I love custom orders, especially ones that give me a challenge. Some friends asked me to carve a tap handle for their brother-in-law, a beer hobbyist with a home tap system. Never having made one before and being wholly unfamiliar with how a tap handle attaches to a tap, I said "You bet!"
My friends specified that they wanted the name "Williams" painted on, but other than that I was free to carve whatever.
After some pencil sketches on paper, I selected a piece of wood and cut out the general shape with a coping saw. I envisioned a simple chair leg spindle for the body, with a frothy mug perched on top. Somewhere along the line the plan expanded to include a flat shield and a hop bud.
I opted to leave it mostly unpainted, preferring to let the wood speak for itself. I gave it four hand-rubbed coats of linseed oil and sanded it between each coat with finer and finer sandpaper. Finally it was buffed with a cotton cloth. The name on the shield was applied with acrylic paints and sealed with a few coats of spray shellac.
The brass ferrule is from Kegworks.com, as is the combination metal/wood screw with which to attach it. They have a nice selection of hardware for tap systems.