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How to Make/Build Custom Tap Handles

I have been looking at all the cool tap handles that people on various beer forums have made, so I decided to give it a try myself.  Here are some of the different pictures that I found useful:

I liked the idea of using a sports card protector for the label portion of my tap handles, that way I could print labels and then remove them when the beer was gone.  Using the silver ferrules instead of using cut in nuts seemed a lot easier and more stable as well.  Here's a list of the parts that I purchased:

Part Purchased From
8" Wooden Table Leg Lowe's
4" x 1" x 4' Piece of Oak Lowe's
2" Wooden Dowels Lowe's
Sports Card Protective Sleeve Walmart
Silver Ferrule (Bottom part of handle that connects to the tap) MoreBeer
Wood Glue Had Already
Double Sided Tape Had Already

I started off by measuring the piece of oak that I purchased alongside the sports card sleeve in order to rip the board to the right width.  After that was done, I again used the card sleeve to measure and finish up the upper portion of the tap handle.  After that was done, I positioned the tap handles on the bench and drilled a hole just big enough to fit the dowel into both the table leg and the upper portion of the handle.  I don't have a drill press, so I had to just hold each piece as straight as I could while I used a hand drill to make the holes.  This ended up making my handles a little crooked, but pretty good considering what I had to work with.  Below, you can see what the tap handles looked like before I stained them.

After my holes were drilled, I fabricated a staining stand out of a piece of 2" x 6" board that I messed up on while making the collar for my Chest Freezer.  Damn those 45 degree angles!  Below, you can see the handles after a single coat of stain.  I used a darker Minwax stain that had built in polyurethane, so one coat was enough to make them look pretty good.

When the wood had dried over night, I assembled the bottom and top portions with the wooden dowels and wood glue.  I had a pretty good/tight fit on most of the tap handles.  After the glue had dried for awhile, I used some double sided tape to attach the sports card protectors to the top portion of the tap handle. 

Now, all I needed to do was design some labels for my new tap handles.  That turned out to be the most time consuming part of the whole project.  I originally wanted to make color labels, but I ended up settling on black and white labels.  I don't have a color printer at home, so I would have to use the work printer and I really didn't want to mess with that.  I used Photoshop to create a template, but you could use any free software as long as you get the size correct.  Here's what I ended up making:

I saved the template as a Photoshop file so I can go back and change the name, ABV, IBU, SRM, and Brewed date.  Even though the label is really basic, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  It lets people know what's in the kegerator without being too busy and also provides fellow brewers with a little more info.  In the future, I may consider adding a little more depth but for now it works.  Here's a couple pictures of the tap handles on my two kegerators:

 

 


Contact Information:  mikeyounghb at gmail.com

 
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