Chain Whip Tool

My trusty chain whip tool that I’ve used for years to remove stubborn oil filters and bicycle cogs broke the other day. I can purchase a new one for $20, but it seems a little pricey. Plus, I’d actually need to have two of them for certain bicycle applications. The chain on the old one is still good, so all I need is a steel bar with a small hole drilled in it. I had this idea to use an old 18 inch long file I had in my tool chest, just the right size and tough as nails, but I soon discovered it isn’t possible to drill a hole in a file. Who would have thunk? … lol … Any ideas for the source of an inexpensive steel bar sized approximately 15" X 1.75 " X 5/16 " ? Made of something I can drill a 1/8" hole in it, without needing a diamond drill bit? The link below shows what I’m trying to make.

A file is made of hardened steel. Very hard to drill thru without the proper bit.

Is there a local home improvement store nearby that sells small sections regular carbon steel shapes?


Most of the hardware stores, Tractor Supply, and Farm and Fleet or Fleet farm (if they are in your area…will have a rack of steel to choose from. They will have flat stock, angle iron, strap steel, and some square stock. All in 2, 4, and 6 foot lengths.

But one problem…I think that they will have 1/4 inch thick and 3/8 inch thick…no 5/16ths.

Look for a steel supplier in the yellow pages and call around.
You will probably end up with 5/16 X 1 1/2 inch which, even mild steel should be more than enough mass to use for this…

You can get flat metal pieces at your local home and garden store, like Home Depot. It will be either low carbon steel or aluminum. Like this:

For $10, you can have enough bar for 3.

Good ideas. The dimensions are just approximate, I think 1/8" would work fine. I’ll stop by my local hardware store this evening. I was also thinking of the bars they make bar clamps for woodworking might work, so I’ll see what they have in that section too.

Jt…remember it will be mild steel and will not take a lot of force to bend it. Plus 1/8 inch will be flimsy and even harder on your hands.
Go with at least 1/4 inch.

Mild steel is strong thru it’s width, not it’s thickness. As long as the force applied is thru with width of the steel, it won’t bend.


5/16 is a common thickness for steel shapes. it does not take much to bend mild (A36) steel. better off to go with A992 grade(dual use) steel or old V50 grade steel. just go to a junk yard or steel fab shop, tell them what you want and see what they have laying around that will work.

I agree and am a blacksmith and horseshoer by trade.

I’m just thinking that I’d want something stable enough to not flex lateraly.
Would you like a set of 15 inch long wrenches only 1/8 inch thick. Hard on the hands and would’nt be stable unless you are right perfectly in line with the work. They would always want to flex to the side.

Wouldn’t that be a farrier?


Yep, But soem outside the horse world have no idea what a farrier is.

36 years…another 30 and I should be able to retire!!! I’m 60 vnow!!!

A low carbon steel channel will not bend in half and it’s only $15. You can make 2 tools.

I ended up purchasing a 36" x 2 " x 3/16" steel bar for about $8, and made a 12" chain whip this morning. Works great. Still have enough material left to make two more. Total cost/tool: Less than $3.

Thanks to all for the great advice.

Want to go, George. Wanna change your name to MacGyver?

George Costanza maybe? … I don’t have any champagne, limos, or expensive cigars, but I do have an awesome chain whip tool … lol …

Dialog From Seinfeld episode # 19 “The Truth”

ELAINE: How would you like it if someone told YOU the truth?

GEORGE: Like what? What could they say?

ELAINE: There are plenty of things to say.

GEORGE: Like what? …

ELAINE: Forget it. You are very careful with money.

GEORGE: I’m cheap? You think I’m CHEAP? How could you say that to me? I can’t believe this. How could you say that to me?

ELAINE: You asked me to.

GEORGE: You should have lied.

ELAINE: HUH, so should you.

GEORGE:(ignoring Jerry) I mean I’m not really working right now.

ELAINE: I know.

GEORGE: When I was working I spent baby.

JERRY: Yeah, I know champagne, limos, cigars.

In 9 years, Seinfeld addressed every human foible at least once. Remember the car dealership? The mechanic for his Saab? The Jon Voight convertble? The parking garage? George’s sweet ride:

Well that ruined my night George.
I worked at the forge for hours last night making you a fancy chain whip tool for your Christmas present. You’re initials carved into it, knurled the grip & heat treated it.
Making all those little links was a killer!!!

@Yosemite … I can’t help you w/the chain links, but if you have any drill bits that are too sharp, I now know how to dull them. You have a big flat file, right? :wink:

I’ve been there. Not sure of the hardness of something and just dulling a bunch of bits.
I bought a nice sharpener and now it’s a pleasure to do drill bits.

I remember once as a kid , I figured that if I’d heat up that piece of hardened steel with the torch …red hot…then try to drill it… So much for that bit.

My dad used to be able to sharpen them by hand…no guide…just take the bit to the grinder and he’d always have them right on the money.

lol, I was going to suggest just blowing a hole in the file with a cutting torch