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Thread: Stuart Batty Taper Lock Handle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Lakewood, CO
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    Stuart Batty Taper Lock Handle

    A friend of mine was testing a prototype of Stuarts new handle several months ago but I didn't look at it that close. It just so happened that last weekend I was at the Rocky Mountain Woodturning Symposium in Loveland, CO. Stuart had a table set up showing off his new products, so of course I had to stop. This time I looked at his handles closer.

    Stuarts Taper Lock Handle is pretty cool. I have a 1/4" Thompson bowl gouge that has been sitting around for months waiting for me to make a handle for it. As I looked at Stuarts handles and listened to him tell me all the features about it, I started to think if I bought a handle I wouldn't have to make one and could start using my gouge right away. He's a pretty good salesman and a nice guy to boot so I bought a 12" handle for my little 1/4" gouge. I thought I better post some pictures while it's still clean.

    Something else that was a factor for buying the handle is that I have a hard time holding onto wooden handles - a lot of them slip in my hands. Most of my wood handles are wrapped with 3M Utility Wrap that Craft Supplies sells. I generally prefer aluminum type handles because they have a plastic coating or shape to them that is easier to grip. Stuarts handles have a 6-lobe design that is easy to grip and it felt good in my hands. I also think aluminum handles are stiffer than wood, and I don't feel vibrations with aluminum like I do wood handles.

    Stuarts handles are made out of carbon fiber which he says is lighter than wood, stronger than steel, and no vibrations. His handles are like any other aluminum-type handle in that you can use the same handle to switch between different gouges. But his design is faster. What's nice about his is there are no setscrews to loosen and no Allen wrenches to search for. Just grab the gouge and unscrew it and screw in a different one. Hand tighten the gouge into the handle and away you go - it won't come loose and it's fast. If you do want to use two hands to tighten the gouge into the handle, Stuart makes a device that you can screw down to your bench and put the gouge in as you tighten.

    Here's what Stuarts website says (woodturning.org):
    "Our Taper-Lock Handle System is a modular handle system constructed with multi-composite and carbon fiber, making it stronger than steel and lighter than wood. Vibration is virtually eliminated. Because it tightens and loosens by hand, you never need an allen key or wrench for blade changes."

    The handle says quality all the way through. Since the handles are modular, you do have to buy an adapter to fit the diameter of your gouge (my 1/4" gouge is 3/8" diameter), and then buy what he calls a bolster which is the actual part that screws into the handle. The bolster comes with a small pack of 5-minute epoxy (it sets fast so don't play around). Glue the gouge into the adapter, and then glue the adapter into the bolster and it's ready to go. If you ever need to replace the gouge you can heat everything in the oven at 200 degrees to soften the epoxy.

    Stuart makes handles from 6" long to a whopping 48" (that's 4 FEET!). You can unscrew the end cap and add shot if you want more weight. The 12" handle is $60, bolsters are $16.50, and the adapters are $3.50.

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  2. #2
    Pat,

    Those are cool handles. I handled some a SWAT and they were very nice. How much?

    Alan

  3. #3
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    Middle of the Mitten (MI)
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    Alan, you did what I usually do. Scan through a post without reading all of it. The prices of the parts for the handles are in the last paragraph. lol.
    Seven days without turning makes one weak.

  4. #4
    sure is pretty, i have seen Sturat demonstrating several times, i saw his vendor setup in st paul, everything is first class or maybe higher, my mega millions # did not come in again this week, maybe someday

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Fresno, Ca
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    Jimmy Clewes has something similar he's working on with a famous tool maker known to show himself here now and then!
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears combat boots

  6. #6
    Tim,

    Yes I did not look far enough. I took speed reading in college and tend to scan to many documents. That is not to bad of a price for a nice handle.

    Alan

  7. #7
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    Hi Alan. Here's the handle prices, remember you have to buy a bolster and adapter in addition to the handle. The bolster and adapter are epoxied to each blade that you want to use in the handle.

    6" - $50
    9" - $55
    12" - $60
    16" - $70
    20" - $80
    24" - $90
    30" - $100
    36" - $110
    42" - $120
    48" - $130

    Jim, the handle that Jimmy Clewes is working on with Doug Thompson is a quick change wooden handle.

    Stuarts handles might be a few bucks more than other brands but maybe that's because there is more to them (more machining). Is the carbon fiber composite more expensive than aluminum? Is it worth a few bucks more to not have setscrews or to not use a wrench to remove the gouge when sharpening? Is it worth more to be stronger and lighter weight than wood or aluminum? Or to eliminate vibration? I'll find out! I think he's also filled a niche by offering larger sizes. They are definitely nicely made, and just like his new Universal Grinding System (grinding platform), you look at any of his products and you can't help but think quality machining.

