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Alamo beer (King of the Hill) tap handle (pic heavy)

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FloppyKnockers

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My first keg set-up had two taps so I made a pair of tap handles (shameless plug) that features beers from The Simpsons and Family Guy. Since my latest bar build (another shameless plug) I gained a tap. So I took this opportunity to make a third tap handle from another one of my favorite animated shows - King of the Hill.

This was sort of a challenge because unlike Duff and Pawtucket, Alamo beer has a very generic label, no mascot, and no tag lines. I had to break out with some artistic license on this one.

My references included the can and the brewery that was featured in only one show to my recollection.
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I recently got a little desktop CNC router and thought this would be a great first project. I put the design in my head into a web-based program called Easel. It's pretty fun with a really shallow learning curve.
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I first started with a hunk of maple cut to size and planed smooth. I put two saw kerfs in the bottom for the CNC clamps to hold onto.
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I used clothing dye to pre-color the red bit of the handle. This was mostly in vein because I ended up altering the design to carve deeper and cutting the red off. It did act as a great cut line though.
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Off to the races! This thing is super fun to watch. I didn't watch it all as it took upwards of 6 hours to cut the whole thing.
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After it was done I flipped it over to do a little cutting on the back.
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The burrs/fuzzies were really easy to clean up with some 220 grit.

Now that it's cut I can head over to my tenoning jig to start cutting out the shape.
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More to come...
 

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FloppyKnockers

FloppyKnockers

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Before we get too far and we still have a flat top, I want to install the threaded insert. A 1/2" pilot hole will do fine. I got some questions in my previous handles about the proper way to thread in the insert. Let me get detailed here...

The slotted portion of the insert is not for a screwdriver. It is to help carve the threads and clear shavings. So the slotted end goes in first. The best way to get that guy in there is to thread two nuts onto a threaded rod then the insert on the rod. tighten the nuts against each other (known as a jam nut) and the insert against that. Then chuck the rod into your UNPLUGGED drill press as shown.
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Now you can turn the chuck by hand threading the insert into your piece. Make sure to add some glue or epoxy to some of the threads to prevent the insert coming out during handle changes.
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Once the insert reaches depth you can un-thread the piece from the rod. Ta-da!
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Back at the table saw with the blade tilted I can make another taper along the front and back. I could not safely use the tenoning jig for this so I clamped my work piece to a scrap piece of wood that rode along top of the fence. Before I got a tenoning jig, I would make all my cheek cut like this.
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Here it is with the base cut out. Now the top portion. This is where I realized I made a bit of an error in my design. In hindsight, I should have left my original design, but added an outline for the CNC to trace. Then I could have rough cut it and trimmed it up at the router table with a flush bit. Instead, I had to build a jig with some toggle clamps, cut what I could with the table saw, then finish up with some chisels and sandpaper. All part of the learning process.
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With the final cuts reveling its shape we can start coloring. I decided to go blue on the top and a red "Alamo". the dot and the base will stay their natural maple color. Here it is taped off for the blue part.
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I was going for a bit of a rustic, weathered feel so I got out the airbrush and hit it with some thinned, transparent, ultramarine blue. I went a little heavier on the top and bottom while leaving the middle a little thin.
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No need to tape the blue off. I used a small paintbrush to apply more red clothing dye. To keep with the weathered look, I didn't attempt to blend to color. Just brush it on then blot off the excess.
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As far as the 'Alamo' letters go, I wanted them white, but knew I couldn't paint them as they would yellow under the clear finish. So I grabbed a piece of scrap PVC base board, trimmed it up a bit, and put it on the CNC to cut out the letters. I didn't go all the way through. Just deep enough to run the piece through the table saw so the letters would separate.
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The CNC and table saw left some pretty rough edges. A little work with an Xacto and some 600 grip paper will smooth them up and ease the edges.
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Almost there. Finished handle coming soon!
 
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FloppyKnockers

FloppyKnockers

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As far as the finish goes; I applied several coats of automotive clear. I waited to glue the letters in until after I worked the finish smooth through 1500 grit. This is also to prevent the letters from yellowing under the finish.
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All done! It goes nicely with the other two handles completing my collection. This was super fun to do and I learned a whole bunch about CNC programs and apps. I now have new words and terminology in my vocabulary such as Audrino, Grbl, and steps/mm.
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Thanks for checking it out!
 
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FloppyKnockers

FloppyKnockers

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There really is Alamo beer. Found this in my desk drawer, from a trip to San Antonio several years ago.

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I couldn't help but to find the real Alamo beer in my Google searches which made finding references for the animated Alamo even more challenging. I do want to try Alamo now though.
 

MaxStout

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If you pm an address to me I'll send you that coaster. Be a good accent piece to go with your project. I have way too many coasters as it is.
 

Cartman98

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The Alamo brewery is awesome, it's only been around a few years. I'd hang out down there regularly when I lived there. It is right downtown with great views of the the city. Good beer, they tend to stick to German styles.
 
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