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First Test Handle, a little big perhaps

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Wed 15th Jul 2020
Blog Categories: Wood Engraving Tools | Wood Engraving Printmaking | All / Filter

The past 16 weeks have been hard. 16 weeks ago we went into lock down due to the Coronavirus, and since then I have been mostly helping to or doing all the home schooling for our 7 and 9 year olds, and I have had little time or energy to do much else. But thankfully today I have turned a new, slightly larger (& with little finger space), handle for one of my wood engraving tools - I'm doing this as I find the ones that come as standard too small - either because I have big hands, or my considerable use of woodworking hand tools which have big handles. Muscular issues including in my wrists/hands doesn't help either.

Handle on Round Scoper
Side view of handle on a EC Lyons Round Scoper

This first test handle was turned on a wood working lathe that I built with my son, and is turned in beech wood. Longer term I'd like to turn in other more interesting woods - Walnut, Cherry, Apple, Holly etc., and maybe if I can get some, some Box wood. So they become functional but also decorative.

Thankfully the children finish school tomorrow, so over the summer, and when the children are back at school in the Autumn I should have more time to do this - and I can make them for other people too.

The Test Handle

I feel relieved to have made this first handle - not because it is perfect (it isn't, it is perhaps a bit big) or that it looks great (it doesn't, I didn't clean all the tool marks off for example) but because I have actually had time and energy to make something.

My main aim with this project was to make a bigger handle that I can more easily hold, with more space for my little finger to tuck into, and, whilst the size isn't perfect, I still feel this is significant progress - not least because these handles aren't easy to make - they are small, and require a perfect push fit of a brass ferrule on the stem, and the tool has to fit securely in the handle (which it does here).

It is also really important that the whole handle isn't too low so that when engraving a large block it won't get in the way - either I've completely missed the point, or the tools I've seen where the handle would obstruct the block surface amazes me.

Below are a few photos of it - the next stage is to refine the design, as outlined below, then make more and fit on my tools, then, maybe, one day when I have time and energy, to do some engraving!

New tool handle
New handle on original tool steel, completing the finish

Handle on Round Scoper
Side view of handle on a EC Lyons Round Scoper

Inside of tool
Plenty of space for little finger; tool marks will be cleaned up on 'production' models

Inside of tool
Plenty of space for little finger; tool marks will be cleaned up on 'production' models

Underside of tool
Underside of tool; on 'production' models of tool will clean the back of tool up, can still see turning marks on it

Close up of handle pre assembly
Close up of handle before adding brass ferrule and attaching the tool

The Test Handle

I feel relieved to have made this first handle - not because it is perfect (it isn't, it is perhaps a bit big) or that it looks great (it doesn't, I didn't clean all the tool marks off for example) but because I have actually had time and energy to make something.

My main aim with this project was to make a bigger handle that I can more easily hold, with more space for my little finger to tuck into, and, whilst the size isn't perfect, I still feel this is significant progress - not least because these handles aren't easy to make - they are small, and require a perfect push fit of a brass ferrule on the stem, and the tool has to fit securely in the handle (which it does here).

It is also really important that the whole handle isn't too low so that when engraving a large block it won't get in the way - either I've completely missed the point, or the tools I've seen where the handle would obstruct the block surface amazes me.

Below are a few photos of it - the next stage is to refine the design, as outlined below, then make more and fit on my tools, then, maybe, one day when I have time and energy, to do some engraving!

New tool handle
New handle on original tool steel, completing the finish

Handle on Round Scoper
Side view of handle on a EC Lyons Round Scoper

Inside of tool
Plenty of space for little finger; tool marks will be cleaned up on 'production' models

Inside of tool
Plenty of space for little finger; tool marks will be cleaned up on 'production' models

Underside of tool
Underside of tool; on 'production' models of tool will clean the back of tool up, can still see turning marks on it

Close up of handle pre assembly
Close up of handle before adding brass ferrule and attaching the tool

The Wood Finish

I've a fair amount of experience with wood finishes, getting one sympathetic to the wood. I don't, and won't, use varnish - I use traditional ones.

The important considerations for me are firstly that as it will be held in the palm that the finish is robust and not known to causes rashes and will not 'wear off' or leave deposits on the hands, and secondly that it brings out the grain and colour of the wood.

Long term I want to try Liberon's Finishing Oil as it claims to be food safe, and I've used it in the past and found it to be good - however I need to try the latest version of the product to verify these claims first.

For now however, I will use a Microcrystalline Wax from Chestnut which is easier to apply. It is a wax finish, but better wearing, and is 'toy safe', and produces a nice finish.

Applying the finish
Applying finish to the handle

The Wood Finish

I've a fair amount of experience with wood finishes, getting one sympathetic to the wood. I don't, and won't, use varnish - I use traditional ones.

The important considerations for me are firstly that as it will be held in the palm that the finish is robust and not known to causes rashes and will not 'wear off' or leave deposits on the hands, and secondly that it brings out the grain and colour of the wood.

Long term I want to try Liberon's Finishing Oil as it claims to be food safe, and I've used it in the past and found it to be good - however I need to try the latest version of the product to verify these claims first.

For now however, I will use a Microcrystalline Wax from Chestnut which is easier to apply. It is a wax finish, but better wearing, and is 'toy safe', and produces a nice finish.

Applying the finish
Applying finish to the handle

The Next Steps

Next, I want to create a handle that is slightly smaller in diameter and length and see how that works, trying them all out to see how they work. I'll do this in Beech probably. Once I've got the size sorted, I'll work on more decorative woods (as I don't have as much of this)

Checking handle out
Checking the handle our for the next steps

The Next Steps

Next, I want to create a handle that is slightly smaller in diameter and length and see how that works, trying them all out to see how they work. I'll do this in Beech probably. Once I've got the size sorted, I'll work on more decorative woods (as I don't have as much of this)

Checking handle out
Checking the handle our for the next steps

Tags: tool,handles,wood engraving,woodengraving,wood engravers,woodengravers,engraving,engraver,printmaking,print making,printmaker,print maker,relief,block,print,printing


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Blog Categories: Wood Engraving Tools | Wood Engraving Printmaking | All / Filter

All text, images and illustrations © Copyright David Rodgers 2020 unless stated otherwise. No copying in part or whole without written permission.

Disclaimer

All articles made are based on my own personal experience, and may not be suitable for everyone. They are not to be taken as formal advice; always seek personal professional advice before doing anything, especially if it is health related, or might affect your health.

Where links are provided to external sites, I am not responsible for the content of these sites.

All content is believed to be correct at time of writing, but policies and prices change over time, and this article is not updated to reflect this. Double check all facts before making any decisions.





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