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  • Fred

Wood and beer...

Well, I got another special request from an old friend. This time, to make him a couple of beer tap handles! I've thought of doing this before, but my kegerator has been out of commission for about two years (it's also a fridge, so it has food in it now), so I was glad to accept this challenge.

I decided to tackle the more difficult of the two tap handles first. I met my friend when we both attended The University of Virginia, so it was no surprise that he wanted a UVa themed tap handle. I suppose I could have carved the Rotunda or maybe a bust of Thomas Jefferson, but I decided to go with something a bit simpler and more recognizable: the old style Virginia "V".

As with many unplanned craft projects, this one starts out by stealing my sons' glue stick. They use it to make snowmobiles and stuff. I printed out the logo in question and pasted it to a block of poplar.

I then did an initial trimming off of excess wood on the band saw.

After trimming off some excess, I began to chisel out the outline of the letters. This would basically transfer the logo to the wood so I can take the paper off and do some real carving.

After completing the outline, I sanded the paper off of the wood to see how I did.

Not too shabby. The tough parts were the R and the G. Those round lines are tough to get just right when you're using chisels that don't have that exact curve. I ended up making both of them using the small carving knife and making a bunch of tiny little cuts.

There were several intermediate steps before the next picture, but they're pretty easily explained. I carved out the letters and began to carve out the big V. I also began to carve away some of the wood around the outside, but I decided to just head back to the bandsaw and cut away the excess. After cutting the excess, I went back to the chisels to clean up the edges and shape everything how I wanted it.

I also grabbed the dremel with some tiny little dentist-style carving bits to get into the tiny spaces of the letters and smooth those out. It would take some really, really small chisels to get in there.

The final step today was to do some touch up on the oscillating spindle sander. I'm not quite done with the V, but it's getting pretty close. I'll probably do a bit more smoothing out of the front and do a bit of texturing on the back and the edges.

I'll keep you updated. Thanks for reading!

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