In this instructable, I will walk you through how to create a basic wooden tap handle that can be used on any kegorator or serving faucet where a tap handle is found.  The design possibilities are endless, but you should follow a few basic steps to end up with a great handle.

Wood lathes are typically used to turn things such as spindles, bowls, pepper mills, pens and bottle stoppers.  This makes it the perfect tool for turning something like a tap handle.

Unlike most woodworking tools, the lathe is not based on precise measurements or straight cuts.  It’s the artists’ favorite tool in the wood shop – which is why I love it.  It is about working the wood and not fighting it, creating something that flows with the shape of the wood.

That being said, there is definitely some technique to learn.  You’ll have to learn how to make the basic cuts on a lathe, such as beads and coves, and you’ll need to learn how to use a few tools – a spindle gouge, a roughing gouge, and a skew are all good ones for using on a tap handle.  Obviously, there are others, but those are the basics.

You can learn the basics in a couple hours at a class, or from some YouTube videos, then it’s just taking the time to practice.  I made it at TechShop, which is a great place to get started, especially if you don't have a wood lathe readily available.

Step 1: Select your wood

You first need to decide what type and size of wood you want to use for your tap handle.  Some woods are easier to turn than others, and all varieties have different colors and patterns.  There is a great selection and a knowledgeable staff at Woodcraft in Raleigh (or shop online).

As far as the size of the wood, I have found that anywhere from 1.25" to 2" thick can make for a good tap handle, it just depends on how large you want the finished product to be.

The length can be variable.  I often purchase a long piece of wood and make several handles out of the same wood.  However, I would not recommend trying to turn a tap handle much smaller than about 4 inches, or much larger than 12 inches.  Obviously it can be done, but the best tap handles that I have made are all within that range.  Longer pieces just increase the cost per handle.

Some woods that I have used to make great handles are tamboti, cumaru and timborana (all were on sale at Woodcraft at the time I wrote this instructable), but your options are endless.
<p>Where did you buy the tap handle showed in the picture?</p><p>http://cdn.instructables.com/FJM/46CC/H7HY7LND/FJM46CCH7HY7LND.LARGE.jpg</p>
<p>Thanks for the info!!! Great advice! Where do you get the thread inserts? Are they standard enough to go to the local home improvement store to get them.</p><p>Also on the turning end... if you have a drill chuck for the end of the lathe you could put a 1/2&quot; bit and drill on absolute center on the pull. :) </p><p>Mine is coming along nicely thanks to your info and Ill post pics after its done.</p>
what do the female tap threads need to be???? 1/4-20???
They are 3/8 - 16
These look great! My roommates just splurged on an old Kegerator with a boring off brand beer tap handle. If I had access to a lathe I would totally do this! If only the Tech Shop weren't 100 miles away.
BYO magazine ran a good article about custom tap handles that don't require a lathe. There are lots of other options using spindles and scrap wood as well. Several on homebrewtalk.com as well.

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