Maple Screwdriver Handles

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Project by MrDan posted 09-04-2011 11:45 AM 3359 views 12 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a set of screwdrivers I just made from figured maple and the shanks are from Lee Valley. Loogie posted a blog awhile back about making custom screwdriver handles and I stole his handle shape because I just couldn’t come up with anything more beautiful myself. Thanks Loogie. :) The ferrules are also from Lee Valley.

In his blog he used a drill chuck in the lathe to drill out the holes for the shanks, but I don’t have one that fits in my lathe so I had to come up with another method for drilling straight into a piece of wood with no square reference point. The jig in the photos is what I came up with. The three sized holes each match the ferrule sizes I have. The bottom of the handle sits in a drilled out base so it stays centered directly below it’s respective ferrule hole in the top piece. Overall it worked pretty well, the shanks are straight but I’m sure the drill chuck in the lathe would be much easier and faster, I need to get one of those.

Finished with a few coats of shellac.

8 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7385 posts in 2867 days

#1 posted 09-04-2011 11:52 AM

Wonderful job. They look amazing.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3114 days

#2 posted 09-04-2011 12:18 PM

Beautiful screwdrivers.
Thank you for the link.
Best thoughts,

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

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3848 days

#3 posted 09-04-2011 04:14 PM

I really have a want to hold, just beautiful nice work and wood choice…BC

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3084 days

#4 posted 09-05-2011 05:25 AM

Nice job MrDan. I see you decided on a design. I’m curious to see more about that jig you made to hold the handle for drilling. How does that work. I’ve been drilling mine on the lathe and it works pretty well, but it is a little awkward to do. I would be interested in seeing your method.


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

View MrDan's profile


205 posts in 3312 days

#5 posted 09-05-2011 10:08 AM

Hey Doc, yeah I decided on a design. Originally I wanted to make them with flat sides like we talked about, but when I started turning them they just looked so ugly like that so I had to make some seat of the pants changes. Normally I don’t choose form over function, but in this case I had to. Ugly tools don’t have the same inspirational qualities as beautiful ones do and since they still perform (a screwdriver is pretty simple after all) I thought I could handle it if they rolled of the bench…

Here are some more pics of the jig I made. Honestly though, I think if you drill yours on the lathe, you’re probably in a better place than using this due to the inherent accuracy of the lathe. With this jig you have to be very careful in building it and setting it up or you risk drilling a crooked shank hole. The one thing that this jig offers is the ability to turn multiple handles from one piece of stock as you can see in the photo above. Then I just cut ‘em all apart and insert them in the jig. I’m not sure how you would do that if you were drilling the holes on the lathe. Maybe I’m overlooking something there…

But the jig is basically 4 pieces of wood. The top piece has holes exactly the I.D. of my brass ferrules and it is attached 90 degrees to the uprights. The uprights must be perfectly square and the height should be just a bit taller than the handles you are making. The bottom piece is made by transferring the center points of the top holes to the bottom and then marking it’s exact location in relation to the uprights. Then I used a forstner bit to drill out the holes in the bottom so that the handle bottoms would be fully supported. Then you insert the handle into the jig as shown (wrap the top end with blue tape if the fit isn’t snug enough). Then make sure the bottom piece of the jig is lined up with the marks you made earlier on the uprights. Then I shim up the bottom (with paper) as necessary so that it’s flush with the bottom of the uprights and clamp the whole thing to my drill press fence and have at it.
I know it’s a bit complicated, I’m not sure if I explained that well. Be sure to let me know if I only confused you more. :)

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 2685 days

#6 posted 09-05-2011 11:25 PM

Very nice set of screwdrivers. For the ferril, I have also used spent bullet casings in the past. It doesn’t have the end closed, so they are not as attractive as usuing a compression nut, but it still gets the job done. O prefer the casing from a 30 caliber rifle cartridge like a 308 or 30-06.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 2394 days

#7 posted 12-03-2011 01:37 AM

Nice work, I just have a question though. Couldn’t the hole be drilled before turning it down?
That way you can clamp safely to the square stock. Just asking I don’t turn yet.

-- Measure twice, cut once.

View MrDan's profile


205 posts in 3312 days

#8 posted 12-08-2011 01:44 AM

Absolutely. Good point Jim. I am just starting off with the lathe and I didn’t know the hows and whys of it all so this is the way I did it because I wasn’t sure if my live center (on the tailstock) would work as well with a large hole in one end of the piece. However, I just finished making some new handles for my marples chisels and that was the method I used, which worked just as well and saved me the time of having to make another jig.

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