter. I marvel at their beauty and massivness. We have one oak tree that is close to 6′ in diameter at it’s base. You know that had to start growing at the time of the revolutionary war or even before then.
I’m not a tree hugger but I do appreciate them. That’s why I’m sad to see so many killed by foreign beetles and fungus, moths and who knows what else. Trees that are like statues and guardians from the time of my youth are now taken down by foreign invaders. Or maybe someone from the city comes in and thinks the leaves are a nuisance….. sic!
Three Oak Trees Down, Lots of Bowls, Cups and Handles to be turned! or Should I Just Give In And Cut Some Firewood?
I have 3 oak trees down right now. I really wanted to be able to get a portable bandsaw to make lumber out of them. They’ve been laying around for a while and except for a few pieces I’m afraid they will become fire wood.
Sorry for the rabbit hole! But I realize not too many are Blessed like we are to live in an arboretum or nature center. If I want to turn a bowl, I look for a decent dead branch, cut it and go to work.
I said all this to say, I have a lot of dead trees now. If you catch some of the smaller ones within a year after they die and they are 4 to 6 inches in diameter you can use them to turn some very nice wood handles for your tools. You can use the bigger ones for lamps or candle stick holders and I’m sure you could think of other projects.
Dead Trees Make Nice Turning Tool Handles
and Come with Worm Holes,
Coloring From Fungus Growth Called Spalting
The longer it is dead, the more worm holes and spalting you get. But the Ash, Oak, Hickory and Beech trees are particulary suited well for making handles for your custom made woodturnig tools, or should I saw… homemade woodturning tools and others would call DIY woodturning tools.
My harbor freight lathe has several steel bar levers used to tighen down the center stock or the tool rest. I’m making a few small handles that I’ll slip over the round metal lever to give me a little more leverage, I’m just using a hunk of conduit now and it keeps falling off 🙂
With the bigger branches I can make some small baseball bats that my grandsons can use to whack balls around and my son’s can use a self defense weapons…. in fact I might keep one stashed by the front door! Crazy times we live in, at one time I was the strongest in the room…. now I’m old and sick…easy prey so you need to do whatever you need to do to protect your family…. or at least die trying.
Ash Trees the Choice of Bat Makers
As Well As Tool Handles
Did you know Ash was the wood of choice for making baseball bats? Did you know almost all the Ash forests are gone from the emarld ash borer beetle? That’s what killed all my ash trees, you can see the trails under the bark. Seems as though they can kill a tree in a matter of weeks …really sad. My little forest is so bare now.
But, we as woodturners can use this distressed wood to make some awesome projects. Bowls, spindles, candle stick holders, walking sticks and anything that requires a handle.
Most of the dead ash trees that I use have been dead for a long time, at least 3 years and in this time the 4″ and below are pretty dry. However, the first 1/2″ to 1″ of the branch or log is usually very soft. But you can clean it up until you get down to hard wood. The grain is tight and really is beautiful. Often times you’ll find worm holes, or beetle holes throughout. The wood sometimes will be spalted. Usually Ash is a very light colored, with an oak type grain but with spalting fungus makes its way into the wood and will add color in the form of different shades and often lines of color.
If you have a bigger piece, that is 6″ in diamter and up you can run a 24″ section through your bandsaw and make 3 x 3 square blanks that you can turn whenever you get a free moment or the need arises. I haven’t had to do this yet because I have so many smaller diameter trees that are dead.
So what am I turning these custom wood handles for?
I have a 3/8 Sorby Spindle Gouge I purchased with just the blade and tang, no handle. Right now I just have it stuck into a piece of wood 🙂 because I needed to use it right away. I need to make a permanent handle and epoxy the tang into the handle with a brass furle at the end. I’ve been using copper for the furl but I think I’m going to purchase a brass tube from onlinemetals.com and use the brass for a furl making myself look like the big guys!
I really haven’t used the spindle gouge much…. Need to spend some time learning how to use it. The Sorby spindle gouge cuts very nice but my technique is a big off 🙂 The one I got was not very sharp out of the box, kind of surprised at that. But, that’s not a deal killer since I have the Oneway Wolverine Grinding System, makes quick work of dull woodturning gouges and chisels.
Wood Handles For Woodturning Disk Sander
I have a little 2″ disk sander I want to set up. I think I watched a Cap’n Eddie Video or two about how to make one of these sanding tools. Basically you turn a handle, drill a 3/8″ hole in the end of the handle, drill a 3/8″ hole at a 45 degree angle and my modificaition is to drill another 3/8 inch hole 90 degrees to the wood handle. Once again, I have a makeshift handle that I turned quickly and looks like a malformed sex toy, I drilled the holes as per above and it works great…… just that the 2″ sanding pad keeps falling out. It only costs about 10 bucks and comes with an assortment of pads, if you think you like it, then get about 100 additional sanding pads from 80 grit to 3000 grit. My problem with this little gadget is that the foam keeps coming apart. I had to use some CA glue to glue the “hook” pad back on. It would be easy enough to repair with some more dense foam if you really liked the setup. In fact that is what I’m going to do.
