Hunter Tool Handles and Ferrules

Just like candy, ice cream, and coffee, the woodturning tool handle selection is very broad and wide. There is a variety of manufactured handles available. In addition, there is also a variety of tool retention mechanisms that can be adapted into a turned wood handle.


Handle lengths can run all over the board. We have made handles for specific small tools about 7” long up to 24” long by special request. The general rule of thumb for handle length is dependent on the tool overhang from the tool rest. For spindle turning, the recommended ratio is 5 to 1. For bowls, the ratio is about 5 – 7 to 1. For following, it is recommended to be about 7 to 1. For example:

  • 1″ over rest recommends a 5/7” handle length
  • 2″ over rest recommends a 10/14″ handle length
  • 3″ over rest recommends a 15/21″ handle length

Keep the pattern going for longer tool overhang to rest lengths.

For myself, Mike Hunter, my preference is a wood handle. This option allows me to make tools from different straight grain woods and turn the handle diameter to fit my hand size. Turning handles from different species of wood also makes for easy identification of the tool by just a quick glance. On some handles, they are turned out of round so when they are being used for blind hollowing, it is easy to determine where the cutting tip is in relationship to the wood. For handle length, the following is a general guideline:

  • 3/8” shank tools are generally about 12” long with 1.5” tang in the handle
  • 1/2” round shank tools are generally about 15” long with 2” tang in the handle
  • 5/8” shank tools are generally about 16” to 17” long with 2” – 3” tang in the handle
  • Long overhang tools such as deep hollowing may be about 24” long

Making Your Own Handle

While we use epoxy to glue in all handles, there are many ways to make a handle. This YouTube video is by Jeff who turns the wood handles for Hunter Tool. It is only one method, but it’s a method that has worked for us for many years. The process can easily be adapted to your specific needs. View some of our woodturning projects on our YouTube channel.


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