• Recent Articles

  • Hottest Threads

    Dave Anderson NH

    Time for some levity

    Thread Starter: Dave Anderson NH

    With all of the negativity and political stuff going on with the Covid-19 virus it is time to look at the humorous side of things. Feel free to add more, but keep it clean or it will be deleted.

    Last Post By: Mel Fulks Today, 12:15 PM Go to last post
    Jim Becker

    Shop Build...should be a fun journey...

    Thread Starter: Jim Becker

    I debated about starting this thread now or later, but decided on now because, well...I might forget something. :o As a little background, at our previous property, I was blessed with a reasonably sized, fully conditioned space for my shop in what was originally a three-and-a-half vehicle garage...

    Last Post By: Adam Herman Today, 1:23 PM Go to last post
    Keith Outten

    Volkswagon Mechanics Talk To Me

    Thread Starter: Keith Outten

    I recently acquired this 1967 VW dune buggy knowing that it would be a bit of a project before I could get it on the road. It runs good just needs a tune up but I will need to replace some parts here and there to get it where it needs to be. Most of the parts are on order, new brake shoes, stuff...

    Last Post By: Keith Outten Today, 12:33 PM Go to last post
    Forrest Gon

    new bandsaw wont' cut straight

    Thread Starter: Forrest Gon

    My first bandsaw, a new rikon 10-3061, set it up according to the manual and various youtube tutorials such as Alex Snodgrass's method (align the blade, tension the blade, thrust bearings and side guides) Now the issue is: the saw just won't cut straight, it will pull the wood off the fence...

    Last Post By: Edward Weber Today, 6:22 PM Go to last post
    Brian Elfert

    I think my zero turn mower is cursed!

    Thread Starter: Brian Elfert

    I bought a used 2019 Grasshopper diesel zero turn mower with 189 hours on it last summer. I had all kinds of problems with it initially including a starter that didn't always turn over. I realized after I bought it that the mower had been buried pretty deep in mud or something as the dashboard...

    Last Post By: Brian Elfert Today, 2:30 PM Go to last post
    Keegan Shields

    Teach us about rasps and floats

    Thread Starter: Keegan Shields

    There is a ton of info on the web about the more common woodworking hand tools (chisels, planes, saws) but what about rasps and floats? What’s the difference in application? How do these tools fit into the tool continuum from axe to sandpaper? What brands and models would you recommend to...

    Last Post By: Stephen Rosenthal Today, 4:42 PM Go to last post
  • Aluminum Handles for new Thompson tools

    I recently ordered a few new gouges from Thompson Tools. Doug is a great guy to deal with and I will definitely order from him again. Since I’m on a tight budget and needed handles for my new tools, I decided to build my own. At first I was going to make some nice wood handles but then I thought aluminum would look nice.



    The ends of the tools were machined to 1/2” and 3/8” respectively so I needed something with a 1/2” ID. After a little searching, I found some 1” diameter aluminum tubing with .25”wall thickness at speedymetals.com. It came in 12” and 18” lengths so I ordered a few of each.

    Here is a list of what materials I used:

    - Aluminum tubing (1” dia, .25” wall thickness x desired length)
    - (2) 1/4-20 x 1/4” long set screws (I used 3/8” long set screws for the 3/8” handle)
    - 1-1/4” OD x 1” ID clear tubing (available in the plumbing dept at most BORGs)
    - 1/2” dia steel tube (in the welding material section at the BORG)

    Here is a price list:

    - Aluminum tubing (18”-$5.71, 12”-$3.78)
    - Set screws ($.29 each)
    - Steel tube ($5.75)
    - Clear tubing ($1.25/ft)



    I got started by making handles for the 1/2” tools. First, I marked the tube with where I wanted to put the set screws. Then I used a center punch to mark the holes.



    To drill the holes I used a small pilot hole and then changed the bit to 13/64”.



    Then I tapped the holes using my 1/4”-20 tap. It’s not perfect but it will work!



    Now it’s time to test fit the handle to the tool. Perfect fit!



    I could have left the aluminum as is but I wanted it to look nice. Using a chuck and a 60 degree live center I mounted the handle in my lathe and polished it up using sand paper. I used 150 grit and then just jumped up to 400 grit because I wasn’t too concerned about a perfect finish. You can see how much nicer the finished handle looks in this picture.





    Not wanting any sharp edges, I used my oscillating belt sander and squared up the tubing. Then I put a 45 degree bevel on each end.



    At this point I could have called it a finished tool handle but it felt a little small in my hand. I thought of options for making the handle bigger. Here are a few options: leather grip for an aluminum softball bat, friction tape for hockey sticks, or clear plastic tubing, etc. Obviously I chose the clear plastic tubing! It was a fairly tight fit but I managed to slide it on as far as I needed. Then I trimmed the excess with a sharp utility knife.



    That’s it for the 1/2” handles. Now on to the 3/8” detail gouge. Using the same aluminum tubing, I just had to make a little sleeve to fit the smaller diameter gouge. Fortunately, the 1/2” steel weldable tube fit the bill perfectly. It fit inside the aluminum handle and the gouge fit inside the steel. I also used 3/8” long set screws for this handle because I wanted them to make good contact with the gouge.

    I marked the locations.



    Then I drilled holes large enough to not cause any interference with the set screws. After I drilled the holes, I cut off the steel tube so it was just long enough to support the tang on the gouge (I just used the mark just to the left of the new holes).



    Now for the hard part: pounding the steel tubing into the aluminum handle! It took some muscle but I finally got it. Then I ran the end on the sander again to make it even.



    Viola! Three finished handles for about $20 and an hour of labor!



    Now I haven’t had a chance to use them but they feel pretty good in my hands. The balance seems good right now but I can always add a little weight with bb's, bird shot or by inserting some ½” steel rod in them.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. George Clark's Avatar
      George Clark -
      Great tutorial, Doug. Thanks for posting. George
    1. Joel Watson's Avatar
      Joel Watson -
      Nice step-by-step. Thanks for sharing cost and how long it took.
    1. John Fabre's Avatar
      John Fabre -
      I really enjoyed that, thanks.
    1. Mike Stephens's Avatar
      Mike Stephens -
      Thanks for posting. Great article.