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Thread: Handle Wood?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Handle Wood?

    I have some moulds and other tools that need new handles, in the mix are several round tool handles but also I would like to try my hand at wooden planes and such. Some screwdrivers and chisels may get the treatment also. I know an ex mill owner who has some boards that have been layed back for years and would like to get one or two boards for this project, what would be my best choices.
    Thanks Aaron

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Ithaca Gunner's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat with ya, my old set of Lyman large handles have about had it, split in two places, but they're the most comfortable of the bunch. The newer Lyman handles seem much too wide and give my hand cramps after a short time. The LEE six banger handles are okay, but a little long. I was just thinking of filling them in with Go-rilla glue and sanding them smooth.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Hardwood - but you know that.
    Apple is used for best handsaw handles
    Ash is a good all round choice for general tools
    Birch is in this class for some things too
    Some pricey hardwoods serve great but unless in hand, just make the project silly by chasing around after them.
    Oak can work but will split if the handle use is a lever.
    Hickory is better in this application.

    Really - many good choices - you sound like you have common sense so by using google you can find what has been typical for the tool.
    Chill Wills

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    sorry - that last sentence sounded condescending - didn't mean it that way.
    Chill Wills

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Ive used hard maple for handles with good results. A lot depends on the use and what you want the end product to be. I prefer a tight grained wood for handles and tools. It seems to just feel better in the hand.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    Bodock as we say in the south here.

    Osage Orange. It is RIDICULOUSLY hard and tough. I challenge anyone to find a domestic wood any harder. BUT, it's really holds up. I have a mold mallet I made over 7 years ago and it's still going strong.
    You will ruin a chainsaw bar and blade if you ain't careful.
    Bodock was THE wood for making singletrees and doubletrees years ago.

    If you approach it like machining aluminum or another soft metal, it's not hard to work at all. Treat it like oak or walnut and you'll be burning up tooling.
    It's a right ugly yellow when first finished. With time and lots of handling, it turns a burnt orange color that's right nice.
    Also, there's very little need to put a lot of effort in finish as far as oils or varnish. Sand it slick and rub a little linseed oil. It won't soak up much at all. I actually sanded a set of grips down to 1500 grit and used a muslin wheel to polish it. It was so slick, they weren't usable. LOL!
    I'm reminded of the immortal words of Socrates who said...."I drank what!?!?!?"

  7. #7
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    just an opinion from an old woodworker about any hardwood you can get on the cheep would work. My lyman handles look to be Birch but I wouldn't hesitate to use a maple or beech
    Sometimes it takes a second box of boolits to clear my head.
    Feed back thread http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...?261449-jeepyj

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithaca Gunner View Post
    I'm in the same boat with ya, my old set of Lyman large handles have about had it, split in two places, but they're the most comfortable of the bunch. The newer Lyman handles seem much too wide and give my hand cramps after a short time. The LEE six banger handles are okay, but a little long. I was just thinking of filling them in with Go-rilla glue and sanding them smooth.
    I have repaired several loose and even some cracked mould handles with Gorilla Glue with excellent success. Most of the time they function better than they were when they were new.
    Sometimes it takes a second box of boolits to clear my head.
    Feed back thread http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...?261449-jeepyj

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 1989toddm's Avatar
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    NoAngel, I would be interested to try a small piece of Bodock. If you feel like sharing.


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  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I have used sage orange for a couple projects and it is very hard even when green and not cured once cured its very hard and more like metal working than wood working in some ways. As it ages it becomes very nice looking.

  11. #11
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    I was in need for handles a while back, and a light kind of lit up when I saw the broom handle with threaded tip broken off which had been standing in shed for year -- yes, I couldn't throw it away as it might come in handy.

    I cut it to good lengths, and drilled hole in its center for the tangs. Chucked it in my wood lathe, and turned it down a bit. Put on a coat of beeswax+ boiled linseed oil mix -- and they function well, plus look good.

