Many wooden-handled tools that you can buy come covered in a tough, shiny finish. These tools look so perfect and pretty and would look right at home in a glass display case under a spotlight in the Museum of Modern Art. While the shiny handles are pretty and easy to wipe clean, they are slippery and not very comfortable to hold.
One day, I got fed up with the lacquered handles on my chisel handles. I took a piece of coarse sandpaper (80-grit, I think) and removed the shiny finish. I palmed the handle and knew immediately that I had done the right thing. I was able to grip the chisel with more control than ever before, and with less effort.
Later, when I decided to strip the finish off the remaining chisel handles, I decided to try something different. Instead of using sandpaper, I used a spokeshave. The result was a faceted handle that felt better in my hand.
Although I could have left the naturally-oily rosewood handles bare, I chose to add a coat of oil finish.
I also removed the finish from the handles of my spokeshave and finished them in a similar fashion.
With the slick, glossy finishes removed, the tools were much more comfortable to use and looked even better, in my opinion.
4 thoughts on “Shiny Handles Suck”
That’s a great tip, Chris. I’ll have to try it out.
How did you use the spokeshave on the spokeshave handles? Tricky!
Good question. The handles of the Veritas spokeshave screw on with 1/4″-20 threads so they can be removed, then worked on using the body of the spokeshave.
However, this is a tricky procedure without some sort of jig to hold the handles (I was able to hold the chisels by their blades) and I didn’t feel the benefits of a faceted handle were there for spokeshave handles so I just sanded the finish off.
I Agree Chris.Shiny handles suck out load. I use a sheetrock knife blade instead of a spokeshave to scrape the the finish off my handles. Then some BLO and a coat of shellac and I’m a happy woodworker.