  8. #8
    Pat,

    Thanks for the prices. I appreciate it.

    Alan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Georgetown,KY
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    Carbon fiber cannot "eliminate vibration" any more than other handle materials like aluminum. I have dealt with carbon fiber in applications like race cars and sports cars, and the application is most beneficial in reducing weight with good torque and shear strength. The fiber fabric appearance has a "coolness factor" that shouts "high tech," but costs must be calculated against gains just as in any other material selection process.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio area
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    I've been using the Serious quick change tool handle for almost a year now. I've been very satisfied. It literally takes seconds to change and can use most other manufacturers steel. Nothing to epoxy, etc.

    I agree this looks like a handle as well though ...

    Joe

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Long Island NY
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    414
    The 1 thing I really don't like about this handle is. The fact that you can only put the tool into the handle so fare. It is a nice feature in a handle to be able to adjust the amount of steel hanging out.

    Other than that it looks very nice.

    I hope you get a life time of use and enjoyment from it.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Hope you all got a nice stash. Because this was seized at the border today.

  12. #12
    I have always had great results with DT handles. I never liked changing handles but if it's to sharpen the tool an allen wrench and the 15 or 20 seconds don't mean much. You guy's are moving to fast .Slow down and smell the wood.
    I have seen Stuarts handles and they DO look cool but with the light handle all that steel up front has to be way out of balance. Adding shot to the handle is great but you have to have a way to seal it in one place or it's going to roll all over isn't it. I believe but be wrong that the handles are hollow al the way.
    Just thinken.
    Comments and Constructive Criticism Welcome

    Haste in every craft or business brings failures. Herodotus,450 B.C.

  13. #13
    I've been fortunate to have had two of these handles and four different bowl gouge blades to use since the AAW Symposium in Minnesota.

    I've used them extensively since that time and I've found them to be very comfortable, well balanced, and vibration free; and, I've not had to add any weight to mine. When I got them there wasn't the wide range of lengths available that there are now, mine are in the normal range for length, but I can really see the definite advantage of changing the handle for a deeper bowl and having the luxury for increased leverage and control and still use the same gouge!

    I can quickly change from a standard grind to a more obtuse grind for the bottom of a bowl, and being able to easily remove the handle makes it so much more convenient for sharpening, too.

    Personally, I don't like handles that allow the blade to be slid in and out because I've found that harmonics and vibrations are increased and the cut suffers as a result.

    For my 2 cents worth; I really like theses handles and I have an order in for three longer ones.

  14. #14
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    Mike - there is maybe 1" of space for adjusting how far the tool goes into the handle but that's all. Certainly not as much as some tools that are hollow tubes. This is because inside the tool is the stud that the bolster screws into.

    Harry - according to Stuart, having the steel up front (from the bolster, stud, etc) is a good thing. At first it feels out of balance when just holding it in your hand, but when turning the up-front weight is sitting on the tool rest and not being held in your hand. Once the gouge is on the tool rest it feels quite different than in your hand. You can unscrew the cap at the end of the handle and add shot and it won't come out the other end. The bolster that screws into the handle is 3" long, I'm going to guess the stud inside the handle takes up another 1". So my 12" long handle is hollow about 8".

  15. #15
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    Mike, the gouge is glued into an adapter. My Thompson gouge has a small shoulder where the end of the tool is turned down a fraction smaller than the shaft. This shoulder limits how far the gouge can go into the adapter. The adapter is then glued into the bolster which then screws into the handle. The inside of the handle has the threaded stud that the bolster screws into, which you're right does limit the depth compared to handles that are hollow all the way through. I don't know if this limitation is a concern as I like having more steel exposed instead of a shorter tool.

    Harry, Stuart says the steel up front is a good thing. In your hands it might feel front heavy, but on the lathe the weight is now resting on the toolrest. He said this helps with vibration as the tool and toolrest takes a lot of the force and not your hands. It also reduces fatigue as your hands are not trying to hold up a heavy handle. We'll see how well his sales pitch works as today I'll finally get some lathe time and be able to give it a spin. For my little 1/4" bowl gouge with 12" handle, it's not that big or heavy of tool to start with and feels nice in my hands.

    The gouge is glued into the bolster and the bolster is screwed into the handle. The bolster extends into the handle 3". The stud inside the handle I'll guess takes up another 1" of space. So my 12" long handle has 8" of open space for shot. The handle is not hollow all the way through so once you add shot and screw the end cap in place, it's not going anywhere.

    Now if you meant there is nothing to keep the shot from rolling around inside the handle (if you didn't fill it all the way up). Thompson gouges are the same way, and I've read that this is actually better at reducing vibration than if you packed it full.

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