I needed a handle for my shed door and so decided to just make one from a hazel branch I had lying around and a couple of pieces of Sapele. It was pretty easy and quite satisfying to get it up on the door.
Step 1: Tools and Materials Used
- Pencil and rule
- Mallet and chisel
- Carving knife
- Brace with 10mm bit.
- Hand drill with 3mm bit
- Tenon Saw
- Pin hammer/small hammer
- Brush to apply varnish
- A branch (I used hazel)
- Wood glue
- Small blocks of wood to use as spacers (I used Sapele)
- 2 screws to attach the handle to the door
- Hardwearing varnish or wood treatment
Step 2: Stripping and Smoothing the Branch
I had an old hazel branch lying around but really you could use a multitude of woods. The process was fairly simple, I clamped the branch into my vice and smoothed it with a spokeshave, changing direction and skewing the angle as needed. Over the knot and particularly difficult spots I used a sharp chisel and carving knife.
Step 3: Sizing Up the Handle and Drilling Holes.
After smoothing the area of the branch I wanted to make into a handle I took it up to the door to measure up where I wanted it to be placed and where my hand would go. With this information I could mark up the screw holes and where I wanted to cut the handle from the rest of the branch.
I knew I wanted to put dowels over the top of the screws to hide them when I attached the handle. Because of this I decided to drill a short distance into the handle with a 10mm bit before moving onto a 3mm bit to drill the rest of the way through.
Step 4: Making the Spacers
Not wanting to hit my hand against the door when holding the handle made me want to make some decent sized spacers. I held the handle up to the door where I thought it would be most comfortable and then used a steel rule to measure the length of the top spacer. I then cut it out from a block of Sapele after drilling the hole. Its easier to drill a hole into a larger piece than a small piece.
Step 5: Attaching the Handle to the Door
Once the top spacer was made to the right size I chiselled into the handle where the spacer would sit ever so slightly just to give it more grip and have it sit more snugly to the handle. I screwed the top part of the handle into the door and then measured up the second spacer, cut it out and then screwed it in.
Step 6: Making and Inserting the Dowels
With the handle attached to the door I could then make the dowels or plugs to hide the screws. Knowing the holes were 10mm wide, which is a rather large size for a dowel, I decided to just whittle some small pieces of Sapele down to the right size. I clamped another piece of wood to my bench and used it as a kind of stop for the Sapele to sit against while I pared it down with a chisel.
After checking a few times to get the right fit I smoothed the ends over a little with a file and then glued the plugs in place and gave them a few taps with a pin hammer.
Step 7: Finishing the Handle
With the handle firmly on the door and the plugs in place I was free to finish it. I used a brush and some hardwearing exterior varnish to finish it.
Thanks a lot for checking out this Instructable, I had a lot of fun making it and I'm glad I can finally shut my shed door easily!
If you have any questions or comments then please feel free to post them below.