How to Make Wheelbarrow Handles

Wheelbarrow image by kenmo from

Things You'll Need

  • 2 by 2-inch board, up to 6 feet long
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Sander or sandpaper, 150 grit
  • Sandpaper 50 grit (optional)
  • Champfer plane (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Rasp or file
  • Rags
  • Linseed oil
  • Router (optional)

A wheelbarrow saves you hours of back-breaking work in the yard. And although most wheelbarrows have metal bodies, their handles are usually wood, so you will probably find yourself needing to replace them at some point. The wheelbarrow has been around in Europe since the Middle Ages, and the design is accordingly simple. With a couple of tools and some wood from the local hardware store, you can have a new wheelbarrow handle in less than an hour.

Measure the handles that you're going to replace. A wheelbarrow handle is usually 25 to 40 inches long and extends from a grip where you put your hands, down the length of the body of the wheelbarrow, where the handle is bolted or screwed on, to the wheel. You're going to need the exact length of the handles, as well as the distance between the bolts or screws that attach the handles to the body of the wheelbarrow.

Cut the handles to the length of the handles you're replacing.

Drill any holes necessary for attaching the handles to the body of the wheelbarrow, using the measurements from step one. These will vary depending on the wheelbarrow, so make sure that you don't overestimate the diameter of the holes that you drill. It's better for the hole to be narrow than too wide so that the screws will remain firmly fastened after you insert them.

Smooth the edges of the handle all along its length using a champfer plane, or simply by sanding away the edge with a coarse (50 grit) piece of sandpaper.

Make a grip for your hands on the last four or five inches of the handles. Remove the excess wood to make the edges and end of the handle well rounded, using a rasp or file to file away the edges first. Then round out the end to give it an egg shape. Alternately you can use a plunge cut hand grip bit on your router to produce the same shape much more quickly.

Go over the entire handle with the 150 grit sandpaper to smooth everything out, and rub the entire handle thoroughly with linseed oil to give the wood an attractive finish that's also easier on the hands.

Screw the handle into the body of the wheelbarrow.


  • Always make sure that you know how to operate power tools before using them. Wear appropriate safety equipment while operating your power tools.

About the Author

Nathaniel Miller began publishing academically in 2005, with an article on William Faulkner in "Studies in the Novel." He has a Master of Arts in English literature from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is currently earning his Ph.D. in Arabic Literature at the University of Chicago.

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