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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | W1SFR TBKII Single Lever Paddle/Sideswiper Help

Reviews Summary for W1SFR TBKII Single Lever Paddle/Sideswiper
W1SFR TBKII Single Lever Paddle/Sideswiper Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $245.00
Description: This is a redesign of the Torsion Bar Key. Handmade out of brass and various
hardwoods, this key functions as a standard single lever paddle or as a
sideswiper/cootie key. Key is made by W1SFR, owner of
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the W1SFR TBKII Single Lever Paddle/Sideswiper.

KQ4MM Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2018 19:44 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful craftsmanship  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have has quite a few cootie keys, and for a long time used a old Bunnell double speed key. I loved the feel of the Bunnell and wanting to retire it was looking for something that was very close to its feel. After speaking with Steve and some email exchanges I decided to pop on the TSBII. Great chic, its a superb side swiper and has taken the place of my DSK on the desk as my daily key. I highly recommend Steves work.
K5MP Rating: 5/5 Oct 19, 2018 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Equal to others at twice the price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
As a 100% Sideswiper (a.k.a. Cootie) key user, after sampling a variety of others on the market including the Begali Sculpture Swing considered by many to be the "Gold Standard" of cootie keys, I was initially drawn to this Torsion Bar technology by W1SFR's little TBCP (Torsion Bar Cootie Paddle) which I reviewed here in eHam recently. Once I had my hands on this very unique looking Torsion Bar creation, I soon came to the decision to place my beloved Begali on the market where it garnered a price sufficient to cover both the afore-mentioned TBCP plus this excellent TBKII cootie/paddle key. This exclusive Torsion Bar technology is equal to or exceeds in every operational measure the Begali Sculpture Swing, in my opinion, and that same assessment has been echoed by others who have made the comparisons.

As I described in my review of the TBCP with the same exclusive Torsion Bar technology, this key also contains all the positive attributes (solid but soft key action, hand-crafted hardwood finger pieces with mother of pearl dot inlay on each side, brushed brass finish) and in addition, it is mounted on a hardwood base which offers weight sufficient to keep the key from skating across the desktop when being used. In case you missed my jist, I own two of these very unique, easy on the fist joints, brass eye candy desk ornaments plugged in parallel to my Elecraft K3 where it is an absolute thrill to sit back and make beautiful Sideswiper music with almost no effort at all. Oh, in case you overlooked it, this key easily transitions from Cootie to Paddle operation simply by the use of a mono to mini-stereo plug. The key comes with a connector cable terminated by a 3.5mm mini-stereo plug. What else could a CW person ask for? Nothing, in my opinion.
W9OD Rating: 5/5 Jun 19, 2018 23:21 Send this review to a friend
Hated this paddle, then...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my TBKII from Steve sight unseen, he was selling a TWanger and while talking with him he mentioned the TBKII. Being a paddle freak, I said okay. It arrived a few days later, very well packed, I connected it to my radio and set it aside almost right away. I have a few another keys that I would switch in and out and after a while I thought I would try it again. I got it adjusted to my liking and have not looked back. It is sitting in the number one position at my operating position. It is used as a sideswiper and single lever paddle. My sending is definitely smoother and more accurate with the TBKII. Oh, it is a work of art to behold.
W3TOP Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2017 21:40 Send this review to a friend
Great Keyer Paddle!   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Iíve been on the air since 1959 and operate mostly CW. The TBK II is absolutely the best key paddle I have ever used! The mechanical simplicity of using a torsion bar and shock absorbing springs mounted on the main arm to provide a soft bottoming of the contacts allows me to relax my hand completely and send more accurately than ever before. I also like the rounded edges of the paddle itself. Itís size and shape just feel right. I used a Heath HD10 for many years. It had micro switch contacts for a soft touch but mechanically the HD10 is primitive. I then switched to a Vibroplex which has so many more moving part than Steve's torsion bar design and a hard hitting contact feel that forces you to hold the paddle down to keep it from sliding all over the table. Because if the softer touch you wont have to hold it down. Like anything it takes getting used to but once that happens the TBKII is a pleasure to operate and a really beautiful thing to look at.
K1TA Rating: 5/5 Jun 1, 2015 06:57 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Paddle!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I received my TBKII Single Lever Key just in time for the WPX-CW contest this past weekend. This paddle is wonderful. Very light touch and easy on the wrist. After hours of sending with other paddles my fingers and wrist sometimes gets tired, not with this one. I highly recommend this paddle and I am going to order his straight key next.

Tom K1TA
WB2LQF Rating: 5/5 Sep 18, 2014 07:48 Send this review to a friend
Sweet and Simple!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I came across the TBKII through serendipity. At first glance, it looked "goofy." But something kept drawing me back to the picture and the writeup. So I bought one because I'm a sucker for all things CW.

