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Best type of wood for making tool handles

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denmen

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Can anyone tell me which type of wood to use to make tool handles for saws and hammers pls
 

Mike Jordan

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For hammer and chisel handles I raid a friends firewood pile for a few pieces of English ash. These are kept in my very warm workshop roof space to dry out ready for use. For saw handles I would tend to favour ( in addition to the ones already suggested) teak,Iroko or any of the mahoganies. I'm not sure that making your own hammer handles is worthwhile in economic terms, the ready made items are fairly cheap to buy. Hickory is good but very hard to work.
 

marcros

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Apple is traditional for saws. Now, I am not sure if this is because it was plentiful back in the day, or because it was particularly suitable for the job.
 

thetyreman

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for hammers I prefer more open grained hardwoods like oak and ash, and for saw handles tighter grain woods like sycamore, rosewood, beech, cherry, pear.
 

rafezetter

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MikeG.":3dh4u4ir said:
I tend to use bog oak for saw handles.... :lol: :wink:
how is it for chisel handles?

Been meaning to rehandle a load of 2nd hand chisels - would be nice to have a matching set - where would I get bog oak nowadays, know anyone?
 

MikeG.

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rafezetter":1onhe3cl said:
MikeG.":1onhe3cl said:
I tend to use bog oak for saw handles.... :lol: :wink:
how is it for chisel handles?

Been meaning to rehandle a load of 2nd hand chisels - would be nice to have a matching set - where would I get bog oak nowadays, know anyone?
I've no idea how it would work for a chisel. If you want a piece to experiment with, drop me a PM.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Something I learned from bitter experience is that it's better to use air-dried timber for hammer handles. I once re-handled a heavy lump hammer with a piece from near the end of a kilned ash board. It splintered in service after only a couple of months.

Since then, I've rehandled quite a few hammers using bought-in hickory handles. Never had a problem since with any of them. As someone said further up the thread, the commercial ones are not that pricey - it's hardly worth the time to shape your own from stock, unless you need something very unusual.
 

ED65

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denmen":4q2krvm6 said:
Can anyone tell me which type of wood to use to make tool handles for saws and hammers pls
For saw handles the answer is probably: anything hard enough. Apple was as mentioned a favourite for saw handles but it was by no means universal and nothing more esoteric than beech has been a popular choice for many many years. Some posh saws use highly figured pieces of maple. Despite them being very different kinds of wood, not close-grained like the above three species, both walnut and mahogany have also been used in the past (by Disston and S&J respectively).

For hammer handles the traditional answer is: something with natural spring and shock-absorbent properties, which generally meant ash over here and hickory on the other side of the pond. But in Japan for example oak is one of the favourites, and that's not known for having either of these desirable properties. So what gives?

Historical research, discussion and experimentation among axe enthusiasts has show than the springiness and shock-absorbency of the species are not the be all and get all, and clearly an axe haft could do with having these properties at least as much as a hammer handle.

So for hammers maybe the answer is nearly the same. The flow of grain through the handle and its shaping are probably more important than the species chosen. Ash, birch, oak, would all be perfectly reasonable choices if the piece is right.
 

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