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Handle making

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
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK






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, Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Also manufacture spades and shovels, and edge and other tools. Twenty people working in the factory.
  • Woodware Repetitions Ltd, Sheffield, Yorkshire. Tim Hinchliffe has recently purchased the business from Colin Barnsley.
  • Bulldog Tools, 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