Tom..... what are you doing Tom?? Perfect handles, indeed! I'm going
to go after hand cranked grinders now, haaaaarumph.
Kidding, kidding There's room for many and more. But.. if you find
one less than 3" long.....................
OK, I just use soft steel rod. Any auto parts or many hardware
stores. Look right next to the allthread rack. While you're there might
as well get some brass brazing rod. Some of the woods look really cool
with the brass rivets instead of steel. You can also use knifemakers 2
piece rivets. I get mine from Atlantacutlery(.com). They aren't really
the best for screwdrivers though since they are really made for a flat
handles and screwdriver handles ain't. You have to counterbore them in
to sit flush at the least.
You're right that they aren't headed over like most rivets. You want
to slightly taper ream the holes. If you countersink you'll have to pein
forever to fill it and a slight taper works plenty good. I have an old
drill bit I tapered by hand just for this job. Only took a minute.
I know it's old news, but here's a copy of my old handle fitting post
in case you or anyone wants to see it and can't find it in the archives.
Perfect Handle almost Perfect
I received some favorable comments on my perfect handle scratchawl
and thought I'd share how the handle slab "inlays" were made. After
all, it is not very hard to find good screwdrivers or wrenches with
damaged handles. And they're great tools to use when in good shape.
It's pretty easy to fit those oval, curving inlayed scales (knife
maker's term), believe it or not.
All of the smaller sizes were made to take 1/4" stock. The larger
(over 8" or so) take 3/8" stock. Pick an adequate supply of your
The first thing you do is lay your frame down on the stock and
trace around it giving you a rough outline. Do this twice of course,
once for each scale. Next, saw the blanks out making sure not to get
anywhere near the layout lines you just made. You want some slop all
Now you should have 2 oversize blanks. Here comes the first "trick".
Lay your blanks on each side of the frame where they'll go. Pick the
sandwich up and place the whole magilla in-between the jaws of a heavy
bench vice. You will probably have to wiggle a bit under very light
tension to make sure everything lines up. You want a bit of overhang
all around. When you're satisfied, turn the crank. And again. Really
reel on it. Heave. Smash the wood into the frame.
If you've chosen a very hard wood it probably won't seat all the way
down in the frame no matter how hard you pull. In this case, before
you release the tension, mark the frame and handles so you can put
them back on the same side. They are not always identical. Remove the
tool from the vice. No matter how hard the wood, the frame shape will
have dented it bigtime from the pressing. Rasp the scales closer to
this dent, but not all the way to it. Now replace it in the vice and
press again. This time they should seat all the way down.
Here comes trick 2.
There are 2 rivet holes in your frame from where the handles were
attached in the first place. Remove one of your new scales. Pick a
drill bit the same size as the rivets you will use that still will
pass through the frame holes. I use brass brazing rod from the auto
parts or welder's supply. It comes in several sizes and its dirt
With one handle removed, drill down through the frame holes through
one handle. Replace the second scale and drill back through the hole
you just made through the second one.
Now everything will line up just dandy.
I usually scrape the old frame clean where the handles live and place
a dollop of 5 minute epoxy on each side. For your first one you might
want to go with slower setting glue. Reassemble (pay attention to your
The old rule for rivets is twice the diameter sticking out of the
work. You can get by with less for this, maybe 1/16 inch on each side.
I just push the rod through and cut off what I need with a hacksaw.
Lay it on your anvil or other unyielding surface and peen. In case you
never did this part before, here's how it goes.
If you just pound straight down on the rivets they'll eventually bend
and ruin your work. What you want to do is hit the top, outside edges
of the rivets alternating around the diameter. After several blows
turn over and do the other side. Keep switching sides until the rivets
draw all the way down with the handles pressed tight to the frame and
glue squeezing out.
Now you can rasp, file, scrape, sand to hand fitting oval
All this seemed long to write and probably long to read too, but
really, once you have done one or two it's pretty fast.
For my regular screwdriver set (7 sizes) I used hard maple and black
walnut on every-other size. Looks pretty nice hanging up on the rack.
I don't think I originally paid over 50 cents for any of them.
Box 409 Happy Camp, Ca 96039