Full disclosure on this - Olan did give me the handles in exchange for the review. However, I almost declined because I felt like it was possible I wouldn't give them a fair review. My retired father makes my tap handles now, and has given me some very nice examples that he's turned on his lathe. My dad uses a variety of hardwoods he has on hand - walnut, cherry, hickory, oak - and I'm very proud of them all. I knew it would be a tough hill to overcome to earn a spot on my keezer. I'm a pretty fair guy though, so I agreed.
After waiting somewhat impatiently for the handle to arrive, I was finally able to unwrap what Olan gave me and I was pleasantly surprised with not one but two handles - one from the Session Series well as one from the Seasonal Series. My first impression was "WOW", the wood selection was absolutely phenomenal. My second impression was "they're square". Not sure why, but I've been so used to my 'turned on the lathe' handles that the squareness stood out to me. They're a good size though, about 9 inches long and actually rectangular 2" x 1.5", and fit nicely over the tap handles. I would suspect even with the closest of spacing on your taps, they would fit fine.
Flame birch and maple/walnut
The first handle is the flame birch with a beautiful grain, really almost burled. The second handle is pinstripe maple/walnut - the alternating colors are very striking and beautiful in their own way. I cannot overstate how pretty the wood selection is for these handles, you can tell that a lot of effort was put in to selecting the right piece of wood for each of these.
Looking sharp on the keezer!
The handles that I was sent each contain a magnet and sign, which is an option for any of the handles he offers. The metal sign is covered in chalkboard paint so you can let all know what's on tap. The magnet itself is a rare earth magnet, strong enough where you'll want to use two hands to take the sign off of the handle, lest you open the tap. The magnet has been recessed the thickness of the sign, and a small notch has been cut into the handle, the sign fits flush when it's put on. For my taste though, I'd leave the signs off and just let the wood do the talking.
Metal signs with chalkboard paint and rare earth magnet.
A couple of nits to pick...
One of the brass inserts was not perfectly centered in the handle. I thought this would be a very bothersome to me since I can be rather picky. Once I put the handle on the faucet however, it was hardly noticeable.
Brass inserts, but note the offset one. Bah!
The woodburned/stamped logo on the side was only placed on one side - which is fine, but one was on the right of the handle, the other handle had it on the left. Again, my pickiness rears its ugly head. I have no doubt that you could request that the logo be placed on a particular side and Jeremy would oblige.
Awesome logo burned into the side of the handle
In summary, without a doubt, these are very nice tap handles, handles that will dress up any taps that you have. You can really tell that Jeremy puts thought in the selection of the wood in the pieces he creates. I'm proud to put these on my keezer.
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Tags for this post: tap, handle, handles, review, wood, custom, half, yankee, workshop