Non-turned handles

Discussion in 'Brush Making and Restorations' started by mata_66, Jun 5, 2019.

    I've been feeling the itch to make some custom handles for myself. You know, you can just go out and buy whatever shaving brush you like and save money in the process but I believe the inner satisfaction given by using something you have built yourself has no price.

    I can't get access to a lathe, I can't buy one nor all the additional stuff you need for serious wood or resin turning. I don't even have the space to place all the tools. That's why I abandoned the idea very soon.

    Then I see the ceramic Pantarei brushes. And again even Simpson sells some Oakwood hand carved brushes at an insane price.

    End of the story I'm starting to wonder: maybe I can carve something out of a chunk of wood that resembles a shaving handle!

    I have some artistic background but no clues altogether when it comes about wood carving and the essential tools needed. I'm thinking about inlays, patterns, whatever to make a handle, if not good looking, interesting at least.

    I understand I need a drill and some Forstner bits for the hole.

    Now the actual tools:
    A little handsaw to roughly shape the wood? What size/type?

    Would a set like this be overkill (12 SK7 carbon steel chisel set - $80)?

    And what if I'm overthinking? What if instead of a bunch of chisels all I need for such a small project is a nice woodcarving knife and a lot of patience?

    What type of wood would be a nice option for a beginner and still look beautiful (color, grain, etc.)? Any tool I haven't thought about?
    The coating would be a totally new matter but I assume I can get plenty of information reading the many threads on wooden turned handles.
    As the forum is packed full of experts I'm begging for any advice you may give.

    Many thanks!
  1. You can get a decent carving set fairly cheaply. I also recommend a protective glove for holding the piece while you work on it. [​IMG]

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  2. A block plane could be used to shape a block of wood into a handle similar to this but sized for a knot.


    If you're using edge cutting tools you'll need a means of sharpening.

    I wouldn't get a set of anything, i'm sure you'd soon find just about everything is done with one or two and the rest just take up space.

    For doing inlays on a flat surface a Dremel and router base is great.
  3. Yes, I forgot to write about gloves, a pair of cut resistant gloves are mandatory

    Many good suggestions here, thanks @davent ! About the one or two tools, which ones would you choose?
  4. Graydog

    Graydog Contributor

    Someone on this fourm carved some beautiful handles out of cork. I'm not sure who it was but they looked Sharp.
    And if anything else it would be great practice carving. I could be wrong though.
  5. Graydog

    Graydog Contributor

    Alright Chris what's on the lathe ?
    Looks like a small bowl maybe:)
  6. A couple of years ago or perhaps even further back someone posted pictures of a handle that he carved. It looked great, could have passed for one turned on a lathe.
  7. Would you consider using a dremel? Shape the handle, smooth with a rasp & file then get to sanding. It would take a lot of elbow grease but not a lot of money...
  8. Simple non-turned knob from cocobolo. Saw, block plane, hand drill. Also used a drill press and belt sander but not necessary.

    You'll want a vise or some other way to secure the workpiece in order to drill with a big bit.

  9. Cork is a great idea to start practicing with shapes and get a feel with handling the tools. Yes, I've taken in consideration a Dremel but I'll need to find out which bits are needed without having to buy a cheap low quality 280 bits set lol.
    The belt sander starts to be a little too big equipment. I guess I'll have to go the manual way and lots of elbow grease.
    And a bench vice of course!
    What about Japanese handsaws? Are they any good or a classic American style saw is more fit for the job? Any recommendations of size?
  10. You could use nothing more than a few files and sand paper once the basic shape is cut out. The options are vast.
    Pick tools that draw you in. If wiggling it out with just and good quality knife seems interesting to you you're going to want to do it and finish the project if using hand files seems like it would be a massive pain you're probably never going to finish the project, if you pick files. Remember it's a one-of-a-kind piece of art and it doesn't have to be smooth like a wood turned handle.

    I couldn't find the one I was looking for but I've seen wooden cups carved with a similar texture to this that were absolutely beautiful these are actually ceramic
  11. Yes @GAW9576, the more I think of it the more I believe the possibilities are endless. Also, I see thousands of ways to personalize the final product: paint, abalone inlays, brass strips...
  12. Exactly. Just start with some very basic hand carving tools that appeal to you and ad more tools as you find your grove. Watch some YouTube videos about the ones you are considering first and see what they use to compliment the main tools. Draw inspiration from things you see that are pleasing to your eye. If you enjoy the process and make something you want to use others will most likely enjoy them too. Maybe not everyone but plenty.

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