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Walnut Engraving Tool Handles

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Fri 31st Jul 2020
Blog Categories: Wood Engraving Tools | Wood Engraving Printmaking | All / Filter

As well as making handles more comfortable for me to use, I want to make them more decorative too (I'm put off engraving at present as the handles I have don't suit me - perhaps I have bigger hands, muscular problems don't help, and I'm used to larger wood working tool handles). I've turned the handles myself, from dry seasoned hard woods, on a pole lathe, which has been a challenge.

The Latest

So here is the latest - a Walnut Wood engraving tool handle, with hand made brass ferule, fitted to an EC Lyons tool. I had to make quite a few to get here - but I like the lightness of the shape and profile more than the previous ones - I haven't bothered about tool marks much yet - been learning process of making them, focusing on getting something that works, then deal with the tool marks later (see below).

Walnut engraving handle
Latest - walnut wood engraving handle

Walnut engraving handle
Latest - walnut wood engraving handle

Walnut engraving handle
Underside of handle - it is the lightest profile I've turned so far, and am pleased with it

Full tool
Full tool

Walnut engraving handle
Prior to cutting the side off and before applying the finish (will remove tool marks later, see below)

Handle on lathe
Close to hardest part - handle on lathe (without tailstock), about to drill hole for tool, then parting the handle off. Have to do very carefully otherwise all the work is lost.

Handle on lathe
Delicate work - big turning tools working on small handles - have to be really careful here to ensure end of stem is exactly 7mm diameter to fit the ferule - too big and it won't fit, too small and it falls off - the tolerances are tight.

The Latest

So here is the latest - a Walnut Wood engraving tool handle, with hand made brass ferule, fitted to an EC Lyons tool. I had to make quite a few to get here - but I like the lightness of the shape and profile more than the previous ones - I haven't bothered about tool marks much yet - been learning process of making them, focusing on getting something that works, then deal with the tool marks later (see below).

Walnut engraving handle
Latest - walnut wood engraving handle

Walnut engraving handle
Latest - walnut wood engraving handle

Walnut engraving handle
Underside of handle - it is the lightest profile I've turned so far, and am pleased with it

Full tool
Full tool

Walnut engraving handle
Prior to cutting the side off and before applying the finish (will remove tool marks later, see below)

Handle on lathe
Close to hardest part - handle on lathe (without tailstock), about to drill hole for tool, then parting the handle off. Have to do very carefully otherwise all the work is lost.

Handle on lathe
Delicate work - big turning tools working on small handles - have to be really careful here to ensure end of stem is exactly 7mm diameter to fit the ferule - too big and it won't fit, too small and it falls off - the tolerances are tight.

The Finish Experiments

I have dealt with my finish experiments in a previous blog entry - using a traditional finish sympathetic to wood and which is safe to use, but not varnish or stains.

The Finish Experiments

I have dealt with my finish experiments in a previous blog entry - using a traditional finish sympathetic to wood and which is safe to use, but not varnish or stains.

Todo - Tool Marks

I appreciate that I haven't as yet bothered to remove all the tool marks from these handles - they are still test ones and that is fine for now, but at some point I need to remove them.

The challenge is the size - especially inside the mushroom handle, I form the inside using a flat pointed wood turning tool which creates the shape well but will always leave tool marks by virtue of the tool shape, so I'll need to make my own rounded wood turning tool to remove these marks - I'm not going to just use sandpaper.

The outside back of the handle also needs tool marks removed too, and I'll probably have to make another turning tool to do this.

Turning handle
Forming initial concave surface inside handle, but flat tools create tool marks, need new to make my own turning tools to remove these as everything is so small

Todo - Tool Marks

I appreciate that I haven't as yet bothered to remove all the tool marks from these handles - they are still test ones and that is fine for now, but at some point I need to remove them.

The challenge is the size - especially inside the mushroom handle, I form the inside using a flat pointed wood turning tool which creates the shape well but will always leave tool marks by virtue of the tool shape, so I'll need to make my own rounded wood turning tool to remove these marks - I'm not going to just use sandpaper.

The outside back of the handle also needs tool marks removed too, and I'll probably have to make another turning tool to do this.

Turning handle
Forming initial concave surface inside handle, but flat tools create tool marks, need new to make my own turning tools to remove these as everything is so small

The Challenges

In wood turning there are many forces at work - things turning, tools pushing against wood hard enough to remove slivers of wood, and get a smooth finish, the wood end pressed hard enough to the end tail stock to keep it centered and not spin out. It is a wonder that it all works.

Making these handles has been a challenge - turning something so small on a lathe means I've had to carefully work out the order in which I do each turning process, because doing them in the wrong order usually results in the handle being damaged on the lathe - see photo below for some damaged handles.

For example, the stem is only 7mm in diameter when turned (to fit the ferule), and when a 3mm hole is drilled in it (to accept the tool metal), means walls of just 2mm spinning on a lathe, with all the pressures of the turning tools pressing against the wood to shape it. And this 2mm is the problem - it is tiny - so I've had to ensure that I make these holes at the last possible moment - but they still need to be made on the lathe otherwise they may not be centered correctly. And this 3mm hole isn't big enough for some (or many) engraving tools, so I'll need to look at this too.

It has been a matter of keep on trying, and accept and learn from the ones that didn't work, try a different method, and keep trying until it works, reliably.

Broken handles from lathe
Handles that broke during turning - on left hole drilled in stem in wrong place and broke through, and on right, the stem broke on the lathe. In both cases I had to change the order in which process was performed to stop this. There are other examples!

The Challenges

In wood turning there are many forces at work - things turning, tools pushing against wood hard enough to remove slivers of wood, and get a smooth finish, the wood end pressed hard enough to the end tail stock to keep it centered and not spin out. It is a wonder that it all works.

Making these handles has been a challenge - turning something so small on a lathe means I've had to carefully work out the order in which I do each turning process, because doing them in the wrong order usually results in the handle being damaged on the lathe - see photo below for some damaged handles.

For example, the stem is only 7mm in diameter when turned (to fit the ferule), and when a 3mm hole is drilled in it (to accept the tool metal), means walls of just 2mm spinning on a lathe, with all the pressures of the turning tools pressing against the wood to shape it. And this 2mm is the problem - it is tiny - so I've had to ensure that I make these holes at the last possible moment - but they still need to be made on the lathe otherwise they may not be centered correctly. And this 3mm hole isn't big enough for some (or many) engraving tools, so I'll need to look at this too.

It has been a matter of keep on trying, and accept and learn from the ones that didn't work, try a different method, and keep trying until it works, reliably.

Broken handles from lathe
Handles that broke during turning - on left hole drilled in stem in wrong place and broke through, and on right, the stem broke on the lathe. In both cases I had to change the order in which process was performed to stop this. There are other examples!

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.

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