About This Site

Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Photos or tap descriptions used in this blog may not be misrepresented as your own. Photos may not be used for financial gain whatsoever, as the uniqueness of the photo would unfairly associate a seller's product and reputation with this site. Tap descriptions may be used word for word as long as this blog is cited as the source, and a link is provided to this site.

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Failure to follow the guidelines above is a violation of Copyright Law, which protects original works of ownership.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tap Handle Repairs and Repaints

One subject I haven't talked about much is repairs and repainting of tap handles. To hardcore collectors who only collect new or new in box taps, they'll have no interest in this subject. But for the rest of us, there are some important considerations we should think about when it comes to taps.

Most figural taps are made of resin. Resin can be poured as a liquid and cured as a solid, allowing it to be molded from an original sculpting (as opposed to wood or metal which must be carved or fabricated by man or machine). It also takes paint well, which, when combined with its molding properties, can make for some incredible-looking taps. The downside is that resin is fragile when it encounters forces that can cause chipping and breaking.

When you think about the limited runs of some taps, the use of them in bars and restaurants (where damage can easily occur), and the number that have been damaged or broken during shipping when packed poorly, some taps can be very hard to find. Any tap that can be "rescued", or repaired and repainted, should be considered as a way to preserve these limited collectibles.

I've mentioned my friend Kelly several times in this blog, mainly as the one who really grew the collection in the early years. Kelly also happens to be a talented artist, whose skills can bring a ruined tap back to life. He uses his talent and techniques that make it impossible to tell that a tap was ever broken, chipped, or missing paint. In some cases, Kelly can make a tap look better than the original.

A prime example of this is Kelly's Hobgoblin tap handle. We've managed to acquire some fantasy taps for Kelly - Chupacabra, Jester King, and Raven Special Lager being a few - and recently he acquired a Hobgoblin tap. As you can see from the photos to the left and right, the paint job on the Hobgoblin is not very attractive. There was also a good sized chip at the bottom of the tap.

After Kelly repaired the chip at the base, he began to repaint the tap. He decided to change the color palette, making the hobgoblin's skin green, and basically reinvented the tap with only his imagination as a guide. The results, pictured to the left and right, are astounding. Not only is it impossible to tell that the piece was repaired, the new color scheme is unique, and looks jaw-dropping. I see nothing wrong with  changing the color...which looks better: the tap that has an unattractive paint scheme and is chipped, or the repainted tap?

Poorly-done repairs, while "saving" the tap, can also detract from its appearance. It takes a skilled craftsperson to repair taps and make them look new again. If a tap is broken, it's better to leave it that way and let an expert fix it rather than trying to glue it back together...if a repair is done poorly, with globs of glue or features that no longer line up properly, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to restore. When selling taps, it's important to disclose that a tap has been repaired, even if it is hard or impossible to's just the right thing to do. However, it's okay to emphasize how good the repair is, and challenge buyers to even find evidence of the repair. When displaying repaired taps, a good repair will most likely go undetected by people viewing the collection, and to someone like me, who buys taps because I like them and not as an investment, that's just as good as having a new tap...


  1. Great article. The repair & new paint scheme you did on the Hobgoblin tap handle looks much better than the original. What brand name of resin repair do you use in your repairs? Do you use a fiberglass resin (which I think would be too hard and brittle) or is there some other type? How do you ensure a good bond between the new resin and the area on the tap handle that is being repaired? For repairs on surfaces that extend out (like a shark fin broken off & missing) would you first glue in a wire reinforcement and then pour the resin around that? Thank you!

  2. I don't really know much about Kelly's process, and he does consider his techniques proprietary, as he has developed them through years of work and experimentation. I can tell you that he uses several different materials and painting tecniques. He does not pour resin.

  3. Could Kelly make a recommendation on what type of paint to use for simple touch ups? I have a tap I'd like to give as a wedding gift but there is wear on the raised surfaces.

  4. He says to use an acrylic latex paint, followed by a spray-on finish to protect it. If you can't match the color where the touch up is needed, you may have to repaint the whole area...