Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's the Best Type of Handle - Fiberglass or Wood?

A friend and I were discussing the different types of handles for tools via e-mail. A basic discussion of the different types of handle materials left me at a loss. I have tools with both types of handles. Maybe I'm just old school, but I prefer wood handles over fiberglass.

I know wood handles aren't water-proof but if properly cared for will last a long time, especially the hickory types. While fiberglass is usually considered stronger, fiberglass handles are usually difficult to replace, although minor repairs usually are pretty simple and straight forward.

Which type of handle do you prefer to use?

Got wood?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

13 comments:

scoutinlife said...

Same boat here! I have both handle types but prefer wood handles...

FarmerMechanic said...

Working on a farm I use the same shovel every summer. I has a Hickory handle that I lightly sand and dip in linseed oil each year. I have had the shovel for 10 years now. I will wear out the metal part before the wood..

HermitJim said...

Gotta go with the wood handle myself...but it does like a little maintanence once in a while!

Don't we all, though?

riverwalker said...

To: scoutinlife

That makes one vote for wood!

Thanks.

RW

riverwalker said...

To: Farmer Mechanic

That makes two votes for wood!

Thanks.

RW

riverwalker said...

To: HermitJim

That makes three votes for wood!

Thanks.

RW

Mo said...

Another vote for wood.

I have a hammer - HART Decker 22oz - that I've used for nearly two decades for framing and forming and darn near everything else. It's on it's fourth handle and I have two more in reserve. I'd whittle one rather than buy another hammer..

I started using a steel handled hammer, had some elbow issues, switched to fiberglass which was fine until you break the handle... I have some fiberglass handled shovels that are pretty good but heavy.

Wood has a soul - something synthetics do not.

Mayberry said...

Wood.... Fiberglass WILL break down eventually, especially when exposed to UV. And when it breaks, fiberglass splinters will fly every which way. Not good.....

riverwalker said...

To: Mo

Wood handles are a lot easier to replace. I've got a shovel and a hoe with fiberglass handles but the sun has done a number on the handles. Thanks.

RW

riverwalker said...

To: Mayberry

Had an axe with a fiberglass handle break....not a good thing!

Thanks.

RW

BTW, Sorry you had to go to comment moderation to keep the trolls away.

Albert A Rasch said...

Fellows,

Wood handles on any striking tool: Hammer, sledge, axe, mattock, etc.

But a good quality steel handle on a shovel is great. I have two shovels that have plastic coated steel handles. they have round noses, and will dig through anything.

Having said that, I must have 15 shovels I have picked up and rehandled over the years with wood.

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
Southeast Regional OBS Coordinator

riverwalker said...

To: Albert Rasch

I've got one shovel with a steel handle that works great, but is not manageable for the wife as it is heavier than normal. I still have a tendency to prefer wood as it absorbs the shock of use better and is easier to replace. Thanks.

RW

Anonymous said...

Buy a tool with a lifetime warranty and you won't have a problem if a fiberglass handle eventually fails. Fiberglass offers the most shock absorption to protect your wrist and elbow when using a striking tool. I'd rather break a few fiberglass handles in my lifetime than deal with a lifetime of pain in my wrist.

As far as digging tools go I don't think it really matters. Metal, wood, and fiberglass are all durable. However, if you are digging in an area where you may sever a power line then fiberglass is the only way to go as it offers the most electrical insulation.

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