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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Hand tools with broken wooden handles

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Stan in Oly, WA

07-03-2013 10:53:13




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I have a few tools such as shovels, hedge clippers, and others which also have wooden handles which are subject to a lot of stress in use. Several of these tools have broken handles which I have repaired by gluing, after which I don't trust them very much. I put a couple of hose clamps on the glued handle of a good pair of hedge trimmers as a temporary measure, but so much time has gone by that it's hard to pretend that that's temporary any more.

Does anyone have a good method for strengthening and finishing off this kind of repair? This falls into the category of puttering---none of these tools are the only one of its type that I have, although sometimes the broken handled tool is the best one, or an old favorite.

Thanks,

Stan

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mkirsch

07-09-2013 06:44:34




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

All you said in your post was that you wanted to know how to better repair handles.
Well, some of us don't repair handles, because we know they will break almost immediately the next time we use the tool.

I've never had a glued handle hold up for long, and usually it breaks again right when you need it most.

The only effective repair I've ever found is to replace the handle.

You never said anything about the tools being ones you didn't need or use very often. In fact the way it was worded it sounded like you had a chronic problem with broken tool handles.

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Stan in Oly, WA

07-09-2013 09:06:26




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to mkirsch, 07-09-2013 06:44:34  
I'll admit that it was more ambiguous than it might have been. Usually, you don't know what misunderstandings you'll create until they happen. I did say this, though, which was meant to specify that these tools were not critical:

"This falls into the category of puttering---none of these tools are the only one of its type that I have,..."

My intention was to find out if there's anything that can be done to make a quick, largely unnecessary fix any better. Clearly, that didn't come across.

Stan

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showcrop

07-09-2013 05:04:27




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
For many years we just took them to Tucker. He made wooden handles for everything. But then he died about ten years ago so now unless they are a standard one that the hardware stocks, the heads just pile up.



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Tims A

07-07-2013 17:16:00




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Oly, I of the same ilk you are. I love old tools and like to fix things. I enjoy traditional wood working too. So I designed and built a shaving horse to make my own handles from trees. If you like to tinker this is great fun.

Tim



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Bret4207

07-07-2013 07:16:01




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
It's called a shaving horse.



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Armand Tatro

07-07-2013 06:49:24




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
I have read this topic and I still don't understand why you do not install a new handle and be done with this project instead of always fussing with it. Reminds of the old saying never enough time to fix it right but always enough time to fiddle with it. Armand



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Stan in Oly, WA

07-07-2013 10:00:41




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Armand Tatro, 07-07-2013 06:49:24  
Armand,

It won't be easy, but you're going to have to trust that I know my own life better than you do. If I should go to the time and effort and expense to repair unneeded tools properly, where would I draw the line? Fix tools I have fewer than three of? Fewer than five? How about the 80286 computer w/ 30 Mb hard drive I found in a back closet. Pay to have that upgraded to current specs, or learn computer repair and do it myself?

I don't mind advice that misses the point, but I don't like it when it comes with a superior attitude.

Stan

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Tims A

07-06-2013 18:57:44




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  

You need one of these tools. Built this to replace some handles. Having an Ash tree helps too.

Tim



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Stan in Oly, WA

07-06-2013 19:47:02




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Tims A, 07-06-2013 18:57:44  
I have absolutely no idea what that is or how you would use it. I recognize the ax and the ax handle.

Stan



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Armand Tatro

07-07-2013 07:05:10




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-06-2013 19:47:02  
Go to the Forestry Forum (or other wood working forum of your choice for proper name of this bench and detailed usage instructions) but in a nutshell you sit on this bench and with your feet against the bottom pegs you clamp a peace of wood while using a drawknife to shape the wood to the shape you desire (in this case a handle). A very useful bench to have and easily built in a weekend. Build it, use it to make your handles (and other projects) and enjoy! Armand

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Davis SC

07-04-2013 11:08:48




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Reminds me of a story I heard at the flea market last week. Guy had several shovels with broken handles. Said they were rejects from the State Hwy. Dept, since they were too short to lean on.....



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SDE

07-04-2013 08:37:38




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
The air cleaner boot on my ATV needed to be replaced. Dealer said $82. I went to Oreillys. They sold to me a roll of WRAPIT REPAIR. It is a self fusing silicone tape. It sticks to itself. Pull it tight as you wrap the handle. SDE



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Bret4207

07-04-2013 05:58:11




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Bowman Handles Inc. Do a search, good stuff.



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RustyFarmall

07-04-2013 05:59:21




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
After breaking 3 brand new spade handles in about as many days (no, I was not abusing them), I gave up and made a steel handle. 1" pipe, telescoped onto 3/4" pipe, telescoped onto 1/2" pipe, all of it welded together, and then the 1" pipe welded onto the spade. Used the "D" handle from the broken wood handles. That spade has stood up to use and abuse for over 5 years now. I recently found 2 more spades with broken handles, so I now own 3 spades with all steel handles.

My long handle limb loppers recently got a pair of handles made from a TV antennae mast.

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Stan in Oly, WA

07-04-2013 09:16:57




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to RustyFarmall, 07-04-2013 05:59:21  
I've repaired several tools that way, including one pair of long handled loppers with 1/2" steel pipe. The TV antenna mast sounds like a better fit for both size and weight, and I even had one, but I didn't think of it.

