How to Replace a Wooden Tool Handle

Winter is a great time to repair and maintain gardening tools in anticipation of the new season. One of the easiest and most cost-effective repairs you can do yourself is replacing broken or worn handles on rakes, shovels, and hoes. Not only do you save money by repairing existing tools instead of buying new ones, you can also rescue and refurbish heirloom tools passed down in your family for generations.


First of all, decide if the handle of your garden tool actually needs to be replaced, or if you could get away with simply taping up the worn end. The best tape to use is sports tape like the kind used on tennis rackets or hockey sticks. This will help you to grip the handle of the tool as well as protect your hands from splinters. You can purchase this tape at any sporting goods store.

Replace the tool handle completely if it is splintered, broken partway or all the way, or missing altogether. Check your local gardening or home repair center for replacement handles. Bring the tool with you to the store to ensure you are purchasing the right size and type. You could also order handles from an online store; make sure you research the size and spec thoroughly before placing an order (when in doubt, make the purchase from an online store that accepts returns or exchanges).

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When replacing a tool handle, place the good part of the garden tool in a vice grip. This will hold the tool steady as you work. Remove any nails, screws, or other fastenings keeping the old handle in place. Use a hammer, drill, screwdriver, or any other appropriate tool to help you remove the old handle. Remove all chunks and pieces of the old tool handle thoroughly.


Insert the new handle into the tool. The part of the garden tool where the handle fits is called the hasp. Use fasteners to securely attach the new handle inside the hasp. If needed, drill new holes and securely attach the handle with bolts, locking washers, or hex nuts. If the new handle feels a little loose compared to the old one, remove the new handle and affix some plumbers tape around it until it fits into the hasp perfectly, and then re-attach.

Be careful when using the tool the first few times after the handle had been replaced. Make sure the replacement job is foolproof, otherwise just make a few adjustments here and there until it feels perfect.

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