Getting a Handle on a File

I knew it had been a while, but I didn’t realize it had been two months since I’d last posted. You probably thought that we disappeared! Perhaps we had to join the Witness Protection Program. Or maybe we’d won the lottery and were traveling. Unfortunately, it was nothing interesting or fun. The simple fact is that Jay was working all kinds of crazy hours, I was working all kinds of crazy hours, and when I did have something I could post it was either sewing or crochet. Since I’d posted a lot of that before I didn’t want to inundate you with more.

Today I return with a Jay project. I know that some of you like these kinds of posts. You just never know what he’s going to decide to make. I gave you a big clue in the subject of this post, and here’s another clue:


As you can see, Jay has a selection of files that do not have handles. They can be a bit dangerous to use in certain circumstances, so a handle is preferred. Why buy one, though, when you can make it?

All you need are a few pieces of wood (or whatever material you want for your handle).

Files 1

Using scrap pieces is great. If you have glue and some clamps you can make the size of block that you need for whatever file you have in your drawer.

Next you need to get it into a shape that will be comfortable in your hand. More often than not this will be a round shape. We’ll use the four-jaw chuck to hold onto our block of wood as we start to turn it into a rounded shape.

Files 2

Apparently we are making four handles.

In order to turn the other side of the handle we’ll need to use a collet chuck, so let’s turn all of these at once so that we don’t have to keep switching out chucks.

Files 3

Use your calipers to ensure the end that will hold the file is at the correct O.D. to fit into the collar that you’ll be applying to the handle end. Once you’ve done that you can finish off the other side of the handle.

Files 4

Using the tailstock to hold the end of your work will make sure that things don’t go wonky. There’s nothing worse than a wonky handle file.

Files 5

How pretty!

Next, chuck up the piece of metal that you are going to use for the handle collars.

Files 6

Cut to length and chamfer one end.

Files 7

That picture is almost pretty enough to be framed. Those are some beautiful chips.

Finally, install the collar on the handle.

Files 8

Files 9

Insert your files and you’re done!

Files 10

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