Turning Handles for
Pro Version of The Disk Sander
Now the 2″ sanding pad uses velcro to attache the sandpaper and foam pad and is attached to a mandrel with a 1/4″ metal/steel shaft. To make a “Pro” version of this hand sander, you drill a 3/8″ hole in the wood handle because you want to push in a 3/8″ round disk magnet ********** to the end of the hold (glue it in) and then glue in a 3/8″ brass tube down to the magnet. Use CA glue.
When you push the steel shaft of the sanding pad into the brass shaft it will bottom out on the magnet and stick to its location by the 3/8″ disk magnet that you first glued in.
This thing works like a charm. You don’t have to have the sanding pad on a drill, the rotation of the object being sanded causes the sanding pad to rotate on its own and thus “sand” the project. I find this tool comes in handy with bowls and especially cups or hollow forms that need some sanding inside. Does an awesome job sanding the interior of bowls, cups and vases.
Dedicated 2″ Sanding Disk Station
The only thing I need to do is buy about 4 or 5 of these 2″ sanding pads****** and an additional supply of 2″ round sanding disks*****. The constant tearing off of the sanding paper from the foam tends to destroy the velcro on the foam pad. So I saw one guy create a station that holds as many disks as he needs and now has dedicated 2″ sanding pads starting with 80 grit up to 1000 grit, think he had about 5 of them in a a hunk of wood by his lathe. Just drill a 1/4″ hole in your favorite wood and stick the mandrel of the sanding disk in the hole …..set it on a shelf or hang on the wall next to your lathe. If you try these things you’ll fall in love with them
Wood Handles for My Custom
Made Woodturning Tools
I have some home made woodturning tools and plan to make many more ….or at least experiment with more of them. I was watching Reed Gray, the robohippy on youtube and that guy has a tool for every corner or should I say every radius. I guess you never quite figure out what you really like until you try a bunch of tools. Reed has made a lot of his stuff and it seems like he purchased some of the cheaper tools and reshaped them. Same thing with a guy by the name of Al Furtado, the guy makes working woodturning tools out just about any piece of metal that crosses his path and turns some beautiful projects.
New Category ….Great Woodturners!
I think I’m going to created a category called “Great Woodturners” and then have a subcategory for each of the woodturners I follow and learn from. If anything, it will help readers of this blog to glean important and usefull information rather than trying to comb through the tons of videos and webpages.
DIY Wood Handles for Benjamin’s Best
A lot of guys will buy turning tools from Penn State Industries, the tools are called Benjamin’s Best and then they rip off the handle and make their own custom handle. You can certainly do that with a nice branch or small tree trunk of just about any type of wood. Make the tool nice and long, hefty and fitting your hand. Or…;.make it small for detailed work if you are a woodturner who turns wood pens and needs smaller woodturning tools.
Woodturning Wood Handles for
Your Custom Woodturning Tools
I think I posted some of the homemade tools that Al Furtado made called Make Your Own Woodturning Tools ….its a pretty good introduction to Al :), I would like to try and duplicate some of those ……consequently, I will need handles for these tools. The easiest way is to drill a hole in the center of the newly turned wood handle that will accept the tang of the new turning tool and epoxy it in.
Drill or Daddo For the Turning Tool Tang
Some guys make tools with larger square tangs which makes it harder to drill a hole and push the tang in …has to do with geometry. Anyway, they start with a square blank and cut it in half. Then they use a router to route out a section of wood fitting the tang on both halfs. After dry fitting and making sure the tool tang fits they will then epoxy the wood handle sections together, making sure not to get any epoxy in the routed section. Then they turn the blank after it has dried into their desired shape …. Let me see if I can find a video of somone doing this ……….************
I also have some carbide cutters (inserts) mounted on steel bars …I need to make handles for these tools. I must have watched the video on how to do this 15 times and I was quite proud of myself once I actually did it, in fact, I got the concept down and made the cutter and steel work together in my own way…. remember, I’m not a metals guy, never have been but willing to learn anything I don’t already know how to do ….lots to learn with metals. Anyway, I think I will use a 3/8″ cutter on a 3/8″ bar and make a straight cutter, radius cutter tool and I will cut the bar with weld it so that the bar has the cutter and it has a 45 degree offset for doing hollowing on bowls and cups. Let me see if I can do a drawing or sketch and post it here, just can’t do a straight 45 degree ….so they saw. Maybe since they say that I’ll try it 🙂 ***********
I found that the big carbide cutters at 5/8″ are good in some cicumstances and 3/8″ are better for others. The big cutters can be agressive if you are not careful, the smaller carbide cutting tools are nice when you can’t see inside your cup or bowl ….it isn’t as big and can be foriving when it comes to catches. I need to experiment with differnt angles…I could see where a 90 or 45 degree bar would have a good outcome…… because basically you’re in there cutting blind, you have to “feel” your way through the cut. In this case, starting with a smaller cutter makes more sense.
