Don’t Get Foiled by a Broken Chisel Handle

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WWhether you like new or old chisels, sooner or later you will need to replace a handle that is worn or is lost. Here’s a little trick I’ve come up with to help you get the cone on the right handle.

When turning a new handle, use aluminum foil to create a model of the grip. Pack the socket with foil and be sure to leave some protrusion to act as a handle to remove the plug. The handle also allows you to safely hold it close to the lathe to compare it to your turn.

Use a piece of aluminum foil. Multiple pieces could cause the model to break. Don’t start with too much foil or you’ll have a hard time getting to the bottom of the socket. Throw in some tinfoil and jam at home, then feed a little more.

The tighter the sheet is in the grip, the more refined the shape, but since you’re just setting the angles, there’s no need to hit the gym before attempting this project. If the film gets stuck, a long, coarse screw will pull it out.

The twist doesn’t have to exactly match the pattern. Use the template to get the taper angle. Make the cone a little shorter than the actual depth of the grip. You don’t want the cone bottoming out in the socket.

Use pliers and a parting tool to establish the large and small diameters, then rotate the cone to join the two. I like to use a 1 ″ square scraper to finish the cone and get a nice straight edge. –Richard Dooling


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