These elegant, yet rustic, hand made beer tap handles and pulls, made to fit the standard sized kegerator or jockey box, are magnetized so that the user and beer knurd can customize the handles to reflect what kind of draft beer he/she has on tap, the name of their home pub or brewery, their own name or initials or of any sports team names or logos that they may want or need for their home needs. Each one is composed of a custom ceramic clay topper matched with a hand created, hard wood base handle that has a magnet buried inside. The handle is magnetized so that the handle tags (see photos) can be removed and snapped off and on to reflect the users beer needs of the moment. Each tap handle comes standard with 2 interchangable magnetic tags but more tags can be agreed upon at a higher rate.
These handles can be designed with sports teams, initials, custom logos (within reason), my own design, your pub or brewery name, marriage vow or dates, anniversary dates, birthdays, your last name, initials, whatever you'd like that can be molded out of clay. Bear in mind that some designs may necessitate a higher price than what is listed here, especially if the design for the tap topper is a 3-dimensional design. All flat, 2-D designs should fit into the price range mentioned here, though.
These make incredible gifts! I have several mythical legend styles that cost the least that are quite cool. (Contact me for more examples and see the photos for others.) You can have the main piece be one of these set designs, such as the "Tree of Life" and then customize the magnetic tags for a relatively inexpensive piece that's really impressive. The tap handle examples in the main 9 handle photo are each priced at $125.00 US dollars.
These handles are also available in 2 smaller handle sizes but will be without the magnetized tags on the wooden portion. These smaller sizes are perfect for party jockey boxes and portable beer cooler distribution systems. The smaller sized pulls can usually be negotiated at a lower price, depending on the custom logo or design of the tap topper.
In order to keep in line with my design sensibilities, I usually create these with 4 finishes in mind: 2 Glazes (Moss Green and Tornado Sky) and 2 Acrylic Finishes (Gold with Bronze Patina and Hammered Bronze.) Though the glazed pieces take two trips through my kiln and therefore take a bit longer, these four finishes can be purchased at the lower price levels.
How they're made: After you and I have established what you require and I have confirmed the tap topper design with photos, I get to work on creating your custom topper out of Longhorn White Earthenware clay. If requested, I will send you a photo of the completed piece while it is still in it's raw clay form for your approval. Once the piece has fully dried, I'll bisque fire it into it's permanently hard form in my kiln, firing to cone 04, 1988 degrees. The product comes out as a fully vitrified white bisque topper, as seen in the photo. I create the 2 custom magnetized tags that come with the base price of each piece in the same way.
Meanwhile, while ceramic items are drying or firing, I'm creating your wooden handle, fitting it with the correct mounting ring for your kegerator, cutting and trimming it, sanding it, shaping it and, finally, staining and sealing it with an acrylic sealant to a lovely lustre. Each handle is then fitted with a strong Rare Earth magnet.
If your handle requires a glaze, I then hand glaze each piece with 2 coats of glaze and leave it to dry fully again. Then, each takes another trip through my kiln, this time fired only to cone 05, 1845 degrees. The glaze melts and adheres to the clay bisqueware beneath and your tap topper, complete with a shiny new permanent finish, is born!
If your handle requires a painted finish, I wipe the piece down and then let it dry for an hour. Then, I carefully apply 3 light layers of spray paint to the custom top piece, allowing plenty of dry time between each layer. These are then left to dry outside until they've matured fully. Magnetic tags are finished in the same way.
Once the toppers are fully fired and finished, the two pieces are joined together, via a screw embedded into the wood and a hole in the topper, with a VERY strong adhesive. They are then carefully left to dry while the adhesive hardens. Magnetic tags are attached permanently to their magnets and your handle is complete and ready to ship.
Pricing is flexible depending on your needs. If you require a different finish, the price will be adjusted accordingly based upon the finish requested. Prices will also be considered and adjusted to reflect the difficulty of the design and execution of the piece. Prices do not include shipping, handling and possible taxes. We'll figure those out when you contact me.
Please know that I respectfully retain the design rights to my designs and my designs are not intended to be re-used or copied in any way for mass production. Violators of this provision will be prosecuted. If you desire a design to be mass produced, however, please contact me and we'll work something out.
I've been creating these handles professionally for over 2 years and very much enjoy creating custom tap handle pieces for custom brewers. Thank you for considering my handles and thank you for considering me as your artist. I hope to hear from you soon!
~April C. Hilland