How to Replace or Repair Old Wheelbarrow Handles


Wheelbarrows, the simple workhorses of yard work big and small, can take a lot of abuse. But, long before the metal body breaks down, the handles may snap or rot. If the metal body of your wheelbarrow has life left, fashion a set of wheelbarrow handles that will have you back hauling quickly and inexpensively

Things You'll Need

  • 1 2-by-4, 6 foot.
  • Table saw
  • Socket wrench
  • Old wheelbarrow handles
  • Drill and bits
  • 2 Clamps
  • File or router (optional)
  • Sander (optional)
  • Remove the old handles with a wrench or socket that fits the nuts and bolts holding the pieces of your wheelbarrow together. An adjustable wrench will also work.

  • Adjust the table saw for a straight cut through the 2-by-4. The distance between the rip fence and the outside of the blade should be 1.5 inches, or 1 3/8 inches to the inside of the blade. If your 2-by-4 is standard, this setup will cut it in half.

  • Double check your table saw setup. Switch on your machine and slowly run your 2-by-4 along the fence to get a straight cut. Use an optional feather board to keep slight tension against the board. Cut correctly and you will have two boards of equal size for your new handles.

  • Round off the handles. Measure a length of about 4 inches from the end of the handle. With a file or hand held router, smooth out the edges of the board to make a rounded handle.

  • Sand the handles to reduce splinters. Run a medium-grit sandpaper across the wood until smooth to the touch.

  • Use an old handle as a template, stack it on top of the two newly cut boards in one stack of three. Square them up and clamp them together so that they will not move. Raise the whole stack by placing it between two equally tall objects, such as milk crates or a saw horse. If you notice that the old handle is shorter than your new ones, go back to the table saw and cut down your new handles to match the length of the old.

  • Find the preexisting holes in the old handle and drill a new hole through the new handles. Make sure the drill bit you are using matches the size of the old hole. The size should be no bigger than the bolts you pulled out of the old handles.

  • Align the new handles on the barrow using the drilled holes as a guide. Line the holes up with the barrow and wheel assembly.

  • Adjust the wheelbarrow legs if use and wear have caused them to bend. After making any changes, run the bolts up through the barrow, wood and legs then thread the washer and nuts. Tighten these bolts down on both legs.

  • Reattach the wheel assembly. Slip the axle of the wheel through the metal fasteners. Bolt the fasteners to the new handles.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the stack of handles is too tall for your drill bit to go through, drill as far as you can on the stack of three, then take the stack apart, and finish drilling the bottom board.
  • Keep track of your nuts, bolts and washers. They may be different lengths corresponding to the different holes. Doing this will save time during reassembly.
  • Use the necessary precautions when using power equipment. Follow your manufacturer's directions on operation of the tools.

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