TBKII Single Lever Key

“Very smooth and precise action, no clicks and clacks thanks to the stainless steel flat springs. I tried it even at high speeds of above 30 wpm with very few errors caused by me and not by the paddle !!!  I own the Begali HST single paddle/sideswiper key, which is of course a great key, but I feel quite better and more relaxed with your key !!!”

“Your craftsmanship is on par with my Begali collection…just stunning!”

“Love It! Love It! Love It!  I love it because I have the gaps set to 0.03 mm and it requires just a slight touch to form the dits and dahs.  I like a key with close gaps and a very light touch, and the key fits that bill nicely.  It’s also a good conversation piece as it’s unique.  I’ve made a lot of contacts and receive good reports.”


I came across the Torsion Bar key in 2013 while cruising the SideSwiperNet website. Although the original design is a bit murky, the design and plans I first used were published in QST in December of 1982 by Tom Leary, W0VTP. It has also been featured on the Sideswiper Net (www.sideswipernet.org) on KA8OQF’s page. It was built for him by a machinist friend. I’ve tried a LOT of different keys, but was very intrigued by this “new” design. I had to have one to try, but of course I had to build it first. And when it was complete and I put it on the air…I was hooked forever.

Scroll down to see the video! Note: the video is of my prototype. The latest version of the key is shown in the gallery pictures above. Improvements are the 10-32 Brass hand-turned contact screws, larger 3/8″ brass contact posts, hand turned locking rings, and hand formed and polished finger pieces. Also contact strips are heavier gauge and made of nickel silver.

The Torsion Bar Key uses a very clever method of centering the keying lever after it is depressed which has historically been achieved by using springs or more recently…magnets. The movement is very subtle and quite elegant. As you move the lever to either side, torsion is applied to the vertical 1/8″ bar that is locked in place at the lever bar, and the top BUT is free at the base. So that twisting motion puts tension on that vertical bar. When the pressure is released the tension is also released and returns the contact bar to center. As a result contact spacing can be very close and the key is virtually silent, unlike the original design which had the contact bar making direct contact with the adjustment screws which made a very loud clanging sound. It didn’t bother me, but man, it was loud. So I changed the basic design and installed nickel silver contact strips. It made a huge difference, not only totally eliminating the clanking sound, but also acted as a bit of a cushion which makes the movement very smooth.

I’ve used a lot of keys and I have to say that this is the finest action I’ve found in any sideswiper key I’ve used….including my Begali Sculpture Mono (a single lever key) which is a tour-de-force in design and machining but for me when it comes down to it…it’s all about the feel and the sound, and the Torsion Bar Key is unique and wonderful. The touch is very light and I prefer close contact spacing so very little movement is necessary. Spacing is set at .004 and the Torsion Bar is designed to deliver 25 grams of tension at the finger piece.

The other great thing about a key like this is that it’s wired to allow use as a standard paddle, a cootie key, or even as a straight key. No need to switch keys to accommodate other ops anymore. Paddle, swiper or straight key….all in one. Gotta love that.

Building time varies depending on overall demand, but usually takes no longer than 2 weeks. I’ll give you a heads up just prior to sending or if there are any delays.

Thanks for looking and I hope you have the opportunity to try one of these keys soon. You’ll be amazed at the feel and (lack of) sound of the Torsion Bar Key.

All parts are hand made, fitted and polished. The key is sent with a custom cable and a 1/16″ hex wrench for making adjustments.

Keys will have a brass name plate attached to the bottom of wood base. It says “W1SFR Torsion Bar Key”

See the video:

Price $295 Plus $12.50 Priority Mail Shipping to CONUS


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