It arrived in less than two weeks, thoughtfully and protectively packaged. When I dug it out, my first impression was that while it might be "goofy" it sure was attractively finished! The contrast between the highly polished brass vs. the sandblasted matte finished brass vs. the beautifully finished wooden base and tiger maple finger piece really got my attention. Steve also included a small hex adjusting wrench. Nice touch that signifies a producer who doesn't overlook small details and takes pride in his work.

I just happen to have a borrowed Begali Sculpture "Swing" sideswiper here in the shack that I've been using for about a month. Visually, the difference between them is like night and day. The Begali is the product of an Italian master who uses sometimes exotic materials, has a CNC equipped factory, embeds continental flair into his engineering specs and has accumulated experience in complex machining since the early 1960s. The TBKII is brass and wood with off-the-shelf hardware. The TBKII costs about 1/3 of what the Swing goes for.


In my experience, the most important aspect of a good sideswiper is the "soft landing." Hence the early popularity of the hacksaw blade. Mechanically speaking, both of these 'swipers achieve a "soft landing" by damping the contact impact. The Begali Swing uses finely machined piston-like devices to control how hard the gold contact ball at the end of the contact arm extension hits the contacts. This is an exquisitely engineered solution and very, very effective. The TBKII employs two stainless steel flat springs, one on each side of the contact arm, to intercept and buffer the contact hits. This is equally creative engineering but far less complex and costly. There is no clear winner here because in actual operation BOTH the Begali and the TBKII provided a most comfortable and accurate contact! However, the TBKII was MARKEDLY more quiet than the Begali Swing. In fact, it was almost silent! Clacking affects different operators in different ways - I appreciate a quiet key!

The range of adjustment on the Begali Swing is virtually limitless because it is a complex key. The range of adjustment on the TBKII is much less but I don't see that as a minus at all. At the end of the day, a 'swiper is really a simple device and the only thing I'm interested in is how "light" or "heavy" it feels. I can get there with the TBKII rapidly.

The TBKII uses three wires. Steve used a good measure of common sense and configured it so it can be used as a sideswiper, a straight key, or a single lever paddle. So once it's hooked up to my KX3 it's just a simple menu change to be up and running with the keyer.

How is it as a paddle? Great! I have a Begali Adventure MONO on a desk base and this is my frame of reference. The Adventure MONO is superb in all respects; I'll never let it go. The TBKII compared very well to it. I prefer the "harder, positive" contact of the Adventure MONO over the softer feel of the TBKII but this is really a minor observation. In fact, the longer I paddled away, the less I noticed it!

In summary, I'm sure glad I bought this "goofy" key. Last night I spent two solid hours behind my new TBKII in the NAQCC Sprint, working 15 states and 2 countries on 5 watts and a doublet and not a single person complained about my fist ;-) I went for two hours with no fatigue whatsover.
2E0YAR Rating: 5/5 Sep 4, 2014 07:34 Send this review to a friend
Probably one of the best single lever keys ever made!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
When I first saw the TBK2, I thought 'wow!'.

After 2-3 weeks a big box arrived on my doorstep which was very very well packed.I unpacked it and was thrilled with the finish of the TBK2. When I hooked the key up to my rig with the cable provided it worked really well!

This key can be used as a single lever type, straight key type and I think W1SFR said it can be used as a bug type too! (I use it as a single lever mostly with the occasional straight key use when I'm feeling lazy)

The feel is really smooth and the wooden finger pieces compliment the overall feel of the key....if I could sum up the feel in one word then that word would be 'magic'. It draws you back for more again and again and everytime I use it, I end up with a smile on my face that lasts days...I'm being honest it really does!

The TBK2 does not move about when on the bench because it is supplied with an anti-slip matt. This combined with the weight of the key makes it a very good key for high speed or low speed if you are a 40+ wpm op or just starting out at 5 wpm the TBK2 would suit your needs and will last a lifetime!

Steve makes each key to order so each key is unique and would grace anybody's shack bringing years of enjoyment in the process! Once you place it down on your bench, you will not want to move it at all.

In short, I will never sell my TBK2 and I would recommend this key to beginners and old hands alike.

It is truly a fine key that catches the eye....anyone would be happy with this key!

73 de Frank.

VE3APY Rating: 4/5 Aug 26, 2014 14:10 Send this review to a friend
Like the look of Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the TBII for its looks, really like the balance of wood and metal, but it is also a good key for home use. W1SFR has done a good engineering job of bring this torsion bar design to life. It is easy to adjust the contact spacing and the spring leaf contacts add a little over travel when needed. The wood finger pads feel good, a nice change from plastic. The weight is good and combined with the no slip pad on the bottom, the key stays put on the table. It also comes with the cable with a 3.5mm stereo plug which works well with a KX3 key input.

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