Build Your Own Faucet




When I discovered I needed a new faucet for my laundry room sink I didnt want to choose between a cheap faucet that will only last a few years and an expensive one. I decided to build my own.
The faucet is made from 1/2" copper pipe and solder fittings, two ball valves, and two 3/8 threaded fittings.
The specific pipe lengths, configuration, and installation will vary based on your needs and tastes so I leave that for each person to determine what will work best in their situation.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Drill and drill bits
Hand saw
Tape Measure
Combination square
Pipe cutter
Steel wool
Safety glasses
Heat resistant gloves (not pictured)

For soldering:
Wire pipe brush
Sand paper
Solder flux
Brush (for applying flux)

Wooden blocks (One 8 in length the other 3-1/2 in)
Bolts of greater length than the width of the block
All pipe materials have 1/2" solder joints:
2 Ball valves
3 90 degree elbows (I bought extra in case of problems with soldering)
1 T-joint
2 3/8 threaded converters for attaching supply hoses
1 3/8 pipe thread to 3/4 hose thread adapter
Copper pipe

Step 2: Building the Base

The spacing of the supply hookups on a normal faucet is 4". You want to ensure that the pipes go through the existing holes in your sink.
Begin by using the combination square to draw two lines at 2" from each side of the 8 board. Then mark the half way point of each line. Use these points to center the 1/2" holes. Once these holes have been drilled use a hand saw to cut from the end of the board into the hole.
Mark 4 spots on the edge of the board in equal locations 3/8" from the edge and in the center. At each of these locations drill a hole that is large enough for the shaft of the bolt. A larger hole will provide more leeway and will be helpful in ensuring that the two holes line up. A drill press will be very helpful in this step but a hand drill and a steady hand will also work.
Once the holes are drilled push the bolts all the way through, attach the nuts, but do not tighten them yet.
As the base will often be exposed to water sealing and painting will help prevent decay and increase the life span of your faucet.

Step 3: Pipe Cutting and Fitting

The Pipe cutter I used is much larger than necessary. A hack saw will also work fine. Measure all of the pieces carefully to ensure that project fits together well. Compare lengths of pipe that are intended to be the same size to ensure symmetry.
To solder the joints:
1. Observe safety precautions. Read labels on the solder and flux and follow the listed safety procedures. Always wear safety glasses and gloves. Work in a well ventilated area as flux and solder can produce toxic fumes. Use lead free solder to ensure no contamination of the water in the faucet or to you during assembly.
2. Wire brush the fitting and sand the pipe
3. Wipe both clean
4. Apply soldering flux to both surfaces to be soldered, be careful not to over apply. Avoid skin contact by using a small brush.
5. Fit the pieces together.
6. Heat the pipe and fitting with the torch
7. Move the torch away and apply solder. There should be enough to go all the way around the pipe. Be careful not to over apply.
8. Observe caution as the pipe will be very hot. And the solder may remain soft until it has cooled completely.

Step 4: Assembling the Pipes and Fittings

The exact length of the pipes used will depend on the specific situation. Start by connecting the 3/8 threaded fittings to two equal lengths of pipe. Press the unsoldered end up through the holes in the base so that the threaded fittings are on the bottom. Make sure the length of pipe above the board is equal and tighten the bolts.
Attach the valves making sure that they both have room to turn freely.
Once the valves are in place connect both to the T fitting using elbows. The center of the T fitting should face forward as this is where you will attach the pipe that caries water to the sink. Use a piece of pipe to ensure that it does not interfere with the valves.
Fit an elbow onto the final piece to direct the flow of water downward. Adding a 3/8” threaded piece and the hose adapter will allow you to screw hoses onto your sink.
It is wise to cut and fit all pieces before soldering to ensure they all fit together properly.

Step 5: Testing

The 3/8 pipe thread to 3/4 hose thread will allow you to fit a garden hose to the bottom of the faucet. This will allow you to check one side at a time. Connect the hose, you may need a coupler as both ends will be male, and check for leaks. Wiping the faucet dry will ensure you spot any problems.

Step 6: Cleaning Up the Copper

A file will let you remove large pieces of solder that may have dripped during fitting. Steel wool will clean the copper without leaving harsh or obvious scratch marks.

Step 7: Installation

After you are satisfied that the joints are sound and the faucet looks attractive you can install it in your sink. Shut off the water and open the old tap so the water can drain. Shut-off valves are notoriously problematic use penetrating or a lubricant (such as WD-40) and be careful not to turn it too hard. Forcing a frozen shut-off valve can lead to serious troubles.
Fit the pipes through the holes in your sink and make sure the base sits flat. You can use the third hole, often used for the drain stop lever, to screw or bolt the base of the faucet to the other, small wooden block.
In the case of my laundry room the sink is plastic and I was able to drill through it. The best way to secure your faucet depends on your specific situation.
Once the faucet is secure attach the supply hoses. Plumbers putty or plumbers tape applied to the threads of the faucet will help ensure that the connection does not leak.
Once you are satisfied with the connection turn on the water supply. Check all connections. Wipe the faucet dry and look for leaks. Watch the area over the next few days to spot any slow leaks or drips.



