Better Handles for Hanging Your Files




Introduction: Better Handles for Hanging Your Files

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

I have seldom had files with handles. When I did have a handle on a file, it was usually made from a simple piece of broomstick or dowel rod with a hole in one end. The file's tang was jammed into the hole. But, the handle often worked loose in use. 

I am also moving into a new workshop space in a different home. I would like to hang many things on pegboard so they are no longer crammed into drawers. 

This Instructable will demonstrate my way of adding better handles to my files so the files can also hang on pegboard. Some welding is involved, although I added a step at the end that describes a version without welding.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • Broomstick or dowel rod
  • Threaded rod 1/4 inch in diameter
  • 1/4 inch locking nut
  • 1/8 inch steel rod
  • Thick washer or scrap flat steel 
  • Vise
  • Saw
  • Drill and bit
  • Wire feed welder
  • hacksaw
  • grinding wheel
  • Aluminum angle

I placed some aluminum angle into a vise. I used the welder's ground clamp to secure the threaded rod. I held the file by hand and welded the end of its tang to the end of the threaded rod. 

Step 2: Saw the Handle

Cut a piece of broomstick or dowel rod about 4 inches long. This will be the handle.

Step 3: Drill a Hole Through the Handle

I marked the center of the handle and drilled a 1/4 inch hole from one end to the other. I did this by hand, but did frequently check the alignment of the drill bit along two axes (This word is meant to be the plural of axis, not a tool for chopping wood.) I sighted from over the bit to avoid deviating to the left or the right. I also sighted from the side to avoid deviating upward or downward. 

My drill bit is not long enough to make one hole through four inches of handle. I marked the center of the other end and did my best to drill into the first hole. Fortunately, this worked quite well and my holes met end-to-end.

Step 4: Slide the Handle Into Place and Begin the Hanger Loop

In the photo the handle has been pushed over the threaded rod and onto the file's tang. (You may have to grind the weld joint where the threaded rod meets the file's tang if the handle does not fit over it.)

I did not have a thick washer, so I drilled a hole in some scrap flat 1/8 inch steel. Then I cut the steel to leave a margin around the hole.  

Step 5: Bend a Loop From Rod

In the photo I am holding the flat steel with a hole in it and a loop made from 1/8 inch rod. I am holding them in about the arrangement that will be used when they are welded together.

Step 6: Weld the Loop to the Flat Steel

As shown, the assembly is higher in the vise than it was when I welded the loop to the flat steel. This is for a better picture of how it should look when finished. The flat steel can rest on top of the vise to hold it level. The side you are welding first can be raised up a little to lessen the chance the assembly might become welded to the vise. After the two pieces have been tacked together reposition them to finish the welds with good access. 

Step 7: Mount the Hanger on the Threaded Rod

Hold the hanger loop assembly and the locking nut near the end of the wooden handle. Mark the threaded rod and cut it to length. Grind the end of the threaded rod to smooth it.

Place the hanger loop assembly and the nut over the end of the threaded rod. Tighten the nut with the flat side of the hanger loop parallel to the flat side of the file.

Grind away excess from the flat steel and remove any sharp edges. (In the photo you can see the grinding wheel nicked the locking nut in places.) 

Step 8: Finished

Here you see two of my files hanging on the pegboard and ready to use. I still need to make hanging handles from several smaller files still in drawers.

Step 9: No Welder?

Here is a possibility for those who do not have access to a welder. Grind an indentation or a "V" notch into the side of the file tang. (red arrow) Drill a hole for the file's tang into one end of the dowel handle. Measure the distance from a reference mark on the file to the indentation or "V". Tap the dowel handle onto the file's tang. Measure from the reference mark on the file and drill a hole for a 6-32 machine screw into the side of the dowel handle. (green arrow) Insert the screw to lock the handle on the tang. Cut off the screw and file or grind so it is smooth on the side of the handle. Drill a hole into the end of the handle and screw in an eyelet for hanging the file. 



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    25 Discussions

    Well another thought is ,Drill the wooden dowel and notch the file as you did ,then fill it with clear silicone and then drill a small hole on the opposite end and use a eye screw.Some of people don't have welders.Just another way to do it. ;-)

    2 replies

    I dabbled in my workshop for more than 30 years without a welder. Screws, pop rivets, and a little light brazing with a MAPP gas torch are effective for many work arounds. But, when I finally had space and money for a welder I could afford, a whole new world opened. I know you are very familiar with the grinder made to work as a biscuit joiner. Since posting that, I have thought of ways it could be made without wedding. There would be some holes tapped for threaded rod or extra nuts with a little planning to make certain there is space for them.

