CustomTap Handles #1: The Nitty Gritty

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Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 09-02-2012 12:04 AM 2032 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of CustomTap Handles series Part 2: Patience Pays Off »

OK, that might seem like a strange title for a work in progress but I think after you see this project you”ll understand the reason. I’ve been doing Intarsia for a long time and pride myself in putting lots of detail into my pieces by using only natural colored wood, detail carving and using lots of itty bitty pieces to add as much realism as I can to my work.
Last week I was asked to make some custom Beer Tap Handles for a guy here in town that has his own home brewery. He sent me a photo of the logo that he has and asked if I could carve or etch the logo onto the handle somehow.

Picture of logo

Don’t do much carving or etching I said but I do Intarsia which is a unique type of woodworking that might be something you’d like to see. Invited him to the shop to see some of my work. We discussed pricing, woods, sizes and I was given the go-ahead to get em done as an intarsia. Talk about a challenge!!! Like I said, I like working with small pieces but I gotta tell you , I might have bitten off more than I can chew with this project.
Just to give an idea of the size of these things, the total width of the logo is 4 1/4” so keeping the scale correct means that the inlay has to be contained in a 3 ” circle. So the letters are less than 1/4” tall. I’ve cut some pretty small pieces before but to cut and fit letters this small and inlay them into a background—well that’s just getting down to the nitty gritty part of this type of work.

That little black spec is the letter “E”

So after a little trial and error (LOTS) and learning a few new cutting and sanding techniques here is the first of 4 Rabid Otter logo’s. Still have to turn the handle and glue everything in but I do like a challenge.

-- Mike --

9 comments so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3910 days

#1 posted 09-02-2012 12:39 AM

WOW!!!!!! GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View chrisstef's profile


17424 posts in 3031 days

#2 posted 09-02-2012 01:28 AM

I cant imagine sawing anything that small. I am honestly astounded that you managed to pull that off, simply amazing.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2829 days

#3 posted 09-02-2012 10:39 AM

Wow! I need a magnifying glass. That is small but very big in quality

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3127 days

#4 posted 09-02-2012 06:47 PM

I’d say your work is great and the logo is terrible….............

-- mike...............

View Julian's profile


1348 posts in 2715 days

#5 posted 09-04-2012 05:14 PM

That is some amazing work. Please post more pictures how you made the bear tap handle.

-- Julian

View pat sherman's profile

pat sherman

621 posts in 4397 days

#6 posted 09-18-2012 01:43 PM

wow. so tiny and yet so readable. hope you get paid well forthat. how in the world did you cut such small letters without losing a finger or two.

-- pat,ohio...

View Zelbar's profile


74 posts in 3566 days

#7 posted 09-18-2012 02:39 PM

Wow I would go crosseyed

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#8 posted 09-18-2012 08:01 PM

Excellent work on this Mike. I can’t think that your customer will be anything but happy with it. Small work is the most difficult, so kudos for taking on the challenge these represent.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View davedarlene's profile


29 posts in 3322 days

#9 posted 09-18-2012 11:47 PM

Excellent job, I’d go blind making such details!

-- David W./Central Florida

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