As many daily espresso drinkers will tell you, the process of making coffee in the morning is more than a merely a procedure For me it's a ritual, and on some days, an obsession. As such, many espresso makers seek to improve their experience of making espresso drinks by modifying their machines, even if only in ornamental ways like replacing the portafilter handle. Was there anything wrong with the old factory made plastic handle? Absolutely not - check it out in the last picture in the photos above. Why make it better? In the words of my friend randofo, simply because we can.
Step 1: Materials
The hardest part of the whole project was probably removing the old black plastic handle. Held on with a long bolt inside of the handle, it was extremely difficult to remove using a socket wrench since the hole in the handle where the bolt was located was so small that it did not allow the socket to fit inside. I have heard of thin-walled socket heads, which might have fit down the small hole, but I don't have any at my shop. No matter, I simply cut off most of the handle exposing the bolt much closer to the source, thus making it easy to get the socket head on to remove.
Once the old handle was off, we gathered up a hand saw, the wood and some whittling knives and set out to select a piece of wood that had a sufficient diameter to accept the mounting shaft on the portafilter. We came up with the candidates in the photo above.
To continue with the project we also ended up using:
- angle grinder with sanding disk
- random orbital palm sander
- sand paper for hand sanding
- chisel and drill press to cut the mortise in the handle
- "Good Stuff" rub on varnish