Sanding a Kettlebell Handle

Alright, this isn’t an article about kettlebell handles per se, but it’s a useful topic to cover on a website about kettlebells so I hope you’ll indulge me. Lots of folks reach this website by searching for ways to sand, smooth, or strip the handle of their fixed-weight kettlebell, so here is how you do it.

Why sand a kettlebell handle?

Traditional kettlebells are (for the most part) made of cast iron. This material has limitations:

  • Cast iron is relatively brittle.
  • It has holes and inclusions not found in forged iron.
  • The casting process can leave a rough spot — or sprue — on the finished piece. It’s an artifact of the casting process.
  • Cast iron rusts more easily than most other types of iron. This means that kettlebells are often painted.

Therefore, you just might find that your brand new kettlebell has a rough handle that tears up your hand.

You may need to get rid of a rough bit of metal, or you may need to remove the paint from the handle. In either case, sanding your kettlebell handle is in order.

How to remove paint from a kettlebell handle

The best way to remove paint from cast iron is to burn it off. Yes, you heard me right.

Get a torch and a wire brush and burn/brush if off and your kettlebell will be down to the bare metal in no time at all.

If you want, you can use a chemical paint remover, but that’s messy, smelly, and unnecessary.

How to sand a kettlebell handle

Rough metal should be removed with a mill file. Any hardware store has files that will work. Just get a half-round file and have at it. Make sure the file isn’t too coarse. If in doubt, ask a metalworking expert.

If you have access to a Dremel rotary tool, it’ll do the job in seconds. Just don’t take off too much metal.

For more delicate touch-ups, use emery cloth. Wrap it around the handle and go to work. When the emery cloth (often called sandpaper by the uninitiated) gets clogged with metal filings, wash it with water. Emery cloth is sometimes called wet/dry paper for this reason; it is designed to be used wet. Regular sandpaper that’s used for woodworking won’t last as long and it can’t be cleaned.

Another choice is to use a bit of sanding sponge which is designed to be used on rounded surfaces. Check out the 3M Sanding Sponge, Fine/Medium from

After your kettlebell handle is smooth as a baby’s bottom, you have two choices: you can leave it as is, or you can paint it.

How to paint your kettlebell handle

If you leave the metal bare, it will almost certainly rust. This isn’t something that most people want to deal with because the rust will stain your hands and get on your clothing.

To paint the kettlebell handle, use a good grade of spray paint — no need to get too fancy or use something that costs too much. Rustoleum is fine, but then again, so is just about everything else.

It’s probably a good idea to use several thin coats of paint. After all, you want to avoid paint drips that turn your newly-smooth handle into a lumpy torture device.

Too much trouble to sand the handle?

Get rid of all this trouble by getting some modern adjustable kettlebell handles. You’ll love them. Check out some reasons why adjustable kettlebell handles outperform traditional kettlebells.