What are you looking for in a custom Tap Handle? - Home Brew Forums
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:34 AM   #1
BraxtonBrewery
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Sep 2008
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As simple as the title reads.

I'm going to start making some for fun. Im just looking for ideas...


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Old 02-21-2012, 04:17 AM   #2
bestbrewtap
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May 2011
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Sturdy!

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1...l-brewery.html



 
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:34 PM   #3
JoshuaW
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Dec 2011
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Something that looks good and has a spot to either insert a label card, or put a label on it. Chalk board or dry erase might be okay, I would rather use labels. Oh, and do it cheaply! There are a lot of good handles at $30, but with 3 taps, that is $90 (plus shipping!) for handles. If you could do it for $15 or $20, I would be all over that.

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:46 AM   #4
bestbrewtap
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May 2011
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JoshuaW...would a poured plastic molded tap handle make you happy for $20?

The reason I ask is because it's really hard to put together a wood tap handle in this price range (20 dollars) because the fixed costs add up really fast. Essentially the small shop owner gets killed before they get out of the gate unless they can buy most of the pieces pre-made and pre-finished.

Here's the deal:
ferrule (3.00)
decent hanger bolt (1.00) (zinc plated)
cheap wood (3.00) (select poplar w/ no knots & straight grain)
quality water based finish (1.50) (1.5 oz per tap handle @ $70/gallon + consumables)
Depreciation of tooling (1.50) (carbide is pricey, high speed steel requires resharpening)
Depreciation of simple equipment (2.00) (motors/bearings, belts, router collets, etc)
Insurance, heat, electricity, shop waste disposal, etc. (3.00 at least)

That's a conservative 15 bux without labor. So you can afford $5 in labor. The poor guy has to be able to machine, assemble, sand and finish your tap handle in 20 minutes to make $15/hr...with substantial overhead costs/capital risk.

There's a reason why so many brewery suppliers are using 2 part poured acrylic/urethane (smooth-on makes the best). Once you eat the substantial cost of the molds, the rest is mix, pour and profit.

I make a lot of things I can't afford to sell. Sometimes it is all about the fun factor.

John

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:47 AM   #5
bestbrewtap
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May 2011
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Brax,

A lot of people really like the idea of having a personalizable tap handle, something they can change the look of. A lot of graphics shops can print on vinyl, as well as do laser engraving on metal and wood. Its pretty if its in your budget. With the maker world taking off, a lot of people are forming "maker shops/garages". Many of these are buying laser engraver's for their member's use.

Finishes. There are some nice rattle can finishes. Deft lacquer is one of my favorites, as you can finish over it without it looking bad. Nitrocellulose lacquers do get attacked by alcohol. Beer, if wiped of quickly, is usually not an issue. Water based finishes have come a long way. Polycrylic is passable. The best stuff is from a company called Target Coatings, but their finishes are in the $70/gallon range. Their website is very good.

Hardware. Hanger bolts are hardware store items. Get zinc plated ones (zinc dipped ones flake...stainless is too soft and bends). Or you can skip ferrules and go for inserts. Lowes and other hardware stores carry these. They are hard to get in straight without jigs or tapping fixtures.

Wood. "Borrow" scraps from your woodworking buddies. Ebay can be a good source, but its hit or miss. Some places carrry hardwood dowels. Dowels are nice because they are guaranteed to be straight grained (prevent warping) and no knots (a breakage/machining issue). Rockler carries 1 1/2" ones I think. Ball bat blanks can work too (birch, maple, ash) but they can be a bit pricey.

Goiod luck and have fun. If you do decide to sell a few, make them good and sell them at a fair price.

If you have any questions about finishing, materials, hardware, etc, PM me and I'll try to help.

later,
John

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:57 AM   #6
zacjack
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Feb 2012
Indianapolis, IN
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Bubinga or Cocobolo to match the rest of my furniture!

We have a mix of Bubinga, Cocobolo and mahogany furniture, it would be cool to match the tap handles to the rest

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:07 AM   #7
ThatOneGuy
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Mar 2010
minnesota
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I have been meaning to make some more also. I think combining other hobbys is a good way to think of ideas, so what else do you like to do?
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/my-n...handle-281469/

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:43 AM   #8
wolfareno
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I'm getting ready to make a handle for a buddy of mine out of a signed baseball. To me, a homemade tap handle is a great reminder of the fruits of your labor, so I think your handles should be something special to you. I don't care much for the labels, but I think it is neat if you can pour a beer for someone and then tell them a story of how the handle came to be.

Just my 2c.

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
nvr2low
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Dec 2008
Liverpool, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bestbrewtap View Post
I wonder how hard she pulled on the handle to get it to shatter and cut her so bad. my perlics with the cheap short plastic handle that comes with them takes little to no pressure, I have to imagine a handle with any length to it wouldn't take much more than on finger to operate. although completely possible, especially if the glass was stressed or fractured, I wonder if there is more to the story....

 
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
bestbrewtap
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May 2011
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I suspect those tap handles were mistreated. However, have you ever looked closely at the poured plastic ones in a bar? They usually get spider fractures around the bottom. Bartenders also slap at the handles too.

I prefer nice wooded ones though. If they do break, they shouldn't leave sharp bits.



 
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