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Thread: Ferrules for Making Tool Handles?

  1. #1
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    Ferrules for Making Tool Handles?

    RE: Alan Lacer's tutorial on tool handles for turning tools ... http://woodturninglearn.net/articles...ttenhandle.htm

    For ferrules, Lacer says that many turners use copper or brass plumbing couplings or nuts for their handle ferrules. He goes on to say that for brass nuts, woodturners turn away the flats on the brass nut using their HSS turning tools, creating a rounded ferrule. So, do you use your spindle gouge(s) to turn away the brass nut flats? If not, what do you use to turn away the flats? Scraper? Any words of caution on damaging my HSS turning tools doing this on brass nuts? Other experiences or thoughts on making handle ferrules from plumbing nuts or couplings?

    While you are offering your thoughts specifically on ferrules, I welcome other insights on turning handles for chisels, carving tools, and turning tools and making homemade ferrules.

    Tom

  2. #2
    I bought a section of hard copper pipe, and find it much easier than trying to turn down flats on couplings! Simply cut a section with a tubing cutter and clean up the inside burr on both ends with a chainsaw file - 5 minutes and you are ready to put it on the handle.

  3. #3
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    I have also used 3/4" copper pipe. Cut to size, cleaned up a bit, heated with a torch and then hammered into place. I also dab just a bit of epoxy on the inside just in case. I have seen videos of brass nuts being turned down and I assume they would turn fairly easily with HSS...but I can't be bothered with the extra sharpening.

    Just remember to take extra care with eye protection of you put turn anything metal on your lathe. All it takes is one small sliver and it could be lights out.

  4. #4
    If you go with copper pipe, I would recommend getting a larger size and using it for all handles. You will want at least 3/16" inch all around the tool, and on a 5/8" gouge, that means a 1" inside diameter for the ferrule. I don't heat mine, though I guess that works. I just turn it tight and drive it on using a scrap piece of the pipe and a piece of wood. I usually cut a little recess at the shoulder to let it snug up. Haven't had any issues.

  5. #5
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    Of course, use the size piping to fit the size of your handle. I have only made two for a thin parting tool and a small hex wrench hollowing tool that I improved. Both times, I have turned a few inches of the handle stock down to fit the pipe and then turned the rest of the handle after the ferrule has cooled. I have never tried doing it without heating the pipe first...but I suppose that it could make little difference. I just went on the old principle of expansion and contraction. Not much of a science to putting one on a handle though...as long as it works in the end.

  6. #6
    I have used both copper pipe and brass fittings. With the brass nuts, I just round the corners over a bit and don't remove the entire flat. Here is a picture of a few tools I have made.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Greg Just; 09-20-2011 at 10:37 PM. Reason: add photo

  7. #7
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    I do the same thing John K. does except, when I install the ferrules I put the ferrule end on the floor and hit the but of the handle with a wood mallet. It does one thing if the handle cracks I didn't wont it anyway. I had one crack while using it and have done the ferrule this way sense.Hope this helps.
    just my $.02
    Comments and Constructive Criticism Welcome

    Haste in every craft or business brings failures. Herodotus,450 B.C.

  8. #8
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    I do like John. Went to the plumber and pick up a piece of 1" copper. Cut it when I need it.
    Bernie

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.



  9. #9
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    Here is a great set of very detailed videos on how turner Gary Mertl makes his handles. It is, for the most part, the inspiration for how I made mine. Except mine aren't as well done.

    http://youtu.be/L0Yh5AKDJk8

    All of Gary's videos are worth a look...he is very talented at breaking down his projects step by step.

  10. #10
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    I prefer aluminum tubing because it is color coordinated with my HSS tools, except for my Thompson tools. For those that I don't use in an interchangeable handle, I have used metal blueing, similar to gun metal blueing, and color matched the aluminum fairly close to the oxide of the Thompson tools. We old photographers are VERY color conscious ya' know!

  11. #11
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    I use copper pipe couplings http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...ndled-Properly generally 3/4" size but that will depend on the tool being handled, I've also done some with the brasss couplings but unless you come across them for free they are a bit expensive.

    John

  12. #12
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    I used a brass coupling for my Thompson gouge and screwed it onto the handle, mounted it on the lathe and at low RPM filed the edges until it was round. Took awhile but I was pleased with the look. Was too affraid to use a HSS tool and figured I'd ruin the tool trying.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hartranft View Post
    RE: Alan Lacer's tutorial on tool handles for turning tools ... http://woodturninglearn.net/articles...ttenhandle.htm

    For ferrules, Lacer says that many turners use copper or brass plumbing couplings or nuts for their handle ferrules. He goes on to say that for brass nuts, woodturners turn away the flats on the brass nut using their HSS turning tools, creating a rounded ferrule. So, do you use your spindle gouge(s) to turn away the brass nut flats? If not, what do you use to turn away the flats? Scraper? Any words of caution on damaging my HSS turning tools doing this on brass nuts? Other experiences or thoughts on making handle ferrules from plumbing nuts or couplings?

    While you are offering your thoughts specifically on ferrules, I welcome other insights on turning handles for chisels, carving tools, and turning tools and making homemade ferrules.

    Tom
    \


    Tom, I've done this a few times before, only because I found a few old brass fittings like this in the tool box. I just use a 1/4" hollowing bit. Brass is very soft, and doesn't damage the HSS at all. I honestly haven't tried it with a gouge, but will do so next time; I have another fitting that I got from replacing a faucet in the bathroom. On my hollowing scraper, I have a "medium" angle; maybe 60deg?? At any rate, it hasn't chipped my tools; it just needs to be done pretty carefully. The brass shavings come off pretty hot so a glove on your left hand might help. It does take a while, and you do need to resharpen once or twice, but a nice shear cut is possible once its turned round. I turned the speed way up for sanding; you can almost get a polish with fine sandpaper.
    Last edited by Nathan Hawkes; 09-21-2011 at 9:12 AM.

  14. #14
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    I bought a Skew chisel from Alan at the show. It was his bigger model with better steel. I made the handle as per his article and got a coupling at menards. I didn't turn the coupling I just left it nut like and buffed it up a bit. Looks great I think. I really love that new skew chisel. Well worth every penny.

    Quinn

  15. #15
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    Great ideas all up and down this thread! I've used the brass nuts and to knock the corners off and get it round, I just use a file rather than my HSS lathe tools. I don't use the file as you might would a scraper, but I put the handle with the ferrule mounted on it, on the lathe turning at a couple 100 or so rpm, and hold the flat of the file on the piece until it gets round, working the corners first and gradually moving back toward the wood. Worked well so far and using it as a file and not as a scraper (as you would a real lathe tool), you don't have to worry about breaking the file. Eye protection absolutely a must!

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