Category Archives: Tap Handles

Mein Bierwagen

My wife and I throw our annual Strausstoberfest party every year on the last Saturday in September.  This occurs during the traditional Oktoberfest celebration.  Oktoberfest is synonymous with beer, awesome food and a certain amount of over the top pomp and circumstance.  For the last part, I decided that the beer I’ve spent the last 2+ months caring for MUST have a grand entrance.

Difficulty: level_3

This project just requires some basic building skills, but you might need some help getting the keezer onto the Bierwagen.

Time Required:

An afternoon for the build of the cart.  Longer if you want to paint or stain it.

Posts for this Project:

Part 1: Introduction (this post)
Part 2: Building of the frame
Part 3: Bicycle wheel attachment
Part 4: Getting the keezer onto the Bierwagen
Part 5: Keezer collar
Part 6: Storage of the Bierwagen

Overview:

Here I am rolling out the Bierwagen.  Notice the tap handles I made in the post Super Easy Tap Handles.

015-1 Roll out the Bierwagen

Here I am “tapping the keg” with my son looking on.  o’zapft is!

015-1 Tapping the Bier

Here is a 2015 update.  I’ve got my Hipster Cream Ale WBHY 3D printed tap handle as well as a 3D printed Darth Vader bust added to my Super Easy Tap Handles.

015-Strausstoberfest 2015 Bierwagen

The “rolling chassis”.  It uses the front wheels from my bike and my wife’s bike.  We don’t use them much in the fall, so why not be resourceful and use them?

015-1 Rolling chassis

The Bierwagen works in concert with my Keezer Dolly.

015-1 Keezer dolly onto Bierwagen

Nothing too novel here, just another keezer collar and my Ranco temperature controller mounted on back.

015-1 Ranco mounted on back

Stay tuned for my updates on the build for this project.

Up next…

Building of the frame

Like this post?

Consider sharing on your favorite social hangout or making a small donation to help me purchase something to make another post.

 

Super Easy Tap Handles

Ok, so the big party is two days away and you realize that in your months of planning down to the last detail, you actually forgot one important detail.

Beer…Check

Keezer cart…Check

New faucet system…Check

Method to actuate said faucet system…DOH!!!!

A weekend of brewing followed by 9+ weeks of TLC and lagering of your Oktoberfest beer.  This needed some representation.  A couple pairs of vice-grips were not going to work in this situation.

Difficulty: level_2

Time Required:

Once you have collected all of the supplies, about an hour max.  More if you are also going to paint and design your own labels.

Cost:

Less than $10 for two tap handles

Required:

009-Brass Insert

3/8″-16 Brass threaded inserts

009-Spindle
1x wooden staircase spindle

Tools:

Chop saw or miter saw
Some sort of vice or clamping system
Hand drill and drill bits up to 1/2″

Insertion tool (optional if you plan ahead, not an option if only have days).  Make sure you get the 3/8″-16 version.  As of 5/31/14, the price was $10.99 at Rockler.

Insert_tool

 

Or there are T-handle designs

t-handle_insertion_tool

Alternately, you could use a 3/8″-16 threaded bolt and two corresponding nuts, which I also didn’t have on hand at the time of build.  If you are doing these often, I would get a tool.  If not, maybe make the call yourself on how MacGyver you want to get.

How it’s made:

Cut handles to length

First, you need to cut off the little nubbin on the end of your spindle (if applicable).

009-Spindle nubbin

Then, decide how long you want your tap handles to be and cut each of the fancy ends off of the spindle to your desired length.  Try to cut perpendicular to the spindles axis.  I used a quick clamp to hold it to my miter saw (basically because I had misplaced the super handy integrated clamp that went with the saw).

009-cutting spindle

Drill holes

Using your vice or whatever clamping system you fancy, get your tap handle secured for drilling.  If you are seriously cool and have a lathe or a drill press, go for it.  I tried a hole drilling jig, but the problem is that the spindles do not have nice constant diameter sections, which made squaring up the jig virtually impossible.

Drill progressively larger holes in the bottom end of the tap handle to work your way up to a 1/2″ hole.  If you have the means, I highly suggest you don’t drill off center as I have obviously done in these pictures.

009-drill bits

009-drill 1

009-drill 2

009-drill 3

Install the insert

009-install brass insert 1

009-install brass insert 2

November 2, 2014 update:  You’ll see further down alternate methods to install the insert.  This picture directly below shows my most recent “tool-less” method.  I use a standard 3/8-16 bolt along with a wing nut.  You thread the wing nut onto the bolt as shown, then also thread the brass insert almost fully onto the bolt.  Then tighten the wingnut to the brass insert.  You can then use this assembly to thread the insert into the tap handle.  When the brass insert is fully installed, just undo the wing nut and unthread the bolt.

009-alternate install method

Here is the “proper” method below:

Insert_tool

My initial MacGuyver method:

I don’t know how this worked out, but I needed something that would fit in the slot and help me screw the insert in.  I ended up using a cheapie wrench that came with some sort of put-it-together-yourself furniture.

These are hard to get started straight, so do your best. Usually they pull themselves straight after the first full thread or two. If not, you may want to back it out and start again.

009-install brass insert 3

NOTE: This is NOT the proper way to do this.  I just made do with what I had.  If you plan ahead, get an insertion tool or use the bolt method I mentioned above.

Getting the insert flush with the bottom takes a little extra “ingenuity”.

009-install brass insert 4

Finishing

Alright, so it’s functional at this point and you could go ahead and use it.  If you want to make it a little more presentable, you could sand and paint it and add labels.  For painting, I just used a 3/8″-16 bolt I had and used it as a handle while I spray painted.  You can also stain as I did on some other tap handles.  Before you apply your labels, I would suggest threading the tap handles onto the faucets and determine which orientation is best for not looking crooked.  If you drilled the holes by hand this is imperative.  If you drilled using a method that is guaranteed straight, proceed at will.

009-Ready to paint

The first year, I designed some labels and my crafty wife stained the handles, did the burned edge treatment on the labels and sealed them with some mod podge.

 

009-Stained tap handle

These are my painted versions for my Dunkel and Rye PA.

009-painted tap handles

There you have it folks.  Super easy tap handles.

Like this post?

Consider making a small donation or share on your favorite social hangout.