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:
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.