Making Carbide Tool Bar Handles

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by socrbent posted 02-02-2013 09:04 PM 3906 reads 4 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In the spirit of giving back to all you LJ’s who have inspired and informed me, here is an attempt to share the making of 4 tool bar handles. My wife gave me four 1/2” tool bars and 12 carbide cutters for Christmas from my wish list. Wanted to try some Easy Wood carbide type tools at a reasonable price level. To hold the cost down my wish list specified bars and cutters from Big Guy Productions and then turn my own handles for them.

Step 1 – Turn Handles
The project started with a 17” 12/4 hunk of maple left over from a rolling pin project. Cut it into four 17” pieces of about 6/4 square. turned them to a shape like the Wood River lathe tools I already had. Turned a tenon on the end of each to fit a copper coupler for 1” pipe.

Step 2 – Finished Handles
Used CA glue to put 3 to 4 coats on each handle. I had bought a bulk pack of 20 small tubes (.07 ounce) and used almost 2 tubes per handle. Covered the lathe rails with a drop cloth under the handle. Applied the CA by squeezing the CA tube on the upper side while holding a soft cotton cloth under the slow spinning (250 rpm) handle still mounted on the lathe. This was my first attempt at a CA finish. It was simple, quick and looks great. Smoothed finish between coats with a fiber cloth. Then parted the handle off the lathe.

Step 3 – Add Ferrules
Cut 2 of the copper couplers into 4 sections each custom sized to fit (since the tenons were different lengths on each handle) one of the four tenons with a hack saw, files and my belt sander. Then epoxied them to the tenons.

Step 4 – Decide How to Mortise Handles
As I pondered how to make the mortise for the bars. I considered drilling a round hole on the drill press. But that seemed to make pressing handles onto bars a tricky job. So how about a a square mortise? Couldn’t see how to get a 16” handle into my bench top mortiser. Then I remembered a Delta mortising kit I had got for a Hitachi drill press prior to upgrading to my current 18-900L Delta DP (What a great machine!). The mortising head wouldn’t fit the old Hitachi and was stored away when I got a good deal to buy on my current bench top mortiser. Dug out the mortising kit and as expected it fit the Delta DP like a glove. I could crank the table down and with a jig holding the handle mortise a 1/2’ square hole!

Step 5 – Build Jig for Handle Mortising
Raided my 2 by bin for a 17” 2×4 piece and a hunk of 2×8. Squared them up and screwed together with 4 drywall screws.

Then cut a 3/4” thick piece of poplar into a 3” square. Drilled a 1.5” centered recess with a forstner bit 3/8” deep. Then finished the hole with a 1.25” bit using same center.

Next drilled a 1/4” hole cross grain close to one end. You can see hole at top left of the photo above.
Then split the block across one side to create a pinch space. Put a 1/4” bolt through the hole and tested to see that this would indeed clamp a handle solidly on a ferrule. It worked! Mounted the block at the top of the jig with 2 dry wall screws.

Now to make a holder to align and secure the butt end of the handles – Cut a 10” 2 by that fit snugly between the side braces and bored a 1 3/8” hole 3/4 of the way through one end after marking center from the clamp block hole. then added a 1/2” hole the rest of the way through using the same center. This became an inspection hole to help center butt of handles since each handle had different butt end diameters.

Step 6 – Mount a Handle in the Jig
Put a handle with ferrule into top block and tighten the clamping bolt part way. Put the butt of handle in the 2 by holder. Clamped across the side braces.

Using a compass as in photos below shimmed the butt of the handle so the mortise will be aligned with the handles turning axis. This what the inspection hole was for. Tightened top clamp.

Step 7 – Mount Jig on Drill Press
Placed jig with mounted handle on the drill press table. Clamped jig to the mortising fence. Adjusted fence with jig to center the mortise chisel to the center of the handle axis and tightened the fence to table.

Step 8 – Made the Mortise
Drilled the mortise to the full depth, 3”. Removed handle from jig. Used a 1/4” chisel to clean up the bottom of the mortise.

Step 9 – Mount the Bar
Since the bars would slide into the square mortises in a dry fit with hand pressure, but the fit was snug, I decided to drill a small hole in the side of the handle at the base of the mortise to allow the bar to fully seat when the expoy was added.

Mixed the epoxy and coated all surfaces of mortise with a thin flat piece of wood. Inserted the bar. Clamped bar to fully seat and left to cure with relief hole up after clearing the squeeze out.

Step 10 – Finished Handle Ends
Sanded the ends and applied 3 coats of CA

I now have 4 tools plus spare cutters for the price of one of the Easy Wood tools. My only disappointment is the bars don’t have a bright shinny finish. :)

-- socrbent Ohio

2 comments so far

View DouginVa's profile


490 posts in 2443 days

#1 posted 02-03-2013 12:37 PM

Good work. Looks like it was worth all the extra effort.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View bobasaurus's profile


3539 posts in 3354 days

#2 posted 02-03-2013 09:06 PM

I want to make a set of these too. Thanks for the information.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics