Wooden Handle for a Screwdriver

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Project by docholladay posted 05-24-2010 04:54 AM 3685 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Lately, I’ve been on a tool making/modifying/repairing kick. Tonight, I was just puttering around the shop (that’s code for – waiting for glue to dry). I have always wanted some nice wooden handled screwdrivers. There is just something about the feel of wood in your hands as opposed to plastic or any other material. This is especially so after the tool has been used and gets kind of polished from use. Anyway, I had this cheapy old screwdriver with a cheap plastic handle. I figured if I screwed it up, I wouldn’t be out anything. I also had the nice little scrap of beech wood. Then I remembered reading where someone had used a plumbing fitting to make a brass ferrul for a chisel. I have made handles for my chisels, why should it be any different for a screwdrivers. Anyway, I scrownged through some plumbing fittings I had left offer and found what looked like an appropriate piece to make a ferrule. I went to my band saw and cut the old plastic handle off of the screwdriver. I turned and shaped the handle into a shape that felt good. I started with square and left part of the flats in order to give better grip. I think it turned out pretty cool. What do you think?

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#1 posted 05-24-2010 04:55 AM


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View JohnnyW's profile


83 posts in 3029 days

#2 posted 05-24-2010 07:18 AM

Fantastic little project and a nice job, especially on the finish. Good idea to leave that flats too. How much clearance do you leave between the spigot and ferrule before fitting the driver tang?

-- John

View FordMike's profile


155 posts in 3470 days

#3 posted 05-24-2010 07:32 AM

Very Cool, your right there is a special feel to a tool handled with wood.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3058 days

#4 posted 05-24-2010 09:05 AM

To answer JohnnyW’s question, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “spigot”, but this was kind of a learn as you go project. In fact, this was the second attempt. I ruined the ferrule on my first attempt and had to find another fitting. The first thing that I did was to drill a small hole in one end of the blank. This is small enough that the cone of your live center will center it properly. Drill it now while the blank is still square so you can get a good straight and centered hole. Then, next, mount on the lathe and cut a tenon that will fit the inside of whatever you are using for a ferrule. If you look in my projects, you will see where I used bits of copper pipe for ferrules for some file handles. Leave the rest of the blank square for now. Then I fit the ferrule. This needs to be a tight fit. You want to drive it on, not slide it on, however, if you get it a little too small, there is always epoxy. The fitting I used, actually was smooth on the inside and had threads on the outside, so the threads had to be turned off on the lathe. The rest was just turning to the shape I liked, sanding & polishing with steel wool, finish (just paste wash, burnished in with the lathe at high speed) then drilling the hole (following the small one I drilled earlier) to appropriate size and depth and drive in the tool tang. Some people will heat the tang so that it sort of burns in and also bonds the metal more to the wood. I did not do that. With the other tool handles that I have made, I haven’t found this to be necessary. However, I’ve never made a handle for a tool that is subject to rotational torque – like a screwdriver – before, so this may be something I need to consider in the future. I also did not use epoxy or any type of adhesive to secure the tang. It is just driven in with a really tight friction fit.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3088 days

#5 posted 05-24-2010 12:14 PM

Really nice, now you just have to go along on the 30 other you have…
I agree, it’s so much nicer with a wooden handle, but for those we use a lot, it’s also nice with ‘sure grib’, ‘antivibration’, and all this stuff.
I just restored some old chisels my self, and it was such a pleasure after, so I know just how you feel.
Hope it will serve you well.
Nice job.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View hairy's profile


2703 posts in 3531 days

#6 posted 05-24-2010 05:14 PM

Nice work! I love homemade tools and tool handles.

-- My reality check bounced...

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3290 days

#7 posted 05-24-2010 07:13 PM

You’ve already touched on this, but how did you get the blade to engage with the handle? I’ve got a driver like this without a handle, and there’s just a spot where it’s been swaged to form two little lugs sticking out the sides. This may be enough to hold a plastic handle, but I don’t know if wood would hold up with only this little engagement.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2939 days

#8 posted 05-24-2010 10:47 PM

Nothing like a wooden handle, I agree. I do not own a single chisel, screwdriver or any other tool with a plastic handle. I HATE plastic! Nice one.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3058 days

#9 posted 05-25-2010 01:27 AM

First of all, Mafe, how do you know that I have 30 other screwdrivers (probably pretty darn close to that number), have you been peaking into my toolbox.

To answer JJohnston’s question, the blade is just a friction fit with the swaged area like you describe. I was thinking of applying some epoxy, but I saw the kit of screwdriver blades available from Lee Valley, and they looked the same and are designed for a friction fit, so I decided to give it a shot. I did drill the hole just a tad undersized so that it would be a very snug fit. I did have to drive it in. It was a very tight fit. However, only time will tell. I’m not going to take it apart to change it now.

I would also comment, this is the first time that I have tried turning Beech. It is very nice to turn. Also, it polishes so nice and smooth. I did not apply any finish (yet) other than a few coats of wax, which is my favorite finish after all.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

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