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Turning Tool Handles On The Lathe

By: Chris Fitch
Using a simple offset turning technique, Chris Fitch shows how he turns oblong tool handles. This technique involves resetting the center points part way through turning, and creates ergonomic, comfortable handles.

Make a complete set of heirloom screwdrivers with this FREE, downloadable step-by-step lathe article from

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After buying a lathe, the first thing I did was practice by turning a set of round handles for files and rasps. Since then, I’ve learned a technique for turningoval handles. It sounds impossible, but it’s really quite easy.

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It’s called “off-center” turning. Instead of one centerpoint on the end of the turning blank, there are three turning points. And the end result is a handle that’s quite comfortable to hold.

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When I saw a set of screwdriver shanks from an online woodworking retailer, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to put this turning technique to practical use. I turned three sizes of handles to fit the shanks and used sections of brass pipe to create the ferrules.

With a little practice, you’ll soon discover that it’s not hard to “turn” out a complete set of handles. Aside from their practical use, their heirloom quality means they’ll last for generations.

Published: May 27, 2021
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