I would really appreciate it if you could send some pictures of the handle from your toolbox. I made a drawing from the video for a drawing asignment and my tutor has never seen anything like it before, so he found it difficult to mark the project. He asked if you could please send a couple of pictures of the finished article, and if possible construction photos so he has a better idea of what the finished result will look like.
Many thanks for the videos. I’m really enjoying the plane construction.
Making My Handles
Some years ago I grew tired of round handles and drawer pulls and knobs. Mass-made, they seem inexpensive, yet the cost is at the expense of something we might not at first count the cost of. Why would I spend all the time I do, often weeks, on a nice chest or cabinet and then down grade the quality by buying none-work from a machine. Yes, there is a place for manufactured hardware, but in some cases it’s worth expending a much more effort to create handles that parallel the quality of the main item.
Several of you asked for more detail on making the handles to my tool chest and I did take the sequence of shots I needed to teach others to make them a couple of years ago. You can adapt what I am giving here to develop your own types of handles large or small. Though they are pretty permanent, they can be changed to another style later if you change your mind. I show a through dovetail that shows the edge of the dovetail on the front edge, beneath the top beaded piece, but this can also be a half lap so you don’t see this. It’s a quick adjustment and takes little extra effort.
Start with your wood of choice. the image above shows a sapele handle, but I have used every type of wood through the years. I liked the idea of wedging the tenon through from the back and even flaring the sides of the mortise so that the tails become wedge-dovetailed. that works to really make it impossible for the pull to ever turn lose of its mortise. that said, you can also dispense with the tenon and dovetail and simply screw the handle to the drawer if you prefer. Also, I have made large handles for the side of a chest and made the same style with two tenons through.
You need 1 piece of wood 13mm1(/2”) by 13mm (1/2”) by 50mm (2”) long for the stem that will become the tenon passing through the drawer front. I left my section longer than needed to give me something to hold onto and cut it to length later. The second piece starts at 13mm (1/2”) by 5/8” (16mm) by 50mm (2”) long for the inner section. The two beaded sections top and bottom are 1/8” by 3/4” (or slightly more) by 57mm (2 1/4”) long.
Measure from the front edge a distance of 3mm (1/8”) and draw a mark on the wide face (16mm). This gives the start point for the radiused front face of the inner section. I used a tin can and this is quickest and simplest – a plate or saucer will work too. Draw the radius onto the blank. You may want to mark both sides but this is not really necessary. Once cut to length you are ready for shaping.
Use a 1” bevel-edged chisel bevel up to shape the front radius. Follow closely to the line and this will reduce further refinement with the file. It’s also important to develop fine motor movement and hand skill too.
Saw down the gauge line on the waste side (the part you will remove) of the line. Or, if the wood is straight-grained, split off the waste with a chisel.
You are now ready to cut the angled dovetail to each side of the half lap.
Measure in from each side 2mm at the shoulder line as shown. This is not a critical size and could be 3mm. It will never be seen. Where the mark intersects the shoulder line, draw a line to the outside corner as shown.
Chisel into the cut from the corner, making certain to keep the chisel square to the work. Make the cut straight, registering the face of the chisel as closely as possible to the line. repeat to the opposite side.
With the stem completed you now have the template around which to transfer the dovetailed shape onto the corresponding piece. Use a sharp pointed knife to trace the dovetails onto the inner section. Use the shoulder to register against and make certain it stays hard and tight against the piece. Angling the knife slightly will make certain of a tight fit, but not too much. Continue these lines half way down on the face but use a pencil.
Chisel into the dovetailed shape to create the step down for the saw cuts.
To shape the beaded top and bottom sections, clamp one piece against the assembly in the vise with the back edges flush. Use a scrap of wood 3mm thick (1/8”) as a scribe piece. With a sharp pencil, trace a parallel line onto the beaded piece.
Use sandpaper to round over the edges to form the bead on each bead piece. I find it best to put sandpaper on a hard, flat surface and pull the piece to the sandpaper in an arcing motion. On the arc of the front edge I just use my fingers to press the paper along the arc.
To fit the handle
Find the centerline and measure 6.5mm (1/4”) to one side, or half the width of the stem and mark with a pencil. place the stem against this line and ark the second guide line position. This will guide your gauge lines shortly.
Use a knife to cut through the surface fibres and establish your knifewall lines. Again, do the same to the inside of the drawer. Remove the waste wood with a 12-13mm chisel. work from both sides toward the centre.
I like to create a slightly wider inner wall cut at an angle so that the wedges flair the sides of the stem piece. This is not absolutely necessary as the compression of the fibres caused by wedging creates a good tight and even dovetailed effect anyway.
Check for fit and seating and trim as necessary.
Mark and cut the stem to length and then cut saw kerfs to each side of the stem, ensuring that the orientation is as shown. Wedging the other way can split the drawer front.
Cut wedges from a blank. This can be any wood of choice.