Introduction: Stone Inlay Tap Handle
Whether you brew your own libations at home, or just consume enough of them to keep a tap on hand, the simplest way to spice up your kegerator is with a custom handle. It’s a quick, easy project on the lathe and there’s tons of room for creativity.
Step 1: Roughing Out
I chose red oak for my tap handle, but you can choose any wood. I went with a simple tapered shape, but again, this is up to you! Start by roughing out the shape for your handle on the lathe. Then add some grooves for your stone inlay.
Step 2: Stone Inlay First Pass
Add stone to the grooves with thin CA glue to hold everything together. Continue all the way around the handle to fill the entire groove. Then use a carbide tool or HSS scraper to cut the stone down flush to the wood.
Step 3: Stone Inlay Second Pass
This will look pretty rough if you just make one pass for the stone inlay. Continue using finer and finer stone to fill in the tiny gaps until the inlay is perfectly smooth.
Step 4: Finishing and Threading
American tap handles have a standard 3/8” 16 TPI threads. To install the threaded insert I first drilled out a ½” hole. Then I used a bolt with two nuts jammed on to apply the twisting force. The insert has some paste wax, and I just kept constant pressure with the tailstock while I twisted the tap handle by hand. The finish is polymerized tung oil which I really like.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Beer in Style!
Carving your own handle out of solid wood on a lathe for the sole purpose of dispensing beer covers about four of your man card obligations. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in contact with me here, on my YouTube channel, or on my website. Thanks for taking a look!