Knurling is a popular way to finish handles of tools and other hardware, with a pattern of crossed lines rolled into metal to provide better grip and an attractive finish. It’s most commonly done on a lathe to round stock, but it can also be achieved on flat surfaces if you have the right tool. Of course, you can make one yourself.
The build is simple, and is based around by creating a special carrier out of a solid piece of steel. It’s a long bar has a space milled out to hold two wheels in the middle. A pair of off-the-shelf knurling wheels are then installed in the bar, with socket head bolts serving as axles.
With the tooling complete, it’s then a simple matter of installing the carrier bar in a lathe and running it back and forth over a flat workpiece. The workpiece is rolled back and forth to allow the wheels to do their work, while also being shifted horizontally to allow the entire flat surface to be worked over.
A nice knurled finish really can elevate the form and function of any tool or other piece of metal craftsmanship. We’ve explored how to create your own knurled knobs before, too.
[Thanks to Zane Atkins for the tip!]