Though most typically associate steel handles with hand tools, controls, and certain types of doors, anything that can be used to pick up an object with the hand is essentially a type of handle.
Yes, handles are everywhere, and one of the best materials one can use to fabricate them is steel, due to its lightweight properties, affordability, and durability.
One downside to steel handles, however, is that sometimes they can be challenging to grip. While you can certainly enhance your grip by wetting your hands or by wearing gloves, there are various other ways to enhance grip when it comes to them as well.
These enhancements are often best integrated during the design and manufacturing process, though there are a few post-manufacturing options that users can take as well. Here’s a closer look at five ways to enhance the grip of steel handles.
Manufacturing Options for Improving the Grip of Steel Handles
It’s all about the shape. But while it may seem obvious for a designer to have a user grip a ball of clay to determine a design for ideal grip, it’s also important to take into account mobility when it comes to accessing the handle.
Based on this, there are several design elements that can be utilized to enhance the grip of steel handles:
- A flat area can be incorporated into steel handles where the thumb (and maybe even a few fingers) can straighten and grip can make a handle more “grippy.”
- A cylindrical design can also come in handy if the steel handle must be designed in a way that rotates within the hand as it’s utilized.
- Designing a handle with occasional rounded areas, or finger grooving, that the fingers can slide into when accessing can also increase a handle’s “gripability.”
- Other features, such as a pommel or large butt end, can help improve grip on steel handles, too.
- One some types of steel handles, it may even be practical to incorporate a hole into the design. Said holes are often designed for the pointer finger to slide into, thereby increasing gripability and/or securement of the handle.
In the same way you can wear gloves to enhance your grip on a handle (just think of how bodybuilders don special gloves to permit them better stability and balance when lifting weights), you can reverse this thinking and add a more grip-friendly surface to the handle itself.
A couple of common ways of adding surface grip to a steel handle are knurling and checker patterns. Knurling consists of machining a pattern of straight, angled, or crossed lines into a material (e.g., think of a children’s bicycle handlebar).
Checker patterns are similar but in the shape of checkers, not lines. This type of feature is common on the handles of firearms.
If you go with either of these options, be certain to design the handles carefully as poorly designed knurling or checkers can potentially cause injury to the skin.
3. Add-on Accessories
Rubber tubing makes for an ideal grip because it’s soft and comfortable, effective and practical. But when it comes to incorporating rubber onto steel handles, you typically need to plan to accommodate this add-on material during the manufacturing process or assembly.
Another nice thing about rubber tubing is that it can typically be replaced if the handle becomes worn or torn, or sustains other types of damage during use.
DIY Methods for Improving the Grip of Steel Handles
Though it may not be as professional looking as many of the other enhancements we’ve mentioned in this post, certain tapes can be applied to an existing handle to make them more “grippy.”
One of the most popular types is skate tape or grip tape. These types of tapes are most widely used in helping skateboarders stay on their boards as they’re skating, forming adhesion between the skater’s shoes and the board itself.
The same type of principles can also apply to a handle and a hand. While it may come off as a “poor man’s gripper” when it comes to handles, one nice thing about grip tape is that it’s affordable, easy to apply, and replaceable.
Another DIY method that you can perform post-manufacturing to enable a better grip on a steel handle is to simply go over it with a piece of sandpaper. The grit of the sandpaper will roughen the handle a bit and make it easier for the hand to grip.
It’s important to note, however, that doing this can potentially make the surface more jagged, which may end up hurting the hand after prolonged periods of gripping. Taking sandpaper to a steel handle can also alter the finish of the metal, making for an unkempt look.
Get a Grip with the Steel Handle Experts
If you are in search of a contract manufacturer experienced at making steel handles more grippy, look no further than Mills Products. We specialize in handles manufacturing and are well-versed in devising shapes and surface textures that makes handles more accommodating to users, as well as producing handles that are fit to accommodate rubber grips.
To learn more about how Mills Products can help you, please contact us. We’ll be happy to discuss the options available for improving the grip of steel handles, as well as give you an overview of the rest of our capabilities.