Short Quick Release Tool Handle

Photo: Short Quick Release Tool Handle 1

Short Quick Release Tool Handle

I recently made a shorter 10" version of the 16" long 5/8" Quick Release Tool Handle made by Jimmy Clewes. I made the one with the red stripes in above photo. I like it.

I really like Jimmy's 16" handle. The black one in above photo. However, there are times when the 16" long handle is to long. The long handle gets in the way. I use the shorter 10" handle on my Al Stirt style shear scrappers.

The 16" long Clewes handle is roughly 17-1/4" long overall with the QR part installed. The wooden part of the handle is 15-3/4" long.

My 10" long QR handle is roughly 11-1/2" long overall with the QR part installed. The wooden part of the handle is 10" long.

QR = Quick Release in the rest of this blog entry.

Photo: 16 16″ Long Clewes Handle

I really like the 16" long 5/8" QR Tool Handle made by Jimmy Clewes. It has become my go to handle. I like the shape, the length and the diameter of the handle. I also really love the quick release. For more info see my "Carl’s Travel Tool Set" blog entry.

Thus I decided to make a shorter version of this handle.

Make Your Own

Here is how I made my 10" long 5/8" QR handle.

Updated: 9/8/2021. If you don’t want to make your own, you could purchase a 16″ long Clewes handle and cut 6″ off of the end. This would create a 10″ long handle. The shape would probably be a little to fat for your hand. You can live with it or turn the handle down a little before installing the 5/8″ QR unit.

Photo: Blank for Handle (short_qr_handle_02) Blank for Handle

I like the the shape and feel of the 16" Clewes handle. It is roughly 1-3/4" outside diameter at the widest points. I like this diameter. You need to start with a 2" square blank to end up with a 1-3/4" diameter handle.

2" x 2" x 10-1/2" blanks of good straight grained hard wood are not easy to come by and they are not cheap.

Thus, I decided to just make my handle out of an existing handle that I had laying around. The brown handle in the photo. It is the 14" long beech wood handle that use to come on Crown or Hamlet brand tools. I like the handle shape. I am just going to reuse it.

The tan color handle in the photo is the 10" long overall ash wood handle that comes on the smaller Packard brand tools. I like this handle. I really just wanted to make a shorter version of this handle. But, I can't use this one because front end is to small. It is only 7/8" OD. No good. Because, I need to drill a 7/8" ID hole for a 5/8" Clewes QR Unit. You can see the gold colored QR unit in the photo. There is no way it is going into the Packard handle.

All of my tools have 5/8" OD tool shafts. They have a 5/8" OD shank or have a 5/8" OD bushing installed. Thus I decided to go with a 5/8" (rather than 1/4" or 1/2") Quick Release Unit from Jimmy Clewes.

Note: If you don't have a spare handles laying around. Then, you can start with a raw 2" x 2" x 10-1/2" hard wood blank. I would use Ash or Maple wood. Turn it down to a handle shape. Then proceed to the next step.

Photo: Shorten the Handle Blank (short_qr_handle_03) Shorten the Handle Blank

I started by shortening the handle blank to 10" long. You can see in the photo that I mounted the handle in my 3 jaw metal lathe chuck on my wood lathe. Then, I used a parting tool to part it off at 10".

Note: If you don't have a 3 jaw metal lathe chuck then you can use a wood lathe chuck with Spigot Jaws or what ever you have.

Photo: Mark Center (short_qr_handle_04) Mark Center

After parting off I needed to mark center. I need to drill a 7/8" diameter hole for the QR unit in the photo.

I hate doing this! Things never really come out dead on center. I used the center marking jig in the photo. When you use one of these jigs you have to make lots of lines then take the average in the center.

I always ice pick my centers to make things easier to mount on the lathe.

Photo: Ready To Drill (short_qr_handle_05) Ready To Drill

This photo shows the blank ready to be drilled with a 7/8" diameter frostner bit mounted in the headstock. I used my 3 jaw metal chuck to mount the drill in the headstock.

I like to drill things on the lathe with the drill firmly mounted in the headstock. Push the STATIONERY blank into the SPINNING drill with the tailstock handwheel. This creates a lot less headaches for me. The no swearing method. I have found that holding the blank still with my hand is a lot easier than trying to spin the blank in the headstock with out screwing up one, or both ends of the blank.

Note: If you don't have a 3 jaw metal lathe chuck then you can use a morse tapper drill chuck (Jacobs chuck) mounted in the headstock.

Photo: 7/8 7/8″ Frostner Bit Ready to Drill

A good photo of the 7/8" frostner bit ready to drill.

Note: If you don't have a frostner bit. Then you can use a 7/8" diameter flat spade bit. Or what ever. I have found the frostner bit works best. It drills nice straight holes.

Photo: Test Fit 5/8 Test Fit 5/8″ QR Unit

This photo shows the 5/8" Clewes QR Unit test fit in the hole. A little off center, but good enough for government work.

Photo: Cut Tenon for Ferrule (short_qr_handle_08) Cut Tenon for Ferrule

The Clewes QR Units come with a really nice 1/4" wide ferrule.

The ferrule reinforces the wood. Prevents spitting. Most wood handles come with a wider ferrule. 3/4" wide or wider. You really don't need that much. 1/4" wide is enough!

I mounted the handle on the lathe. Then cut a tenon that matches the ferrule that came with the Clewes QR Unit.

I cheated and just used the frostner bit in the headstock. I drove the blank onto the frostner bit with the tailstock. The bit is jammed into the wood and does not spin.

Using the frostner bit to drive the work while turning did not work out well in the long run. Things came out a little off center. Thus, if I had to do this again, I would probably mount a 1" dowel in the headstock and then turn it down to 7/8" diameter. Then jam my handle with 7/8" diameter hole over the 7/8" dowel.

Beware! Using a frostner bit like this is a good way to kill one. If the wood spins on the bit it will burn the bit.

Photo: Checking the Tenon for Ferrule (short_qr_handle_09) Checking the Tenon for Ferrule

I used a set of calipers to check the diameter of the tenon for the ferrule.

Any set of calipers will do. You do NOT need the fancy ones in the photo.

Photo: Finish Handle Shape (short_qr_handle_10) Finish Handle Shape

I temporarily put the ferrule in place. Then I turned the handle shape down to meet the ferrule. See photo.

I stained the exposed wood a nice brown color after sanding. See next photo.

Photo: Ready to Glue In QR Unit (short_qr_handle_11) Ready to Glue In QR Unit

I glued the QR Unit in place. I followed the instructions Jimmy ships with the QR Unit. Rough up the inside of the hole. Protect the parts you don't want glue on with masking tape. Glue the ferrule in place, then glue the QR Unit in place. I used good West System 5 minute epoxy.

Photo: Ready to Go (short_qr_handle_12) Ready to Go

My new 10" long 5/8" Quick Release Tool Handle with a Al Stirt style shear scrapper installed in the handle.

Note: In the photo. The scrapper tool in installed in the QR handle is shorter because the tool has been used and sharpened more than the one in the Packard handle.