Author Topic: Weber Kettle Handles  (Read 1161 times)

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Offline lunchman

  • Posts: 123
Weber Kettle Handles
« on: September 15, 2018, 11:08 PM »
I recently acquired a Weber 18" Kettle that my neighbor was tossing out in the trash. Trash day came, collectors didn't take it so it sat at the curb for two more days. When I took a closer look and realized it was a Weber Kettle I had to rescue it. It needed a good cleaning and reassembly since it was never put together properly. OK, so what has a Weber Kettle restoration got to do with woodworking you ask?

For those interested in what the refurb'd kettle looks like -



Temperature adjustment is achieved via the top vent and the vents under the kettle. The top vent control is metal and I keep forgetting to put on my bbq gloves and keep burning my fingers. You'd think I'd learn. So I set about to add a wood handle to the vent control and came up with this in a few hours yesterday morning.





That's leftover Meranti scraps from the Adirondack chair and Bistro Table projects, might as well put them to good use. Nothing earth shattering, it's a simple friction fit achieved via a slot cut in the bottom with the Multimaster. Curves cut on the bandsaw and use of some router bits for roundover.

Now the problem is the handles don't match the new vent handle. I can buy wood ones online but where's the fun in that? So, as a woodworking challenge to myself let's see if I can come up with some decent looking wood handles.

After a prototype I wasn't thrilled with, I came up with this. It mimics the existing Weber handles and turns out was a good challenge for me. Sure, bandsawing the shape was easy, routing the curves fairly simple on the router table. but the recess on the bottom was a good challenge. I don't normally work with chisels, have never cut dovetails or anything of the sort. I finally got to put those new Stanley Sweetheart chisels to use along with the Wood is Good mallet I recently bought (really nice mallet to use; no fatigue after more than an hour's working with it).

This recess is needed to hide the metal piece that this handle attaches to. It's far from perfect, but was all cut by hand. Kinda fun to do, pushed my woodworking abilities to a new level and came out decently. I have a lot more cleanup, sanding and shaping to do before I'm satisfied with these. I've got two more handles to make for the base of the kettle. Hopefully they'll go faster than this first one.

No Festools used in this project, sorry.

Some pics.

The two pieces -



Original top handle piece and my version -





Bottom handle piece and my version -



That's it for now. A very satisfying day pushing my woodworking skills to a new level. Still more work to be done before I apply Teak Oil finish and mount it. More pics to follow later once it's installed.

Thanks for checking this post out.

Regards,
-Dom

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Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5242
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Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 11:55 PM »
Nice , I would of never thought of that

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 227
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 06:28 AM »
Take a look at Weber kettle club sometime. They're a pretty active group with some cool restorations. It's amazing how well they clean up. My 2006 Performer looked brand new when I was done with it.


Offline lunchman

  • Posts: 123
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 10:25 AM »
Take a look at Weber kettle club sometime. They're a pretty active group with some cool restorations. It's amazing how well they clean up. My 2006 Performer looked brand new when I was done with it.

Joined there recently. It's amazing how well these kettles perform and clean up with a little TLC. And some of those guys are real collectors. I'm now up to 3 grills, if I bring home anything else I think I'll be living outside with them.

The handles need a lot more shaping and sanding before they're ready for finish. My chisel work leaves a lot to be desired that's for certain. I'm almost embarrassed having posted those pics, but you've got to start somewhere. It probably took about 2 hours of work chopping out those slots and the recess. Fun, rewarding but tedious.

I was wondering if there was some faster method other than mallet and chisel to do this work. No way will my router fit in there, perhaps I could use my Dremel with router attachment. Then again, I only have 2 more to make and doing them with hand tools is somewhat relaxing. It's not as if I'm starting a career making Weber handles.

-Dom

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 981
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 11:32 AM »
I was wondering if there was some faster method other than mallet and chisel to do this work. No way will my router fit in there, perhaps I could use my Dremel with router attachment. Then again, I only have 2 more to make and doing them with hand tools is somewhat relaxing. It's not as if I'm starting a career making Weber handles.
You could have made the two U shaped sides as extra pieces, then the router would have had no problem reaching into the groove, and just glue them on afterwards (as they're not structural -  you could use a domino for green points).

Offline lunchman

  • Posts: 123
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 06:59 PM »
Appreciate the comment. I think the only way to ensure these look decent is to make them out of a single piece of wood (actually 2 pieces glued together with Titebond III) and carve out the notches and recess by hand.

After some more sanding and shaping today I was finally pleased with the look.

Here are the two pieces mated together -



Compared to the original Weber handle -



With about 4 coats of Teak Oil. It doesn't start to develop that marine gloss until about 7 or 8 coats of oil. The fastener isn't installed yet, but here's what it will look like on the Kettle -



And a view from further back -



It's got some decent heft at 1 1/2" wide. I'll continue applying Teak Oil and start on the 2 remaining handles.

Thanks for checking out this post.

-Dom

Offline Goz

  • Posts: 90
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 09:17 PM »
Great find on the curb!  A neighbor was tossing an 80's Weber gas grill a month or so ago. It sat out a couple weeks total before disappearing. I think I told my wife a couple dozen times that "someone should rescue that grill" but we already have a gas Weber. 

Oh, and great job on the handle! Sounds like you're learning a lot in the process.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4945
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2018, 12:49 AM »
It's not as if I'm starting a career making Weber handles.

LOL... [cool]

I’ve been cooking on Weber charcoal kettles for almost 60 years. I used to stand guard with a water bottle when my father burned (I mean cooked) chicken on a Weber kettle. They may be difficult to do “low and slow” on but otherwise they’re the bees knees for normal faire. Just used my 2004 Performer tonight. Cooked some tuna & some lamb chops...nummy.

I’m not a big fan of their gas grills but then that’s just probably me. I’m waiting for Wolf to produce a hybrid charcoal and gas grill. The heat and quickness of gas with the flavor of charcoal. Seems like an easy no-brainer to me...then again, if it was that easy, it probably would have been on the market 20 years ago.  [eek]

Offline lunchman

  • Posts: 123
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 09:50 AM »
Handles #2 and #3 went a lot faster. Carving out the rabbets underneath took on the order of 45 minutes for each, compared to the nearly 2 hours the first one took me. Certainly a relaxing woodworking endeavor. Here's one with a little more cleanup to do.



To keep the handle from constantly slipping in the vise, I finally got smart and put a piece of wood beneath it with a shim.



It turns out the Delve Square was perfect for layout. Center rabbet is 3/4" wide, shoulders are 3/8". No measuring needed with the stepped edges of the Delve Square. And it finally occurred to me that I do own a Veritas marking gauge, which made knife wall layout go a lot easier.

All three handles nearly ready for finish -



The Teak Oil was driving me crazy on the first handle. After about the sixth coat it begins to take forever to dry, so I sanded it down with the Pro 5 sander and will apply something easier. So Festools were used in this project!

One thing I hadn't considered. There's a reason Weber puts the screws through the front of the handle. It's going to be a challenge fitting an offset screwdriver into the bottom part and inserting the screws. They'll look nice with no screw holes. The lid won't be that bad to install but the two base handles will be a bear. Oh well, my decision. I'll have to deal with it.

I'll post pics when they're installed on the Kettle.

Regards,
-Dom


Offline lunchman

  • Posts: 123
Re: Weber Kettle Handles
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2018, 01:19 PM »
Handles installed -





-Dom