What you want in a tool handle is light weight and strength, which is why wood is often ideal. In a striking tool like a hammer, axe, pick, or even a spade, a wooden handle also absorbs some of the impact instead of transmitting all of it to your hands, and arms and shoulders. Steel is great for strong, but lacks these other critical qualities. How are your steel handled spades for use? Heavy adds up. I used to own a 20 lb. sledgehammer which would have been perfect for some demolition jobs except that I couldn't swing it more than a few times without having to stop to catch my breath.

Stan

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RustyFarmall

07-04-2013 11:21:08




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-04-2013 09:16:57  
Surprisingly, the steel handles do not add that much weight. My wife does a lot of flower transplanting, etc., and has used one of those steel handles spades a lot more than I have. She has no problems at all, even with the "spaghetti arms" she claims she has.



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Stephen Newell

07-03-2013 23:31:12




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
I use an exterior rated glue such as titebond III if it is a new break that hasn't been glued before. Then I sand it off and either coat it with enamel paint or a spar varnish. If it is a old break that has been glued before epoxy would be best however I wouldn't expect it to last long.



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mgriff543

07-03-2013 23:10:18




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Epoxy the break and then wrap with fiberglass cloth and saturate with more epoxy. Probably should sand off any finish that's on the handle so the epoxy will bond well.

Mike



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Stick welding

07-03-2013 23:06:27




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Mighty Putty! Billy Mays was pushing it before he passed away. Glued 2 boards together with it attached to huge tow ropes and pulled a big ship to show its strength. Probably used a few pounds of it but it held. There's probably a video online.



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John A.

07-03-2013 21:48:15




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Stan, What is Sacred About a Broken Handle of any Kind??.....Do whatever is needed to remove, and Buy a new handle and Install it. Hammer handles are a 15 to 30 minuet job on average.
I only use a #1 Irrigation shovel and I will not throw it away. Go price a #1 to a crappy POS #2 shovel! A new handle is still a few minuet R&R job!
Why do you keep a tool around when it is easy to fix, If you are breaking the handle then maybe Y'all are using the wrong tool for a given job or just abusing it it beyond regular stresses!
There is no reason to keep a crappy broken handle in a hammer shovel etc, etc, when it is easy to fix and you have your favorite tool back a 100 %!
Later,
John A.

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mj

07-08-2013 21:42:15




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to John A., 07-03-2013 21:48:15  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Aw, c'mon, John. Tell us what you REALLY think! :roll:



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Stan in Oly, WA

07-03-2013 22:18:45




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to John A., 07-03-2013 21:48:15  
John A.,

Settle down. There's no point in getting yourself all worked up answering a different question than the one I asked. I can't justify spending half an hour repairing a tool I don't need. That's why I asked the question I did. If a tool has given me good service---and I know how not to abuse tools, but thanks for suggesting it---I hate to just throw it away if it breaks. So I'll spend a few minutes fixing it and it can be a last resort tool, or a loaner I don't expect to get back.

Did you notice, I didn't tell you how you should use your tools?

Stan

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David G

07-03-2013 18:27:06




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
I have a garden rake that is broken off at 3', I still reach down to use it.



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Diydave

07-03-2013 17:57:39




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
I replace handles with hickory if possible, if not Ash. You can get a round of hickory off'n the firewood pile, split out a handle blank, and shape it with a draw knife, in less time than you can go to the box store to buy a chinese who-knows-what kind of wood handle. Hammer handles I have often strengthened, by wrapping the thin part with copper wire, and soldering it right over the wood. Longer handles I still buy, when I see them reasonable.

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Harvey9

07-03-2013 15:55:30




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Get a good exterior wood glue, glue it up and clamp. When it's dry, wrap tightly with electrical tape. Should last a long time.



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Dick2

07-03-2013 14:21:34




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
Depends on the glue used. Some glues are stronger than the original wood.



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ShadetreeRet

07-03-2013 11:21:04




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
"sometimes the broken handled tool is the best one, or an old favorite" Yep, the don't break if you ain't using them! I don't think there is anyone around that owns many tools that doesn't have several with broken handles. A lot of people break a handle and just go buy new tool. As far as lasting repairs, it kinda depends on the tool and where it is broken. I too have used hose clamps as a temporary fix when a handle would just crack. One might try saturating it with epoxy, but if it is completely broken there is little hope for it.
I have no idea how many shovels, rakes, etc. that I have that need new handles, some I have purchased for almost nothing at auctions. A village near me has an old hardware that keeps a selection of handles. They are expensive, but why scrap a good tool just because it needs a handle?

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Russ from MN

07-03-2013 11:08:38




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-03-2013 10:53:13  
I put electrical tape on any handle in question, real tight!



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Brian G. NY

07-03-2013 16:22:20




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 Re: Hand tools with broken wooden handles in reply to Russ from MN, 07-03-2013 11:08:38  
I have glued and immediately wrapped the handle real tight with Red Green's tape which does not stretch like elctrical tape.
I took the trouble to varnish over the duct tape on one sledge handle and it has stood up really well.
A friend of mine who is real handy with wood has custom made a few pitch fork and shovel handles using local hickory; they look nice and are very strong.



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