Making/Fixing Tool Grips With Plastic Bottle String





Introduction: Making/Fixing Tool Grips With Plastic Bottle String

About: Generaly confused. Secretly inspired.

I like tools. I like to work with them. But also I like to fix and restore old or disfunctional tools, and a common issue in this case is missing, non existing or uncomfortable grips on some of them. By experimenting with my plastic bottle cutter I came up with the method of making/fixing or replacing tool grips I want to share here. On the examples on the photos you can see different variations of how you can accomplish your grips and I'll talk abot it later.

Step 1:

But first let me introduse you my bottle cutter. After a couple unsuccessful attemps to recreate designs I've seen on the interenet (I guess partially it was a fault of the bottles I was using) I eventually came up with my own design. I'm not going to clame that it is better than others (but maybe in some ways it stilll has some particular advantages (as well as disadvantages too)). This is just something I improvised with junk I had lying around in my workshop.

You can see how it works: the metal corner with a notch for a blade acts as a guide for the bottles edge; the stack of shims of different thicknesses on the end of the wooden block is how you regulate the width of the strip; two screws on the face end hold the metal corner, stack of shims and a blade all by once; the bent bar made from a nail at the side, acts as a guide for the outcoming string. Also There's a plastic bucket hanndle at the rear side to help keeping bottle at place at the start of a cutting (to be onest, it does almost nothing). Otherwise the whole construction is just a block of wood I hold in the vice.

You may feel free to recreate or improve my design. Just don't forget to send me a photos.

Step 2:

Now let's turn back to the tool grips. Here I have some old pliers I've already derusted, cleaned and rubbed with oil. For the grips you need scraps of robust 1-2mm thick leather (some old boots will do). Obviously you can use other suitable material (rubber for example) and let me know if you tried it. I've already cut pieces into size and shape.

Step 3:

Punch holes for lacing along the sides of your details. Do not try to fold your piece in half to accomplish two sides at once, it results in less accurete aligning of holes (I tried).

Step 4:

Soak leather in warm water to make it stretcy and pliable and start to lace. You may need to keep the leather wet during the process.

It makes sense to locate the lacing otside the grip to provide better durability and grip, but here I'm experimenting with different approaches (I guess the inside lacing is an opton too if you prefere more slick feal of a grip, or if the material you use provides you with secure grip just by itself). Simple lacings do the best. The fancy one I did on the pliers with grey handles on previous photos, bites into hand too much, but again, it's a matter of personal taste and a technic you applied (softer thiner plastic strip, different type of lacing, etc.)

Step 5:

And here's the finished lacings...

Step 6:

But that's not all yet. The srtip ftom PET bottles (AKA plastic bottle, AKA any soda bottle) has a cool feature: it shrinks while heated, and this gives us opportunity to improve the quality of the grips.

I recomend to use heat gun for this step (just moist the leather once again before shrinking), but if you don't have one, as I am, use the method I showing. In order to heatshrink the lacing we're gonna use boiling water. It is cool if you have a vessel where you can fully submerge the tool handles while the water is boiling. I tried to do so in my electric kettle but the pliers were too big, so i decided to use this glass pan and just pour the boiling water on top of the tool. It wasn't perfect solution but it worked.

After shrinking the lacing tightend up reliably securing the grip into place. It also helps alot with complex lacings because it is pretty hard to tie plastic strip tightly in this case.

Step 7:

Take your tool from the water and wipe it dry. Put it then to the warm place to let it dry completly as quick as possible. Reapply oil If needed.

Step 8:

And here's the result. It' looks nice, it feels nice.

I can imagine it can be done with tooled leather and leather lace. Please show the photos if you do so, I'd really like to see it. But now thank you for your attention and have a nice International Eskimo Pie Day.



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    15 Discussions

    Useful stuff! Just word of warning - don't use veg tanned leather if you are going to use boiling water or make it wet and use a heat gun as it will shrink and become hard. Try wetting a piece of veg tanned leather and then ironing it to see what I mean!

    3 replies

    I actually don't see a problem with this. Actually it may secure the grip in place even better.

    Someone would have to try it out, but veg tan becomes brittle as well as shrinking lots when heated wet so the grip might split along where the holes were made for the lacing. Anyone want to test the theory?

    Well, then it's, definitely, better to use the heat gun, because it takes just a couple of seconds to heat the plastic string, while leather may still stay reasonably cool... I guess I never worked with veg tanned leather and currently don't have any to try, so, there's nothing I can say.

    Very nice, i'll keep this in mind for when my own tools start to perrish.

    1 reply

    cool . very nice , if you intersted i made a instrutable of my tools wraped in rope

    1 reply

    It looks like having the laces to the inside of the handle would be more comfortable to use, but the laces on the outside would offer better grip. do you prefer the laces on the inside or the outside of the wraps?

    2 replies

    It depends rather on how hard you usually squeeze the handles while working, which depends on type of work you're planning to do with the tool. Smooth grip with inside lacing won't bite so much into hand at more hard work so it would be more comfortable that way.

    Also, how long are you usually use tool is important. Inside-laced grip won't irritate your skin so much. And you can regulate this aspect by choosing between different types of lacings too: the simple side-to-side one (like on the smaller tool on the photo) is the most smooth one, for example.

    I have a few of my Dad's old tools. I may try this soon. Nice details. I expect I will be able to follow them easily.

    1 reply