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    75 Discussions

    Multiclass Mage

    Question 3 months ago on Introduction

    I've been considering making my own faucets and was looking at using these more reliable lever ball valves. But I have since read that they are not built for gradual increments — it's either on or off; in-between settings are apparently much harder to adjust for and they can supposedly erode the internal mechanism and also cause water hammering. Can you tell us what have you found by actual experience with this?

    1 answer
    RiceFlavoredGumMulticlass Mage

    Answer 4 weeks ago

    Ball valves are not designed for throttling, but globe valves (also known as stop valves) are inexpensive and commonly available valves that are designed for throttling. Using ball valve for throttling will cause the valve to wear out faster, according to valve manufacturer. Sorry if my English is bad as it is my second language.


    10 months ago

    Love Love Love!!! This is really becoming popular even in high end kitchens. I wonder if you can cover the copper in other finishes too? I really want to try my hand at making my own faucet.


    1 year ago

    ??? What's with all the "it's ugly" talk? Hasn't anyone heard your grandma say " if you can't say anything nice..." I think it is a great looking project and I'm sure a labor of love... Great job!

    that is so awesome that is how I am going to make the facettes for my wine making room.

    Squid Tamer

    9 years ago on Introduction

    At first I thought it was really ugly, but the more I looked the more beautiful it looked. A simple elegance, what with the slightly differently colored valves and the polished copper. If the wood was stained and lacquered it would look like a weird fusion of ugly home brew and fine woodwork/plumbing.

    2 replies
    pribichSquid Tamer

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    If I install this sort of faucet in a bathroom I'll likely spend a lot more time making it look pretty. Also I don't have a lot of experience sweating pipes, so you can see in some places where the excess solder shows.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That is why you wipe your sweat joints with a nasty flux rag while they're still hot, to knock off the excess solder. Sort of slobs the solder a little further on the pipes though. I think your joints look good.

    T L Cary

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I built something very similar and ran it out through the wall so I could have warm water to the hose bib for the kids. The problem I found was that with the hose bib closed and both valves open the cold water ran back through the hot water pipes to the house. Just something to watch for, or add check valves. Nicely done, and I haven't had any troubles with the valves, just tighten up the caps once a year.

    1 reply
    pfred2T L Cary

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You beat me to it but setups like this can backfeed cold water to the hot supply. Laundry faucets are pretty cheap/free so I'd never go this route myself. Other than the block of wood this setup looks OK to me though.

    2 stroke

    8 years ago on Introduction

    i dont have a propane torch can i use my stick welder im not sure if that weld copper i does weld steel if it doesn't ill use my whole assortment of stainless steel pipes

    4 replies
    2 stroke 2 stroke

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    as a plus can you tell me how to get hot water to the garage i dont think of it as a necisity though is it possible to bild this with only a cold water tap i really need a sink in the garage hat clean paint brushes and parts with the hose outside

    pribich2 stroke

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think the stick welder will work because it will likely get much hotter than you need. Luckily you can likely get a basic propane torch pretty cheap at most hardware stores. Even a small refillable torch lighter can work since it takes very little heat to melt the solder. If you are looking for a hot water line you'll need to run a line from the the nearest plumbing spot. One of the easiest ways is to use pex tubbing with sharkbite fittings. It will be much more simple to do that compared to running copper tubing. Let me know how it goes.

    2 stroke pribich

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    di need to look for a drain too the problem is that the drain and hot water is at least about 100 feet away there is a copper pipe runnig accross where i wan the sink and the pipe leads to a garden hose spigot outside can i tap into that copper pipe with a tee fitting and run a stainless steel sink ill get at he scrap yard off that and drain the water outside into a curbside storm drain or into the floor drain in the basemet rite beside the garage underneath

    pribich2 stroke

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I would highly recommend using a floor drain. The storm drain outside drains directly to local waterways, thus the paints, solvents, and such from your sink will wind up directly in nearby streams. Floor drains are often connected to the city sewer system.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    good idea, I would only replace wooden base with ceramic base (made from cut bathroom ceramic tile). Ceramic material is better water resistant than wood.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I like that idea. The nice thing about wood is that you can put the two small bolts through it to hold the faucet in place. Though if you have a solution I'd love to hear it because it would work a lot better.