CRW header

Making a Chattertool Handle

by Ken Grunke

Back to CRW Homepage

3D graphic of parts needed

Parts needed:

  • Lagscrew, 3/8 or 7/16 in. dia., anywhere from 2 to 6 in. long
  • Setscrew, 1/4-28
  • A collar with a close fit on the lagscrew. I drilled out a 1/4 in. pipe nipple, and cut it to the length of the shoulder on the lagscrew, which should be about 1 in. long.

Tools needed:

  • A jigsaw (sabersaw) with a metalcutting blade--16-20 tpi
  • Electric hand drill, or drillpress
  • centerpunch
  • A threading tap and drill bit for the setscrew
  • A 1/4 or 17/64 drill bit for the clearance hole in the collar

    The slot for holding the chattertool blade is cut acrosss the points of the lagscrew's head, and as straight as you possibly can right down the center of the screw. It helps to start a guiding cut with a hacksaw and/or a triangular file, then clamp the screw horizontally in a vise for using the sabersaw. I tried a hacksaw to cut the whole slot, it just wasn't wide enough for a 1/16 in. blade.

detail of slot in lagscrew

detail of setscrew hole


Next, drill and tap through the shank of the lagscrew 1/4-28 (10-24 or 12-24 will be fine as well). It should be 1/4 to 5/16 in. from the bottom of the hexhead. Make sure you centerpunch the spot first. Here's a trick for getting right on, or very close to center:
____Lay the screw flat on a surface with the slot horizontal, a flat on the screw's hexhead will be the guide. Place a flat file on the screw's shank, and making sure the file is parallel to the surface, drag it to make just a bit of an impression on the highest spot of the shank, which should be right on center.
If you didn't saw the slot right on center, choose the thicker side to drill and tap the setscrew hole in.

Aside from making a handle, we're almost done. Except for one thing: When tightening the setscrew on the blade, what's to keep the two halves of the screw head from spreading apart?

Well, that's where the collar comes in. It doesn't have to be thick-walled pipe, in fact copper tubing will do if it fits without play on the lagscrew's shank.

But this is the part that rides on the lathe toolrest, so steel would be better.

I used a fairly new 3/8 in. drill bit to enlarge the hole in a 1/4 in. galvanized pipe nipple, held in a vise. Cutting oil is reccommended for this.

The clearance hole for the setscrew isn't critical, just measure, mark, and centerpunch for it so the hole ends up over the setscrew when the collar is up against the head of the lagscrew.
So, you can tighten the setscrew on the blade quite hard, and the collar also keeps the blade from moving side-to-side.

parts ready to assemble

Now, just make yourself a nice handle, with a hole drilled to accept the lag screw. Snug it up tight against the collar, you can grind down the hex points flush with the collar as I did with mine:

If you can't find 1/16 inch carbon steel, try a sabersaw blade--grind off the teeth and bend the end 1/2 inch back from the tip to about 10-15 degrees. I like a round-nosed tip, you can experiment with different shapes.

Examples of chatterwork

CRW Homepage

[ Back to CRW Homepage ]

Design, text and drawings by Ken Grunke © Feb. 2002, using the 3D graphics program form Z--for both Mac or Windows