    On the first set, I made the hole too small, and in hitting metal handles with a mallet to raise the new wooden ones, one cracked right down the middle. Lesson learned? Don't make the holes too small. Commercial manufacturers probably learned this, too -- which is why some handles loosen and fall off after a bit of use. A bit of whatever-epoxy one has at hand cures that fault.

    Just what I did...
    geo

  12. #12
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    There are a lot of good wood for tool handles. Some good ones I have run across are:

    Ash, oak, osage orange, black locust, hickory, buckthorn, maple, etc. I wouldn't use maple for an impact application (chisel handle). Oak or ash in that application would be better with a steel hoop to prevent splitting. Buckthorn and black locust are invasive plants in this area that are both great for tool handles, but the buckthorn smells bad when being worked.

    The wood for handplanes is much more complicated. The block needs to be rift sawn and air dried for stability. Wood needs to be selected for stability. High density is also a plus for a plane. The additional weight keeps the plane moving more smoothly across the board. A light plane acts grabbier. The sole needs to be of a type of wood that is slick (very close grain) and long wearing. The gold standard for the sole was lignum vitae, but if you can find it today it's pricey.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for all the replies, I'll make a list and go see what he has hiding in that old shed.
    Aaron

  14. #14
    Lignum vitai is one of the hardest woods. Great for handles. Caution with bois d'arc (Osage orange) some have claimed dangereous chemicals in wood and wood fines...

  15. #15
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    Dogwood is hard as china math. My mold whacker is a piece of dogwood from 1974, lots of dings but nothing serious. Need apiece at least 1 1/2 " in diameter, well dryed. Dogwood is state tree of Va. and maybe some other states, watch out for the " tree police".
    10-x

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Good suggestions already. When I had my cabinet/millwork shop, I was never short of material for handles when needed - hard maple, birch, white oak, ash, hickory - all depended on what the tool was. Where our current house is, we are in a woods with a combination of red oak, white oak and hickory mostly. I always kept my eyes out for "dead fall" out of he hickory trees in the spring - I had no problems finding branches with sections around 1" to 1 1/2" that I could cut 'blanks" out of and keep on the shelf. They were dead wood and after a year on the shelf, were plenty dry as far as moisture content. I used to do quite a bit of woodturning and those blanks turned up good for replacing such things as the wood on Lyman handles, socket chisels, etc.

  17. #17
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    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgerkahn View Post
    I was in need for handles a while back, and a light kind of lit up when I saw the broom handle with threaded tip broken off which had been standing in shed for year -- yes, I couldn't throw it away as it might come in handy.

    I cut it to good lengths, and drilled hole in its center for the tangs. Chucked it in my wood lathe, and turned it down a bit. Put on a coat of beeswax+ boiled linseed oil mix -- and they function well, plus look good.

    On the first set, I made the hole too small, and in hitting metal handles with a mallet to raise the new wooden ones, one cracked right down the middle. Lesson learned? Don't make the holes too small. Commercial manufacturers probably learned this, too -- which is why some handles loosen and fall off after a bit of use. A bit of whatever-epoxy one has at hand cures that fault.

    Just what I did...
    geo
    +1 quick and easy for me. I in business of casting not making mold handles
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Laich View Post
    +1 quick and easy for me. I in business of casting not making mold handles

    Yes, but tool making is a hobby just like casting for some of us. I enjoy making many of the tools I use.

    I made a hammer specifically for my Lee Classic Loader just recently.
    Aluminum, Ebony & Bloodwood.

    I'm reminded of the immortal words of Socrates who said...."I drank what!?!?!?"

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by NoAngel View Post
    Yes, but tool making is a hobby just like casting for some of us. I enjoy making many of the tools I use.

    I made a hammer specifically for my Lee Classic Loader just recently.
    Aluminum, Ebony & Bloodwood.

    That is very nice work. Nothing more satisfying than creating your own tools. I like your sig line as well.
    Liberalism is the triumph of emotion over intellect, but masquerading as the reverse.

    I don't know how we ever shot maximum loads before P/C come along and saved us all. R5R

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  20. #20
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    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Nice looking. Making what we shoot or the tools to make what we shoot is all part of the fun. Nice south bend. I am into old school iron.
    Chill Wills

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