I've got 15 or so older way scrapers that I've cleaned up (straighten/
polish/sharpen) and I'd like to make wood handles for them. Way
scrapers are used to remove metal from machine slides and ways, both
to flatten and to decorate the surface of the machine. New scrapers
are usually carbide-tipped, but these are older and just HSS. The
mechanical connection to the handle is a flat wedge tenon, identical
in shape and scale to those found on hand files. The tenons
proportions are constant, but the size increases with the size of the
scraper; just as with files.
I'd like to ask 2 questions, please:
1) A matching mortise will need to be cut in each handle to accept
the tenon. These mortises will be long and thin, and I'm not looking
forward to cutting 15 of them into the end-grain of the handles. Can
anyone suggest an easier way?
2) A substantial ferrule needs to be put on each handle. I was
thinking of cutting ferrules from 0.125" wall brass tubing and
installing them by heating the brass to 800 F or so, sliding on the
ferrule, and quenching the handle. I would rather not use any pins or
tacks to secure the ferrules, as they always seem to work loose over
time. Is there a better way to install a compressive ferrule onto a
Thank you very much for your time and help!
1. The usual method for files is to drill a hole in the end of the
new handle just big enough to accommodate the tip of the file tang.
Heat the tang to orange heat and force it into the new handle.
When it stops burning the wood, remove it and bang out the
carbon from the handle. Repeat heating & banging until the tang
is seated to your satisfaction.
2. Size the end of the handle so it is just a bit bigger than the
inside of your ferrule. Tapering it a bit will help the installation.
Make a cone shape on one end of the ferrule to ease installation.
Press or pound it on the handle.
If you mess up and make things too sloppy just epoxy it together.
If you ever need to remove the handle/ferrule heat will soften the
Having used these things a lot, I will say that they were typically handled
just like a file. If you want to save some time and money, just buy some
file handles. If you really want to make them, just drill a hole in the end,
The furrel does not have to be shrunk on. Just make it a push fit. As the
tang is forced into the hole, the wood will assume the shape of it and will
expand the handle making the furrel a tight fit.
WoodButcher and CW,
I thank you both very much! Concensus seems to be:
1) Don't cut a matching mortise, just drill a round hole.
(WoodButcher's use of the heated tang to burn-in and seat sounds good,
a nice refinement to the round hole approach.)
2) Don't heat-shrink on the ferrule, a press-fit will do nicely.
Inserting the tang will expand the wood against the ferrule. I plan
to line things up and then use a manual arbor press to seat the
3) In case of error, epoxy is your friend. How true!
This new plan is much better, particularly in terms of abandoning the
idea of using a small chisel to try and cut out angled, deep
I thank you both very much!
I'd agree with what the others have said,
I've never been able to use a scraper with a file handle on it. Maybe
push scrapers, but for triangular scrapers (pulled sideways) I've never
had enough control that way. So my scrapers have longer "chisel style"
handles on them, not short "file handles".
A long, shallow taper reamer or broach should be in every toolbox (I've
a dozen of the things, I'm always using them). They also work well for
enlarging a straight round hole into a tapered round hole, before you
burn the tang in.
If you use hornbeam for handles, the stuff becomes fireproof once
charred. Burning in works, but only for a small depth - unless you
scrape the char off back to fresh timber between burns.
I make my ferrules from copper waterpipe, because I'm a cheapskate. I
mark three small divots around them and centre-punch them in with a
blunt punch. If I want a "rough tool" for on-site abuse, then I make a
shallow recess in the timber first with a hand-held countersink. The
grip of the divot isn't as tight, but it's going to work loose in the
future, not work right off.
Baking your handles out to be really dry before fitting the ferrules
gives a better grip. I leave mine on the fireplace hearth for a couple
of days first.
If you ever use epoxy, chances are that you ought to fill it with some
sort of filler, not just use it bare. You get a much more robust result.
Chisel and epoxy. Just worry about cutting the part you'll see dead-
accurate. You could also laminate the handles knife-style, taking
care to orient grain between slabs the same way so shrinkage doesn't
It may not work for your scrapers, but I have made file handles by
drilling a hole into the endgrain of a dowell, somewhat smaller than
tang of the file, then using the file tang itself to ream the hole.
Grind the edges of the tang to sharpen them if necessary before reaming.
Stop reaming when about 1/3 or so of the tang is still exposed then
tap the handle on. (sometimes the handle-to-be breakes at this point)
On some of these handles i made a ferrule from a piece of copper pipe or
by drilling a hole through a copper pipe cap.
Often wrong, never in doubt.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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