Frying pan handle repair; wood to metal

(I would just buy a new frying pan, but it’s not up to me…)

“Expensive Japanese Frying Pan” has a wooden handle. The handle is held in place by a long screw that goes through the length of the handle and into a hole in the metal stub for the handle on the frying pan.

The handle is kept from spinning relative to the fring pan by a cross-shaped cutout in the face of the frypan end of the handle that mates with a similar raised cross on the end of the metal stub.

The cross-shaped cutout in the wood handle has worn away/burned away (it is used in an Asian restaurant, so high heat is used for cooking) to the extent that the frying pan is loose…that is, the cross cutout is no longer deep enough to stop the frying pan from rotating around the axis of the screw when the handle is held in place in mid air.

Like I said, I would just buy a new frying pan instead of risking a burn from a haphazard repair that gives way while filled with hot oil, but that seems to be an unsatisfactory answer.

Right now, masking tape (!!) is being used, but it doesn’t perform well for long.

Cutting the wood handle back a little bit and creating a new cross-shaped cutout seems to be more effort than it is worth.

Any good ideas for a metal/wood repair or joining method that will also be moderately heat resistant? I am considering high temperature foil tape and/or an epoxy wood putty, but would like to hear better ideas.

IANAL, but if this is being used in a restaurant I would be very hesitant to do any sort of makeshift repair - any failure of the repair could make you liable for any injuries to the user, as well as a workman’s comp claim. In fact, if it being held with masking tape right now you (or whoever owns the restaurant) is already at risk.

If it is an expensive item the company may sell replacement parts.

Your point is well taken. That was kind of floating in the back of my mind.

I’m going to encourage the parties involved to not try a makeshift repair. Like I said, a new frying pan is the best idea. Even without liability, why risk someone getting seriously injured over a $40 item, even if it needs to be replaced every six months? (That was the objection raised to the new frying pan suggestion.)

If anyone simply wants to share a creative solution as an intellectual exercise, that’s cool.

From what I was told, they don’t.

Probably and woodworking/cabinetry shop can make you some hardwood handles, if these are pans that you use on a regular basis and the handles wear out a lot.

Not sure cost of pan, some cost a lot more than $40

That’s not making sense to me. I would think a few minutes with a wood rasp/file could do the job. Is there some reason that won’t work?

Yeah, shortly after my first post I was told the specific type of pan (brand name), and I looked it up on Amazon and it could be had for $40 here in the U.S.

The restaurant owner thinks that is too much if they have to be replaced every 6 mos. Like I said above, against the very real possibility of someone getting badly burned, that seems like a minor, minor expense for a pan that will get used a lot.

I’m not directly involved, so my opinion is not really being sought, beyond ideas for a possible fix. But fixing the old pan now seems like a bad idea.

This could still be your best option … absolutely nothing you do is worth it … your best value is a new frying pan …

ETA: Buy the best, you won’t be disappointed …

If you did cut off the inner burned part of the handle and carved a fresh criss-shaped indent into it you’d have a good fix on the handle. And probably for less than $40 of labor. But …

The handle is held on by the full-length screw. Which threads into a blind hole in the nub on the pan. So however much you shorten the handle repairing it, e.g. 1/2", you’ll need to shorten the screw the same amount. And leave the threads intact at the reduced end. As well, most long threaded screwslike that aren’t threaded the whole way. So you may need to thread the screw further up the shank as well.

Bottom line: there’s a bunch of extra steps involved if anyone want to try to fix the handle through shortening.
The good news is once the repairman has done this a time or two, he’ll have it down pat and he can keep shortening the handle as needed until it’s only a couple inches long and the cook puts his hand in the fire each time he reaches for it. :slight_smile: What I really meant is any single handle can be repaired a few times, but not repeatedly indefinitely.
TO directly answer the OP’s call for suggestions, IMO you wont’ find any sort of shielding material you can put around a new handle to keep it from burning. And any sort of putty or whatever will have the same problem: if it isn’t made of metal, it can’t stand the heat of being right outside the pan where the flames are running up the side.

The real answer is to buy a better quality pan to begin with, one where more of the handle is metal. Or convince the cooks they don’t really need quite that much of an inferno.

Metal strip cut from soda can, wrapped around stub/handle and held in place by two hose clamps?

$40 is completely reasonable for a pan that will last 6 months in a restaurant.

Or simply add a spacer of that thickness under the screw head.

Tell the restaurateur to invest in better pans; wooden handles should not be used in a commercial kitchen setting.

How much time has been wasted discussing a $40 tool? No business can afford to burn employee time arguing over trivialities such as this. The time to organise the effecting of a repair is going to dominate any question of the money saved.
As above, buy the right tool for the job. This especially includes OHS and commercial food preparation regulations. Any violation here will make the $40 pan seem the most expensive thing the business ever purchased.

The people that operate (or even more so own but don’t actively operate) slave-driver businesses have a different metric.

All that matters is minimal outlay on tangible expenses.

Any time spent discussing the pan was free. Any jury-rigging the pan the cook does is free. Any reduction in the cook’s total daily throughput caused by the inadequate tools is free. The odds of the authorities levying a fine are thousands to one against, so effectively free.

The only thing that costs is dollars laid out directly from the ownership to somebody else today. The key to profitability is to avoid that. Today and, insofar as possible, every day.

By and large, in small business that attitude is accountingwise correct.

The incremental impact of the cook’s productivity is not enough to require management to hire an additional cook. So who cares if each of the 50 meals he cooks at lunch are 5 seconds later than they otherwise would be. There’s going to be a brief lull in there someplace to “reset his clock” for the accrued delay. etc., etc. on all the other concerns.

As accounting-sensible as this is, it’s legally & morally indefensible; business regulations exist to be followed, not as another avenue for incremental profit by competitive corner-cutting. Giving your workers inadequate tools is disrespectful and a gratuitous aggression. Working conditions in many US commercial kitchens are positively Third World.

“It’s the cheapskate who spends the most money” – Klick-and-Klack-(the Tappet Brothers)-ism

Given patience and a Dremel, anything of this sort can be fixed. The hardest part will be securing the handle while you work on it, but I can usually find someplace to jam the piece while it’s undergoing repairs.

This is very insightful. Although the “slave driver” characterization doesn’t apply in this particular instance (it’s mostly a “friends and family” situation (not mine, though) and pretty low stress for those involved), I am sure the thinking about actual cash outlay versus intangible inefficiencies is right on point.

Thanks to all for your insight, comments and advice.

Always glad to help explain the in-laws’ behaviors … just remember your spouse already knows all this … that why they married you …