Recap For Woodturning Custom
Hardwood Tool Handles
So, if I didn’t paint a picture well enough. Here’s the gist of what I’m trying to do with handles.
You don’t need to use good dried lumber glued up or just squared up to turn a woodturning tool handle.
You can find limbs and branches from trees in your area, strip the bark and turn an awesome looking handle. The wood should be free and you can get it from any municpal dumping area for firewood and woodchips. Talk to some of your local tree services and tell them what you’re looking for, they’ll probably dump a truck load off in your driveway!
I think this week I’m going to turn anywhere from 15 to 20 limbs, branches, from 2″ to 4″. I’ll just get them to round, cylinder shape. Probably have to either seal the ends and/or place them in bags of shavings so they don’t crack up on me. I’m thinking it would be best to seal the edges with something good since I went through the hassle of harvesting the wood and turning it. Wax on the ends would work or “anchorseal” ********** would be better than just paint.
If I have 10 or 20 round blanks that are 20″ to 24″ in length, I could make any tool I need or want over the winter and into spring. It will save me some time. I like making the tools, but to start with shaping the metal and then finding a handle…. well, I cut out one step if I have handles ready.
So, I want to make a fluetless gouge.
Carbide Tipped WoodTurning Tools
I want to make about 4 more carbide tipped (insert) tools, each having a dedicated cutter. Right now if I want a square cutter on my carbide tool I have to take off the round cutter…. a big pain in the butt. So having a set of carbide cutters would be a big plus. If I had the cash I would definitely purchase a set of cabide tipped woodturing tools from Easy Wood Tools. I saw a set at the local Woodcraft Store and they were impressive looking. Big, big handles and big cutters. The cutters were mounted on some hefty steel bars. They might cost more than most, but from my experience, I can almost guarantee that anyone that is new and entering into woodturning will have some fantastic results when using these carbide tipped tools. In my opinion they are a place to start, but sooner or latter I can almost guarantee you will want to try some of the traditional woodturning tools, such as bowl gouges, big scrapers, small scrapers, spindle gouges, parting tools and every type of woodturning tool. For me, and may woodturners, it becomes addicting. You always want to see what you can turn, more complicated projects. Different finishes. How to use tradional tools. How to effectively use the carbide tipped tools, or more accurately the woodturning tools with carbide inserts. It doesn’t matter how you start, it matters “that” you start. There are many frustrations in woodturning and for most, it creates a challenge. I know that’s how it is for me. I think on one bowl I must have had 100 catches, that’s why I call myself “Catch”. I can’t believe my chinese tools didn’t snap in half 🙂 ….every new project is a learning experience for me. And….maybe because I’m older, I can’t retain what I used to. I need to watch a tutorial a whole bunch of times and then go out and give it a shot. I even print out screenshots of how a gouge cuts into a bowl on the outside and on the inside.
I found that in most new approaches to woodturning you need to learn it good enough that you don’t have to think about it. Kind of like operating a backhoe, framing a house, drawing plans, runing plumbing, laying out for a foundation, setting forms or wiring an electrical service panel. You just do it, not a lot to think about. You learn the basics and then do the job….. same with woodturning. Understand how the tool cuts and then try to make it do what you know it can do.
I little aside here, I almost feel like carbide woodturning tools are cheating, if only because they are so easy to use. I use them in circumstances where I am not sure or confident in my ability to use a traditional gouge, scaper or whatever. As long as you enter the spinning hunk of wood slowly you usually won’t get in much trouble. The most forgiving is the circle cutter, the next is the radius cutter and the square cutter has its place and can be very effective. but remember these are all mostly used as scrapers, thus tearing out the grain, leaving all those fuzzies. When you get brave, hold the carbide cutter at a 45 degree or so angle and actually slice the wood…. it will come out like a glass surface. It takes time, many catches but I enjoy learning how to use these new carbide tools and they are my go to tools when I’m a little freaked out. However, my goal is to learn how to use all the traditional woodturning tools, such as woodturning gouges and chisels.
Whatever you do, do something!
Turning Wood is fun. It can be scarey and dangerous. Just remember, every time you turn a project you learn something. You carry that wisdom to the next project and it builds until you are turning all kinds of crazy stuff.
I had no idea woodturning would be so time consuming, so addictive and such a learning experience. I mention in other places that I’m pretty much a natural when it comes to anything construction related. I’m not bragging, its just the way it is …I seem to catch on fast.
