Introduction: Walnut Handle Chisel Set

Picture of Walnut Handle Chisel Set

I was looking through some of my older tools and came across three cheaper Stanley chisels that had small plastic handles.

The tools have always performed fairly well, but I was always annoyed at the handle size. It was time for an upgrade.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Step 1: Removing the Old Handles.

Picture of Removing the Old Handles.

I first had to remove the plastic handles from the chisels. This was really simple.

I clamped the handles of the chisel in my Jawhorse clamp and used a wood handscrew clamp on the blade. This gave a lot of surface area contact and the wood prevented scarring of the metal. This gave me the leverage I needed. Moving the clamp backwards and forwards, allowed me to remove the blade from the handle in short order.

Step 2: Cleaning the Tang on the Chisels.

Picture of Cleaning the Tang on the Chisels.

Next, I spent a few minutes with a wire brush and cleaned up the tang on the chisel.

Step 3: Gluing and Drilling the Handles.

Picture of Gluing and Drilling the Handles.

Looking through my scrap bin, I had some left over walnut boards that I glued up to 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch blanks and trimmed them to 7 inches length. Allowing the blanks to dry overnight, I marked the center location on each one and drilled a 1/4 inch sized hole, using the drill press.

Step 4: Preparing Handles for the Lathe.

Picture of Preparing Handles for the Lathe.

I found some brass tube that matched the hole I drilled previously.

I cut a small piece off that protruded slightly out of the hole in the blank and wrapped the end with painter's tape. More on why I did this, in just a minute.

This created a nice, tight fit and after, I tapped it in preparing it for the lathe.

*Note, I am definitely not a expert on the lathe, having only finished a few projects in the past.*

Step 5: Sticking the Blank Into the Lathe.

Picture of Sticking the Blank Into the Lathe.

I mounted the blank in the lathe, using the end with the brass tube to ride agains the live center. I am not sure this was totally necessary, but it felt like the hole in the blank would weaken as I lathed the handle.

With the blank mounted, I went to work in smoothing the wood to a dowel shape and then proceeded to form it into a handle shape. I found this process enjoyable and it was challenging getting the shape I was looking for.

Step 6: Attaching the Ferrel.

Picture of Attaching the Ferrel.

I formed a smaller tenon that would hold the ferrel. This was a little challenging and required the use of a cheap caliper to ensure that I got the size right.

I then used a 1/2 inch copper tube and used a pipe cutter to cut three identical ferrels. As part of this process, I removed the now formed handle blank and friction fit the ferrel on the end.

Step 7: Finishing Off the Handle Shape.

Picture of Finishing Off the Handle Shape.

I remounted this back in the lathe to finish shaping the handle, including the transition from the handle to the ferrel itself.

Step 8: Smoothing the Handles.

Picture of Smoothing the Handles.

Once I had the shaping pretty much complete, I worked through an assortment of sandpaper, using grits 60 to 220. I finished the sanding by using 0000 steel wool, which gave a very fine, burnished look to the handle. Remember to sand the ferrel as well, as it will shine up the copper nicely.

With the first handle complete, I parted the handle off using my Japanese pull saw. Afterwards, I simply repeated the process with the other two handles. The advantage now was I could use my first handle to help match the dimensions on the other two handles.

This worked pretty well.

Step 9: Epoxying the Chisels.

Picture of Epoxying the Chisels.

I clamped the chisels by the chisel's end in my JawHorse clamp. I mixed up some quick setting epoxy and set the handles.

Step 10: Finishing the Handles.

Picture of Finishing the Handles.

Once dry, I gave each chisel several coats of tung oil, lightly sanding with the 0000 steel wool between coats. This really brought out the beauty of the wood.

Step 11: Success!

Picture of Success!

Overall I am happy with the results and I feel like my lathe skills are slowly improving. It was nice taking a cheaper set of chisels and upscaling. Without a doubt, the quality of the chisels is no better than before, but they sure look nice!

Thanks for checking this out, be sure to let me know what you think and if you have any questions!

Also be sure to check out the video of them being made:


TheUglyBarbarian (author)2017-06-29

I have a few files that have no handles, think I'll make my own; I have some purpleheart and walnut I've been holding onto.

Thanks for the easy instructable.

laith mohamed (author)2017-06-13

I am impressed when i saw the instructable ..

jbrauer (author)2017-06-10

Those look really good. I've used copper pipe end caps for ferrules. It saves having to cut pipe, but you have drill a hole.

WoodPlusMore (author)jbrauer2017-06-12

Thanks a really great idea, definitely something I'll have to keep in mind!

timberanew (author)2017-06-09

Worth watching the video just to see the oil go on at the end! Really lovely looking and well made, I look forward to more! - Clint

WoodPlusMore (author)timberanew2017-06-12

Yeah I liked how the wood really popped with the oil at the end, thanks so much for checking it out!

cavalier19 (author)2017-06-11

Neat work & great instructable. The walnut handle looks classic.

TheNottingHammer (author)2017-06-11

The copper ferrule goes beautifully with the walnut. A very nice job and I think a nice wooden handle makes a chisel feel better when you're using it - some will no doubt disagree, but I've just bought some new chisels and mine have hornbeam handles which feel great. They also take a great edge and stay sharp, which is also quite important :-). I've got a bunch of older chisels - some with plastic handles, some with broken wooden handles, so this is definitely something I'll look at doing over the next few years.

johnip4 made it! (author)2017-06-08

I made a walnut handle for a brass bell today, now I see your Instructable!

Here's mine.

WoodPlusMore (author)johnip42017-06-08

Awesome!! That looks really nice!

RushFan (author)2017-06-08

Well done!

WoodPlusMore (author)RushFan2017-06-08

Thanks a lot, appreciate it!

About This Instructable




Bio: Hey! Welcome to my Instructables page! I love to create and make stuff and decided why not share to how to make them with everyone!
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