Tool Repairs

Much of my re-handling work is on family heirloom tools, sometimes owned by 3 generations, or tools that craftsmen rely upon for their work, and can't easily replace. If you have a cherished tool that is showing signs of wear and tear you may want to consider having it reconditioned.

Typical re-handling charges:

This is to supply and fit handles of mostly ash, hickory or beech, as appropriate to use.
To see the type of handles used please use the links within the list below.

Spades, forks etc. 28" metal yoke YD:    £30
Spades, forks etc. 28" shaped crutch T grip:    £34
Spades, forks etc. 24" wooden yoke YD:    £36
Spades, forks etc. traditional SOLID ASH D handle handmade from local timber, to order:    £49

Please note:- The lengths above are grip to handle tip. What can be fitted, and final tool length, depends on the tool's head design, and its straps or socket.

Hand trowels, hand forks, small tools:    £15
Hay forks, pitch forks, cromes/drags, long tools:    £29
Rakes, hoes, spuds, weeders up to ~54":    £20
Slashers, staff hooks, bank scythes, etc.:    £29
Billhooks, grass hooks, browse hooks, tanged handles:    £30
Drawknives, shaves, per handle, :    £18
Socketed and Yorkshire billhooks:    £35
Hatchets, up to 24" handle:    £28
Axes with handle of 24" and over:    £35
English felling axes 36", with a tall eye ~4":    £50
Hammers (carpenters, engineers, lump):    £12
Sledge hammers, mauls, mells, beetles:    £29
Mattocks and picks (hickory), diggers etc.:    £32
Hand turned, custom or copied from old examples handles, from:    £20 each
To extend tangs on billhooks, drawknives etc.:    £8 per tang

To arrange tool repairs pleasecontact me by email.

These prices will apply to most re-handling jobs, so unless something unusual is required, please accept these prices as a quote or close estimate.

I anticipate that tools will probably arrive with broken handles stubs still in place, customers do not need to remove old handles. Things that can cost a little bit more than standard handle replacement are welded and forged repairs to tools (i.e. tools with broken or cracked metalwork) and making or sourcing special handles.

Rust removal, burr removal and sharpening are available from £10.00 per tool, depending on condition. No miracles, but the look and feel of rusty items can usually be much improved.

image of spade before and after repair

The photos above show an Elwell border spade before and after reconditioning. This tool (about 50 years old) was well worth saving. The cost was about the same as buying a new but inferior item.

My tool reconditioning activities have featured in Reclaim Magazine (downloads as pdf) - article reproduced with their kind permission.

image of handle types

Pictured above, digging tool handle options are, from the left: metal YD, wood YD, shaped crutch T, barrel T. Wood YD type are the most popular, and have a traditional appearance to suit older tools - supply of these is becomming very problematic however. Metal YD handles are often used for contractors tools, and perhaps tolerate being left out in weather a bit better. Crutch T handles are also fairly traditional, and are commonly fitted to army surplus shovels and rabitting spades. Please note that I don't fit or repair plastic handles, I'll only replace fork and spade handles with the types shown above, and of course long straight ash handles for dung forks, pitchforks etc.
To arrange tool repairs contact me.

A few examples of customer feedback:-

"Hi Ian,Spade arrived yesterday afternoon. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the result of your work. (And to think I almost put the Old Boy in the skip.) If I hear of anyone in the need of a tool refurbishment specialist, I will most certainly be steering them in your direction. Thank you so much for your time and efforts Ian.
Much Appreciated."
DB, East Riding, Yorks

"Ian my spade has arrived and is looking better than I could ever have hoped! Thank you"
M, Dumfries

image of forging tang

Sometimes repairs to the tang or socket of a tool may be needed. Here the tang of a grasshook is being straightened and drawn down (lengthened) at red heat.

image of re-handled billhook

I will always save an old handle if possible - i.e. if it is safe and worthwhile to do so. If not, I'll fit a commercially produced replacement handle that is a good match. Some old tools deserve a hand made handle, as shown above. This was made to fit a Kent pattern billhook, because no mass produced replacement was available. It takes a bit of time and experience to get this right, however the end product tends to be worth the effort.

image of derelict plough

This photo shows the copying of a "T" handle for a bulb planter, with the long turned grip attached to the stem by a pegged mortice and tennon joint.

image of turning a replacement handle

Turning a new trowel handle on a Victorian treadle lathe - I did say I was a luddite!

before work

Harrison Yorkshire billhook before restoration...

after work

...and after, with a new handmade ash handle.

image of derelict plough

I'm willing to restore more unusual items, like this horse plough.

image of restored plough

... ready for work once again.

image of re-handled cleaver

This is a cleaver that I re-handled for Mr Walton at The Outwood Butchers. No modern replacement would feel right for day in, day out use.

Another unusual restoration job recently was to recondition a set of branding irons for Kinfisher Farm shop , watercress growers, who were originally known as Coe and Sons - scrool half way sdown the above linked page to see their article on the restored brands.

To enquire about tool repairs contact me.

I've run courses on tool maintenance and sharpening for various people: Surrey & Sussex Wildlife Trusts, National Trust Nymans woodland volunteers, the Garden House in Brighton, and for the 100w artist's collective.

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© Ian Swain 2023