Woodturning and being a woodturner has humbled me greatly. I’m surprised my lathe still works after stopping it so often with all my catches. My tools were terrible in the beginning. I’m fortunate that nothing has hit me in the head.
Somebody mentioned, “practice, practice” ….that is the only way you’ll learn how to turn wood. The more you turn the better you’ll get. The more open you are to different methods, tools and supplies… the better you’ll get.
Belive it or not, all I wanted to say and
encourage you to do is to……….
So….grab a tree branch. Turn a handle or two and make some tools. Of course you can make that tool handle into a little baseball bat and go into the self defence market.
You can find more articles on making your own woodturning tools at:
I know you want to see how to make your own woodturning handles but first I need to rant!
Well, my garage roof still isn’t on, first problems with the insurance….never use State Farm, next is problems with the county for the building permit. Seems as though you need more detail and info these days and if you are in a flood plain….. you are screwed…. I’m in a flood plain ….looks like I am getting screwed!
Woodturning Handle Videos
I still work in my garage/shop but its a mess and I’m pretty embarassed the way it looks. So, I don’t shoot too many videos from my shop, although I wanted to do a video on making your own woodturning handle. Maybe I will until then, watch these videos on how to make your own woodturning handles from a piece of scrap wood, or your favorite wood on your own lathe with a little glue and ingenuity.
Metal for Making Your
Own WoodTurning Tools
Most woodturners make their own scrapers, skews and parting tools. If you don’t have the metal to do that, consider Online Metals…. I found them to be very helpful, fast and affordable.
Anyway, in my journey of learning woodturning I have stumbled upon guys making their own tools. Even if I had more money than I could spend I still would like to make my own tools!
I don’t have more money than I can spend, in fact, sickness has left me pretty destitute…. that is broke. So I pay attention when someone shows me how to build efficient and effective tools for cheap.
Cap’n Eddie Shows Us How to Turn
Our Own WoodTurning Tool Handles
Cap’n Eddie is one of the guys I have learned so much from over the last year. How to build carbide tools, how to make scrapers, how to make a handfull of different jigs that would cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Help Out Captain Eddie…Buy His WoodTurning Supplies and Tools
You might already know that Cap’n Eddie had some health problems, a brain tumor I believe and it seemed as though he was coming back quickly, but recently it looks like the poor boy is having a tough time. I can emphathize with him because I’ve been sick so long myself. Good health is something you never appreciate until you become sick and can’t do what you have all your life….it’s a terrible thing. But Cap’n Eddie seems like a fighter …he keeps pluging along ….so buy his stuff if you can and more importantly pray and ask the Lord to heal him and let Eddie teach us for a few more years!
Anyway…. if you need some carbide cutters and some of the other tools he sells I would ask you to visit his site and buy stuff from him…. let’s help the guy out …he has given so much to the woodturning commnity especially on youtube.
Below you will find 2 videos on how to turn a handle for the tools you make. Both videos will give you some great tips and ideas so that you can make your own. These are 5 years or more old, the video quality is not that good but you can still get the idea and learn from Eddie how he does things.
Check how to build handles for your woodturing tools.
And one more quick video on how to make a handle for your woodturning tools.
I’m going to have to do another post on making handles for your woodturning tools. There are many methods to consider and you might want to take a piece from all these methods and create your own woodturning handle. Until then, you have enough information on how to make a woodturning handle!
More On Making Woodturning Handles
I watched another tutorial on how to make woodturning handles and was blown away. I had to include it today instead of another post. Watch this video all the way thru and then check out the notes below. I know you’ll pick up some awesome tips and design ideas for your tools. I really enjoy this teaching from The Sonoran Woodshop
Here are some comments and important links he mentions from the tutorial. This guy has done great camera work, great woodturning handle design and construction.
At this point I had enought info to scrap together some scrapers first, and you can bet they will have some awesome handles. Maybe I’ll do a video of my maiden attemp at turning and fittng my first handle …..should be a learning experience for us all!
Here’s some useful links from his handle turning video description:
A great way to save a few dollars on your next turning tool purchase is to buy your tools un-handled and make your own. I came up with a design that works really well. It includes set screws which allow you to remove the tool from the handle if needed.
Ferrule: I use 1″ copper pipe (which is the inside diameter) for all of my turning tools. The only exception is my Spindle Roughing Gouge (SRG) which uses 1-1/8″ copper pipe.
Set Screws: I use 5/16-24 set screws for all of my tool handles. The lengths vary based on the tool handle wall thickness.
TOOLS WITHOUT HANDLES:
Please keep in mind I have no affiliation with any of these companies. I posted the tool steel used by each company for reference, but the reality is that they are essentially the same.
I currently use Thompson Lathe Tools. They use CPM10V (A-11) a powder metal tool steel.