Currently viable crafts


Handle making


The hand-turning of wooden handles for tools on a lathe. See the separate entries for pole lathe turning and wood turning.


Status Currently viable
Craft category  Wood
Historic area of significance  UK
Area currently practised  UK
Origin in the UK
Minimum no. of craftspeople required
Current no. of trainees
Current no. of skilled craftspeople
Current total no. of craftspeople






Local forms




Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Market issues: Tool handles have not been made by hand in any volume since the 1920s/1930s – firstly due to mechanisation, then to the introduction of plastic handles, and then the remaining hand turned wooden handles were affected by foreign competition.
  • Foreign competition: Competition from cheap foreign imports
  • Training issues/recruitment issues: Lack of woodworking, metalworking and exposure to craft skills in schools


Support organisations


Craftspeople currently known

  • Richard Carter Ltd. – based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Also manufacture spades and shovels, and edge and other tools. Twenty people working in the factory.
  • Woodware Repetitions Ltd. – based in Sheffield, Yorkshire.
  • Bulldog Tools – based in Wigan. While the tool heads are forged in India, the tool handles are made in the UK.

The British Wood Turners Association maintains a list of members, which outlines what area of wood turning each craftsperson/company specialises in.


Other information