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  • Fred

Tapping, tapping at my chamber door...

It’s been a beer-tap handle making kind of week. In addition to the popular Roundel beer tap handles that I’ve been making, I had a couple of special requests this week.

One TPN member has a good friend who is a former Marine who owns a beer bar. He wanted to get a special and unique gift for his friend for Christmas. Sounds like it’s right up my alley! Like the second handle that I made this week, I was given design responsibility as well. I like when that happens.

My charge was to make a USMC – inspired beer tap handle. Well, I’m inspired by the USMC, so I had to take this opportunity to go overboard. You can see it in the pictures – the left side says “The Few”, the right side says “The Proud” and it says USMC down the front. Of course, the Globe and anchor tops the whole thing off. I’m no Michelangelo, but I think it turned out recognizable. Carving the ropes and making them go in front of and behind the anchor was pretty challenging and fun.

My second custom beer tap handle request this week was from a friend who I had already made two handles for (and a helmet display stand!). As his kegerator has all of the taps pretty close together, he needed a shorty tap handle to squeeze in between the larger two I already made for him. One of his handles is a University of Virginia handle (note the Edgar Allen Poe title of this article). The other is a kind of generic handle with a big flat spot on the front to put a beer label on.

Since he already had a UVa handle and his wife went to U-Dub, he asked for a U-Dub themed handle for her. It had to be small, so not too complex, but I thought the plain University of Washington “W” was a bit understated. I went with the W with a Husky across it. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

Both of these handles are carved out of a single piece of poplar and finished with polyurethane (this keeps them good and water/beer-proof). I didn’t paint either handle. Especially when you’re working with easily-recognizable logos like the Marine Corps and U-Dub, if the color were just a bit off, it would be obvious. Also, using the torch and then finishing with polyurethane looks great. Just carved and not painted sculptures often look two-dimensional, but adding a bit of fire highlights the edges and makes the wood grain stand out. Also, not having several colors of custom paint keeps the customer’s cost down.

I hope to have more fun stuff for you to check out next week.

Thanks for reading!

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