Better File Handles – An article by Bob Patrick in December 1989 Vol. 2, Number 6 – Projects in Metal.
A friend from the Mason – Dixon Woodworking club is getting ready to move and he was getting rid of all of his old issues of magazines. His wife suggested that I might want them instead of putting them in the trash. I got 3 boxes of old Fine Woodworking, Wood and Woodsmith along with some misc magazines.
I was getting ready to pitch some of the magazines that I didn’t have any interest in and I ran across an article called Better File handles. The author was a metal shop teacher and the Technical Studies department head of a Vancouver secondary school.
He wrote that in his 20 years of working on projects he felt at times that he was fighting his hand tools. So he has modified some of his tools so that he could be at peace in using them. One of his most valuable modifications has been the making of his own file handles. He states that he never liked the file handles available for sale. They were either too short, often too thin or too fat and little thought has gone into the various shapes that they come in. So he set out to design a better file handle. He noticed that small files come with small handles and large files come with large handles. Handles are made to fit the hand and the hand doesn’t change size, so it seemed to him that there should only be one size of handle.
Some that he used and made
So he started turning handles and experimenting with shapes and various types of wood. He doesn’t think that metal or plastic make good handles because they are so cold. He found through experimentation that the most comfortable handles were simple in design, about 1 5/16 in diameter and about 6” long. Square handles were uncomfortable and those with finger groves were not being held with the fingers in the groves.
He has rolled all of his experimenting up into a formula that is very comfortable to him.
Measure your hand from where the fleshy part of your thumb starts at your wrist to the end of your longest finger. (A) his was 7.248” Take the length of your longest finger where the skin is attached to your hand. (B) his was 3.071“. Subtract B from A and divide by pi 3.1416 = D Diameter of handle. With finger and thumb together and pressed lightly on a flat surface ( C) , add 1 7/8” and it becomes the length of your handle (L sub a). (L sub b) = L sub a – 2 ¾”. So the length of the handle is made up of 5/8” ferrule, 1 7/8 where your finger and thumb hold the handle, 1/8” transition flat, L sub b length, 1/8” cap area.
Look at the pictures
What he uses now.
You can see the shape and make-up of the handle. I’ve not tried it, but mattsanf posted a project on 8/21/2007 called New Rasp Handles and I just found this article so I thought that I’d post it.
-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware firstname.lastname@example.org †