Introduction: Wood Handles for Cast Iron Skillets

I wanted a handle for my cast iron skillets so I didn't always have to use a towel to grip them. I bought a silicon handle for this purpose, but when it was left on the skillet it became too hot to handle. This Instructable demonstrates how to make a wooden handle for skillets that is still oven safe.

Step 1: Old Method

This is the old method I tried. I wrapped a rope around the handle twice and tied it off at the end. Heat wise it was a great method, but the end of the grip where the handle still peaked out was very hot and would catch the hand occasionally. The rope was also not oven safe and contained a polymer.

Step 2: Prototype

I spent a few minutes prototyping a two pieces handle with a single screw, but decided a single block of wood was a better design.

Step 3: Measurements

Take a few measurements of the cast iron handle. A dial caliper works well for this purpose. Each cast iron handle is different, so measuring for each handle is necessary.

Step 4: Cut the Wood

Cut a piece of hard wood large enough to accommodate the handle. I only had narrow pieces, so I cut a few to glue together.

Step 5: Glue

Glue and clamp the pieces together to achieve a size large enough for the handle.

Step 6: Sand

Sand the surfaces of the wood to make an even smooth block.

Step 7: Mark the Wood

Mark the wood with the measurements taken with the caliper.

Step 8: Drill

Drill the center of the wood to accommodate the handle of the skillet. I drilled center, left and right before it drilled out the two small remaining bits of wood. I then used a hand drill to manually smooth out the inside of the rough hole.

Step 9: Fit the Handle

I fit the handle to the pan and continued to adjust the hole with a hand drill until the wood fit the skillet handle snugly.

Step 10: Router

Use a router to round out the edges of the handle.

Step 11: Drill Pilot Hole

Use a caliper to measure between the pan side of the wood handle and the back of the hook hole in the skillet handle. Drill a pilot hole here. Also countersink the hole to accommodate a screw head.

Step 12: Screw Handle

Add a screw to the hole to fasten the handle in place. Cut a screw to the right length if necessary. Originally the handle was snug enough that it didn't need a screw, but after a little use it began to loosen up and I decided to add a screw.The screw will heat up, so a grip avoiding it is necessary.

Step 13: Complete

Comments

author
mr_marte (author)2016-09-19

Thanks for sharing your great idea and presentation. For most experienced cast iron pan users this is a great way to cover those darn handles. Thanks again.

author
ErikO6 (author)2016-08-19

I rarely cook over 425 degrees in my oven, maple should be fine.

author
schumi23 (author)2016-04-18

"The rope was also not oven safe and contained a polymer" I just wanted to point out that many things, including wood, contain polymers. What you probably meant was a synthetic polymer, or a plastic. Wood contains mostly cellulose which is a polymer, albeit an organic polymer.

author
djpolymath (author)schumi232016-04-18

Yes I was referring to synthetic polymers or at least I was concerned with heating them.

author
mshonnie (author)2016-02-27

This is a fire hazard waiting to begin and anything put on this wood at the mill would cause poisonous fumes to come into the home I'd be wary of this idea without some clear coat finish that has low or no VOC's or urethane coating that is much safer for these types of projects

author
djpolymath (author)mshonnie2016-02-28

There shouldn't be any volatile components in the wood as long as it isn't pretreated wood.

The spontaneous combustion temperature of hard wood is going to be above 550 degrees so anything other than long periods of broiling should be fine.

author
kejelly (author)2016-02-23

Wouldn't the wood eventually bake into charcoal

author
djpolymath (author)kejelly2016-02-28

Temperatures would have to be upwards of 450/500 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time to create charcoal.

author
scifiguy451 (author)2016-02-23

Great idea!

And I'm not trying to be a jerk (I just like to be accurate), but those are dial calipers. Vernier calipers have scales that you read the numbers off of based on how they line up. Not important, other than vernier calipers are pretty cool.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calipers#Vernier_cal...

author
djpolymath (author)scifiguy4512016-02-28

Touché

author
Jobar007 (author)2016-02-23

My concern would be the glue failing at cooking temperature cycles. Perhaps using a solid 2x4 for the donor wood would be in order?

author
djpolymath (author)Jobar0072016-02-28

I agree. I had the same worry, but that is all that I had laying around. I'll see if it holds up. I would also steer clear of soft wood and use a hard wood, because it has a higher combustion temperature and will last mush longer.

author
Grunambulax (author)2016-02-23

it also might be interesting to have a release button so that you could remove the handle when desired for the oven or washing.

author
mshonnie (author)Grunambulax2016-02-27

You can not wash cast iron skillets anyway so no washing could cause anything here

author
Leathaldose (author)2016-02-24

the reason cast iron pans do not have handles is because they are often put into the over for cooking. Tefal makes some decent pans with handles for people who do not know how to utilize cast iron pans.

author
Stan1y (author)2016-02-24

I think I'd stick with the two piece design and being cast iron the handke can be heated and used to burn a perfect fit into the wood.

author
cdstudioNH (author)2016-02-23

very beautiful! We only use cast iron pans... I might try this.

author
bob3030 (author)2016-02-23

Great idea. I use Cast Iron. Thanks for sharing.

author
Grunambulax (author)2016-02-23

I would countersink the screw and put a plug on top of it

author
aalnahed (author)2016-02-23

hi

Wonderful idea . A question : at high oven heat will the the handle not catch fire? .

What is your experience .?

T

author
anechay1 (author)2016-02-22

nice instructable! have u considered countersinking a screw deeper so u wont touch it? u could also fill a hole with some filler that is heat resisting

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