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Material Choice - Pan handle

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  • Material Choice - Pan handle

    As a way of demonstrating the practicality of the machinery that is rapidly taking over my garage to my still sceptical wife. I have a plan to turn up some replacement pan handles. These are for a set of stainless steel pans, which currently have hardwood handles that have been abused by dishwashing, etc. These have lost their vanish coating and are now split and look dreadful.
    I was thinking along the lines of either some form of plastic of Tufnol style material.

    Key requirements are
    1) Good heat insulation, to withstand stovetop use
    2) Resistance to hot water + dishwasher detergent
    3) An attractive colour
    4) Easy to machine and get a good finish
    5) Sensibly priced, i.e. somewhat less than a new set of pans.

    Any ideas would be appreciated, plus any reccommendations of a UK source.



  • #2
    I've made some nice hammer handles from cloth laminated phenolic (Garolite) and I suppose it would stand up better than wood for stove/dishwasher use.

    Your notion of doing the job to "justify" your shop is a good one. I do it all the time - last year's was a cutting board made from 2" thick UHMW polyethylene, machined to perch over one section of the stainless sink. Every few months I fly cut the surface a few thou to clean it up, and it never fails to get approval!

    Doesn't hurt that my wife is a really practical person who doesn't like fancy stuff. Last year one of our old Revere Ware pots had the handle fall off where the spot welds failed. I made some points by turning a couple of stainless rivets and banging the handle back in place. A few weeks later I bought a replacement pot to add to the collection. I notice that she uses only the old one, while I tend to reach for the new one.

    I suggested we toss the old one with its clunky rivets, and she said, "No, I like it better because you fixed it." Awwwww. . .

    Frank Ford


    • #3
      Thanks Frank,

      I have done a little more research myself and it looks like Acetal Rod may fit the bill. It's low cost, available in black, easy to machine and is food grade.


      • #4
        I wouldn't sell 304 stainless tube short depending on how it's attached and whether you can find it. It's food grade, and a lousy heat conductor at least for a metal. Thats my 2 pence anyway.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Frank Ford
          ...I suggested we toss the old one with its clunky rivets, and she said, "No, I like it better because you fixed it." Awwwww. . .
          You have a one in a million there, be good to her.



          • #6
            Tufnol knife handles

            Here are a couple of pics of a kitchen knife that I made for my wife in 1963. It is (was?) a 12" HSS power hack-saw blade with a "Tufnol" held on with brass rivets.

            She has used it just about every day. It has very little wear on the blade which still holds a razor edge. The handle has never deteriorated and it had lots of trips through the dish-washer.

            We've had any amount of "new, better" knives and she still comes back to that one.

            If ever she "fixes me up" that will be her knife of choice!!!


            • #7
              The traditional material for pot knobs and handles has always been unfilled phenolic. The cloth and paper filled materials will absorb water especially in the dishwasher.
              I would not use Delrin because it melts at 347F, will start to burn if exposed to flame and this results in formaldehyde gas, when burning the flame is literally invisible.
              I was a plastic molder/moldmaker, and molded both TP and TS materials.


              • #8
                I must have married wrong! My wife appreciates new stuff now and then. I only fix up old stuff if she ask me to, otherwise, she'll go out and buy another one sort of like I do when my plier jaws get rounded over!

                If per chance your wife should lay her new handled pan upside your head, would you be kind enough to send a picture of the flat spot?
                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


                • #9

                  Thanks YOD.

                  I didn't realise that there were so many (any??) pan-handlers here.


                  Last edited by oldtiffie; 08-20-2009, 11:18 AM.


                  • #10
                    It's amazing how little you have to do to justify "all that stuff"

                    A base holder for the deck umbrella (15 minutes) silenced "that look" for a month. And in answer the question posed as I was unloading 2500lb of surface grinder from the truck - "it's for sharpening the lawn mower blades" will suffice until next spring

                    Of course, after 30+ years, I have a little room to manouver... and I'm not really fooling anyone.


                    • #11
                      Ok, here is my first effort, before and after. Or one pan with a new handle and one with the orginal still on. The wife is suitable impressed. Only three more to do now
                      Black Acetal rod and 303 Stainless collar. Has been through the dishwasher with no ill effects. The end radius was done by eye with a file.

                      Last edited by Stuart Br; 10-13-2009, 01:26 PM.


                      • #12
                        A metal with some fins or a thinning near the pot will disipate all the heat before it gets to the user, Look at cast iron pans, untill you use em for a long time the handle is still cold to the touch

                        My alternate though would be metal 'start' near the pot for high temps, then a plastic handle like UHMW or deralin or something.. (but im no plastics expert so..)
                        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                        • #13
                          The new collar I made is a pretty close copy of the original "alloy" one, which has been severely corroded by dishwashing. The wall thickness at the pan end is less than 1mm thick. In use the handle doesn't get warm at all.