Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 5
July 2007
Custom-Made Saw Handles
Rosewood handle
The author created this custom-made handle out of rosewood.

Owning a saw with a shapely handle is a delight to the hand and the eye, but all too many saws have rather clunky, machine-made handles that are more likely to give you blisters than pride of ownership. Not to worry—one woodworker plus a little know-how equals a handsome, new, custom-made handle.

The first thing to do is choose a handle pattern. Simply tracing a favorite existing handle is the easiest option. Alternatively, you can search for patterns on the Internet, or you can select the more flexible option of taking a photograph of a handle you admire and enlarging it to scale. There are literally dozens of designs to choose from. That's what I did for this atypical design—traced the outline and transferred it to plain paper.

My advice is to create a template first, rather than gluing the pattern straight to your chosen handle wood, just in case you have to start over. If you have the correct sizes of forstner bits, using them will make dealing with the inside curves effortless, leaving the remainder to be sawn out. A scroll saw gives the neatest finish and results in minimal clean up. However, I have used a bandsaw, bowsaw and even a coping saw.


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