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How the Fork can I do this?

A strange Xmas present request...

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Iain Downs20/11/2020 17:20:09
770 forum posts
696 photos

My Sister emailed me recently and asked if I would make a handle for her garden fork. I said I'd have a look and she organised her friend to (socially distantly) drop it in my front yard.

I, of course, had in my mind a hand tool like a trowel and what's turned up is a particularly large 20cm x 60cm garden fork!

I'd thought that I could scrabble something together on my lathe, maybe 10 inches long or so.

However, my lathe does not have the capacity to process something 40mm across and perhaps 600mm long.

Apart from the obvious answers (buy one from Amazon, for example), does anyone have any ideas about how I could approach it?

I expect that making one would be more expensive and take (Much much much) longer than buying one, but it IS the thought that counts.

The fork end is about 40mm in external diameter and 36mm internal diameter with a mild taper towards the fork proper.

I sized a piece of solid ally (assuming I could find a way of turning it down) and this came to about 2KG in weight which I suspect is just too heavy for a handle. Tube would be better, but there is less scope for carving bits out. Just hat the thought that I could get a tube to match the OD and make an insert to fit the inside of the fork.. Hmm. more like this,please!

I have a mig welder and an argon bottle,but never attempted aluminum.

Be kind! And clever...


gary20/11/2020 17:32:24
132 forum posts
31 photos

nip over to b&q for a brush handle or similar ?

Steviegtr20/11/2020 17:48:10
2150 forum posts
303 photos

Not sure of what you could use but make sure it is a bit wonky. Reason, if you make a good job she will tell all her friends & you will have dozens to do. .


old mart20/11/2020 17:48:59
3201 forum posts
201 photos

A picture would be useful if possible.

Oldiron20/11/2020 17:49:22
810 forum posts
23 photos

Not really an item that lends itself to metal. Garden centres are still open. Nip over to your local one and get a new handle. Or order one online. Do not forget your mask


The Novice Engineer20/11/2020 17:53:34
80 forum posts
59 photos

In homage to Ronnie Barker

Give her a box of Candles [4] for Christmas smiley


Alternatively do what I did ... Buy a new handle Amazon have a good selection , I liked this one




Faithfull Ash Yd Handle Straight Taper 28IN

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 20/11/2020 17:55:32

Martin Kyte20/11/2020 18:11:54
2465 forum posts
40 photos

If you must do it at home how about a fabrication in three sections loctited together.

regards Martin

Personally I'd buy one or use a drawknife if I was making one from wood.

Bazyle20/11/2020 18:15:42
5928 forum posts
220 photos

We get a lotof these offered to the men's shed. The cost of a new handle is more than the cost of a brand new stainless fork when Lidl have them.

Iain Downs20/11/2020 18:21:50
770 forum posts
696 photos


It's quite big.

All of your comments about the sensibility of make a handle for this thing are entirely well taken.

However, if we only did things that were sensible, not one of us would follow this ever challenging hobby!

Actually, I quite fancy having a go at this, if I can. Not because it's a sensible present (which it really isn't), but I may learn a bit about ally welding (or work-arounds) and my little sister's (entirely false) view that I'm quite clever will be reinforced!



Edited By Iain Downs on 20/11/2020 18:22:10

Derek Lane20/11/2020 18:57:34
467 forum posts
92 photos

To be honest a Ash handle like above would be a better proposition as Ash is a good choice for handles as it has some flexibility and also good at taking some of the shock involved when spearing the ground, it is also not cold to the touch and makes it a lot more comfortable to use.

old mart20/11/2020 20:36:32
3201 forum posts
201 photos

It looks like an ordinary garden fork to me, whatever did you expect. Iv'e replaced a few handles in my time, usually replacing the rivet with a nut and bolt. You usually have to whittle down the new ash handle to fit the fork. The Spear & Jackson fork and spade in my shed are stainless and the handles are either plastic or plastic coated metal.

Why not treat her to a new fork for Christmas, they also do a smaller size.

Edited By old mart on 20/11/2020 20:38:33

pgk pgk20/11/2020 20:42:37
2199 forum posts
290 photos

A spoke shave and some time to season?
A shame you're so far from mid wales. I stuck these ash pieces in a dry barn some months ago and there's plenty of timber about. I've got a whole heap of large bough hazel to cut down soon, some seasoned birch around and an assortment of corded logs in the firewood barn too.


Jeff Dayman20/11/2020 22:11:30
2149 forum posts
45 photos

I think I would go to a farm supply, get the best but affordable model of finished shovel or fork you can find, take off the working end, whittle and sand to suit the candidate fork, fit, fasten on, done. Just my $0.02 worth.

Metal tube or solid metal handles on implements like shovels and forks are miserable to use in cold weather and unpleasant in hot weather. I've used lots doing odd jobs on farms when I was a kid, with metal handles bodged up by farmers as "improvements" over hickory or ash handles. Awful. I recommend wood for these.

Edited By Jeff Dayman on 20/11/2020 22:15:26

Nicholas Farr20/11/2020 22:26:55
2878 forum posts
1295 photos

Hi, have to agree, wooden handle far superior and if done properly will be a snug fit in the fork socket. I have seen spades fitted with steel tubes and a plastic top grip, and very often they get bent just above the socket, not at all comfortable to use.

Regards Nick.

Bill Phinn20/11/2020 22:49:51
534 forum posts
82 photos

Iain, if you can't or don't want to buy an off-the-peg bed extension [we are talking about a woodturning lathe, presumably], can you rig up a live centre using some kind of improvised jig [involving a bench vice, perhaps] at the required distance from the tail end of the bed? It wouldn't have to be very accurate.

larry phelan 121/11/2020 10:39:14
1053 forum posts
14 photos

Dont waste your time, just buy a new handle and fit it.

You dont even have to shape them these days, not like years ago.

Speedy Builder521/11/2020 11:45:09
2336 forum posts
178 photos

Why round. My wife broke her Spear and Jackson fork by trying to dig out a tree root !! Spear and Jackson to their credit replaced it free of charge and sent it all the way over here to France - Good British service.

I couldn't bear to throw away the broken fork and made a new ash handle, just left the section square and rounded where needed with a spoke shave. I love "MY" fork and prefer it to round handled forks.

fork handle.jpg

Edited By Speedy Builder5 on 21/11/2020 11:46:39

Bryan Cedar 121/11/2020 11:54:35
70 forum posts
4 photos

Just make sure if you attempt to buy one you do not end up with " Four candles" !!!!

Iain Downs22/11/2020 16:22:20
770 forum posts
696 photos

Having taken all the advice on board, I think I will attempt to buy a new wooden handle!

Many thanks all.



Edited By Iain Downs on 22/11/2020 16:22:31

Bryan Cedar 122/11/2020 17:32:11
70 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by Iain Downs on 22/11/2020 16:22:20:

Having taken all the advice on board, I think I will attempt to buy a new wooden handle!

Many thanks all.


Edited By Iain Downs on 22/11/2020 16:22:31

Do not forget the two Ronnies sketch and ask for Fork Handles and end up with Four candles !

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