How to Replace Garden Tool Handles


Hand tools can last for years when maintained properly. Occasionally, the handles break or need replacement. Replacing garden tool handles can be achieved with a few tools. There are two types of pins that attach handles to the metal portion of the tool: rivets and screws or bolts. Always replace rivets with screws or bolts for better stability.

Step 1

Find the screw or bolt holding the handle to the metal part of the tool. If the handle is attached by a rivet, skip to Step 5.

Step 2

Unscrew the screws holding the handle on the metal piece. Use the proper screwdriver for screws. Use a socket wrench with the correct socket to unscrew bolts in handles. Unscrew the screw or bolt with the tool until you can unscrew it the rest of the way by hand. Set the screw or bolt aside.

Step 3

Set the tool in the vice where the metal and handle meet so the handle is facing you. Tighten the vice around the tool.

Step 4

Screw one or two screws into the end of the handle opposite the metal joint. These will provide a gripping point for the vice grips. Place the vice grips over the screw or screws. Tighten the vice grips until they are firmly attached to the screw(s). Pull on the screws with the vice grips to pull out the handle.

Step 5

Find the rivet head where the handle meets the metal portion of the tool. Cut off the head of the rivet. To remove the head by drilling see Step 6; to remove the head with the hacksaw go to Step 7. If the rivet cannot be removed by drill or hacksaw, proceed to Step 8.

Step 6

Fit the proper size drill bit into the top of the rivet. Drill the rivet out of the handle until it is completely removed.

Step 7

Put the hacksaw blade behind the rivet between the rivet and join of the handle with the metal piece. Saw the handle off at the join.

Step 8

File down the rivet head. Use the hammer and hole punch to drive the remaining portion of the rivet out of the bottom of the handle.

Step 9

Clean out the handle remnants from the metal sleeve. Use a drill, chisel or metal coathanger to gouge out the remaining wood from the sleeve. Make sure the sleeve is completely free of debris so you can put the new handle in place.

Step 10

Fit the new handle into the sleeve. Modify the end of the handle to fit into the sleeve with the wood file. Tap the opposite end of the handle with the hammer to get it firmly set into the sleeve. There will be no movement between the sleeve and handle when you are finished.

Step 11

Drill a hole through the pin hole of the sleeve into the handle. Drill completely through to the other side. Carefully back the drill out of the hole while the drill bit is still turning.

Step 12

Start a wood screw into the hole by hand. Use the screwdriver to drive the screw in until it stands upright by itself. Use the drill and screw drill bit to finish inserting the screw into the handle. Make sure the screw head is flush with the handle.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Socket wrench
  • Sockets
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Screwdriver drill bit
  • Vice
  • Vice grips
  • Wood screws
  • Hacksaw
  • Wood file
  • Chisel


  • Keen Grower: How to Replace Broken Handles on Garden Tools
Keywords: garden tool handles, replacing tool handles, fixing broken tools, repair garden tools

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.