    Have you seen the home brew welders made with two transformers from old microwave ovens? I once did an Instructsble on learning to weld, and I linked some home brew welders in it. One interesting approach is a stick welder made from a heavy duty automobile alternator and the engine from a larger lawnmower.

    Use old golf balls instead...much welding...simply drill a hole for the tang, bang it in...your done. You can even hang it on two pronged peg board holders.

    File tang handles are nice. I'm not a big fan of peg board though. Personally I'd rather see the butt end of the file handle rounded off in the traditional manner. Makes for more comfortable use. For storing files I still like my holders I make:

    Even though it is titled Wrench Organizer I think it may work even better for holding files.

    1 reply

    I use old golf balls for handles. I hang them from the peg board using a loop of mason's string just big enough go around the ball. Once the string is pushed down to the tang, they stay up there really well.

    Thanks Phil, very timely, I just reorganized my tool "drawer". But files are used so often that some should have their place on the pegboard. Do you make your own pegboard hooks? I can not buy good pegboard hooks anymore.

    You are moving? Are you still just doen the road from me?

    6 replies

    Bill, I am still down the road from you in Vancouver. The reference to a new house means we no longer live in the Boise area and are still unpacking. I have used some commercial pegboard hooks, but have made quite a few of my own lately. Two years ago I published an Instructable on customizing pegboard hooks. Since I have developed a jig to make the bends and to give the right spacing for welding the 1/4 inch stub on below the bends. I have also made some additional variations. For example, a couple days ago I made one with the lateral  hook part being a nail about the diameter of a 1 1/2 inch finish nail. It is for hanging spare hacksaw blades from the pegboard, and it works quite well. 

    In opening the photo you can see my pegboard hook jig. The pegboard is 3/16 inch thick. The jig is from a flat piece of 3/16 inch steel. I drilled a hole through the steel 1/4 inch in diameter and placed its center 7/8 inch from one edge. About 3/8 inch from the end of the 3/16 inch dia.  rod I make a right angle bend using the jaws of my vise and a hammer to make the bend fairly sharp. I place the rod through the 1/4 inch hole in my jig and clamp the 3/8 inch end of the rod against the jig with the vise jaws. Then I make the other bend in the pegboard hook by hand. It is not really sharp enough, so I slide the rod with both bends and the jig farther into the vise and bear down on the handle. This tightens up the bends some. It is not perfect, but good enough. I turn the bent rod so it points directly to the edge of the jig that is 7/8 inch from the center of the hole and clamp both the rod and the jig in the vise. With one hand I hold the end of a 1/4 inch rod against the 3/16 inch rod using the edge of the jig to position it. Then I tack weld the 1/4 inch rod to the 3/16 inch rod. I reposition the rods so I can finish the weld on the 1/4 inch piece. I cut the 1/4 inch piece so it is around 1/4 inch long and grind away rough edges. Then I cut and bend the 3/16 rod  to form the lower part of pegboard hook. I hope that is clear. My hooks fit a little loosely, but they work well and they are sturdy. Those I made recently were done because I did not want to take the time for a run to the hardware store and had some steel rod gathering dust.

    Thanks for all the help! I can no longer find pegboard hooks with the stub, and have used various work-arounds.

    Bill, this is from a banner that hung on our local Air-Gas store back in Idaho: "Your wife called and she said it is OK to buy the welder."

    HA! Yes I understand.
    Even without the wife issue, I have a few tools to master before taking on something else like a welder. My next door neighbor, a woodworker and good friend, passed away this year. I "inherited" his wood lathe, and learning to use it is my next project.

    Be careful, there. You might want to ship that lathe to me so that you don't become infected with the Turning Bug. It's a super bacteria that's very resistant to wives, employment, family, eating, and a multitude of other non-turning activities. Suffers are often forced to acquire larger, more stable lathes, and in some case, to even build or acquire ornamental lathes, or Rose Engines as they are also known. Severe sufferers eventually begin writing how-to articles, YouTube videos, and even making their own lathe tools.


    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :-)

    Hot glue in peg board hooks. It keeps them put, but you can still pull it out if you want to. I mean don't go crazy with the hot glue, a little dab will do ya.

    Thank you for looking. I proposed a non-welded version in my response to gomibakou, if that helps.

    Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper using one of this?:

    Perhaps i'm too lazy hehe...