Just a short post today. Some of you may have read that I have been experimenting with turning some London Pattern Chisel Handles. I did the first for a Craftsman BP chisel that’s original handle was completely ruined. The second was for a Greenlee Chisel that I picked up at a flea market and restored. You can read the earlier posts here:
I felt that the first attempt was too large and the second too small. However, when I milled up the 1-inch thick Madrone to make the second handle, I made several extra octagonal blanks, not knowing that I was going to later think it too small. So now I have extra octagonal blanks that I have decided are too thin to use for chisel handles. What to do with them?
I figured that they would be a good size for file handles and decided to make some of those. The thing is, file handles really want a ferule so that they don’t split. I didn’t have any brass tubing on hand and didn’t want to wait for an order to arrive. So, I went to my local HomeDepot thinking that I would buy some copper pipe couplings and use those for ferules. When I got to the store I found something that I think will look much better than copper. They are brass straight couplings used for fixing Pex pipe together. They have ribs on them, but I can remove those with a file.
I mounted one of the Madrone blanks in the lathe and turned one end down to the size of the inner diameter of the coupling. I slid the coupling onto the blank and put it back in the lathe. With the brass turning, I used a file to remove the ribs. I then removed it from the lathe, flipped the coupling around, and then repeated the filing for the other side.
Next, I needed to cut the large central rib away from the coupling and leave two individual ferules. I used a hacksaw while the lathe was turning being careful to cut through the brass but not the wood.
This resulted in two ferules ready for use on the file handles.
When I looked at the six remaining octagonal blanks that I had milled, I discovered that one of them had split while sitting on the bench over night. This one is relegated to the fire pile:
With ferules made, I proceeded to turn the file handles on the lathe. You can see in the photo below that one of the ferules still has the larger brass rib that made up the center of the coupling. I left one like this as an experiment. I don’t think that I care for the look and wouldn’t do this again. The top file handle has a coat of Watco Danish Oil on it, while the others are bare.
These 1-inch thick turnings are a good size for file handles, but as you can see below, this size does look a little small on a large chisel.
Well, I think that made for a good use of the remaining 1-inch blanks that I had.
I’m going to do one more post on London Pattern handles as I’m still not happy with the size of the first two attempts. I have since turned a couple of handles that are sized in between the first attempts. These seem much better, but I will have to save all that for the next installment.
– Jonathan White