Meet the Maker: Turning Wood Tap Handles with Craftsman Joe Wiesnet

Meet the man behind our exclusively handcrafted, wood beer tap handles.

Man Woodturning

For centuries, craftsman all over the world have used their knowledge, skills and imagination to create incredible works of art.

While some may be meant for aesthetics, others are created for practical solutions. In our case, with Joe Wiesnet of Buffalo Woodturning Products, our exclusively handcrafted wood beer tap handles do both.

While beer making and woodturning are both crafts in their own right, as we met with Joe to have a glimpse into his studio, his love for turning a unique piece of wood into a prized possession is evident right from the moment we sat down with him at his lathe. His commitment to quality, as well artistry, only begin to touch the surface of the many reasons we chose to bring his collection here to KegWorks.

Q&A WITH JOE WIESNET

How did you get started in woodturning?

So I started woodturning when I was somewhere between 9 and 11 years old when my father brought a lathe home. We began to learn to turn on our own, nobody taught us. We made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve always been involved in woodworking ever since that age.

 

What does an average day look like for you at the shop?

About eight years ago I began to turn full time . . . so I am either teaching classes, doing production work (making pieces) or I am working on the business to business side of Buffalo Woodturning Products, selling products to other woodturners.

 

What about woodturning do you like? Why have you chosen to make this your life?

The neat thing about woodturning is you can turn a project in an evening and be done with it . . . it’s a fast rewards systems for your efforts and as you progress as an artist and a craftsman you will always get better at it all the time. Woodturning is a great outlet for creativity, it’s a good sport, you know there is really nothing I don’t enjoy about woodturning.

Joe Wiesnet in his wood turning studio

How do you source your wood?

Most of what I get is reclaimed wood, it’s found wood. I am not cutting a tree down just to do what I do, typically a tree finds me.

 

Take us through your entire process of making the wood beer tap handles.

So first I will cut the wood to size then take it over to the drill press and put the threaded insert into the wood tap handle. After I glue it in I’ll let it sit for the day. Then I’ll get it on the lathe and rough turn it, then sand it down, then dip it in walnut oil to dry. The walnut oil adds a nice patina to the wood.

Wood Beer Tap Handles

What is it about your woodturning that you want to be remembered?

I am somewhat of a perfectionist, and as an artist and a perfectionist it’s kind of hard to get it to the level where it’s ‘done’ because you are always trying to take it to that next level. I want to know that I would be able to put it into my own home and be happy with it. That’s how you know it is a quality product.

 

Wood You Like To See More? Shop The Collection.

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