Coffee tamper handle


Make a coffee tamper handle on the wood lathe. This is a fairly easy wood lathe project using a roughing gouge, skew chisel, spindle gouge and parting tool. If you are incorporating a wood lathe machine into your woodworking projects consider making a simple handle with only a few essential turning tools.

Build steps

  1. Square timber ready for spindle turning
  2. Mount into lathe then turn into a cylinder shape using the roughing gouge (cleaning it up with the skew chisel is optional)
  3. Cut the cylinder to length allowing extra for lathe chuck. Remove the "live centre" lathe attachment from the tail stock end and replace with a drill chuck
  4. Drill a hole in the base end that will have 8mm threaded rod (or a cut off bolt) glued or tap threaded into it. The other end of the bolt screws into the stainless steel tamper base that can be purchased online. I am using a 51mm Joe Flex base to suit the portafilter cup size. The Joe Flex bases have an 8mm hole pre-machined and threaded.
  5. After drilling a hole about 5cm into the base of the handle, ensure the outside edge is round before removing from the lathe. This is important to ensure the hole and outside edge are centred to each other.
  6. Take the piece out, turn it around and rechuck at the lathe headstock end. Now the handle shape can be turned using a small bowl gouge or spindle gouge.
  7. Ensure the handle base is the right diameter for the tamper base.
  8. Finish the handle with sandpaper, then use a parting tool to cut the handle out of the lathe.
  9. Apply your finish. For this project I wanted a deep gloss to highlight the beauty of the Osage Orange timber but you could also use an oil or wood polish.
  10. Mount the wooden handle to the tamper base either by tapping a thread in the timber or glueing with a strong adhesive like epoxy.

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Osage Orange
Turning on the lathe
Finished coffee tamper with Joe Flex base