My friend Dan turns eighteen this March, so I thought what better gift than a bottle opener which he can crack open his beers with…Well perhaps the beers? There are loads of cool ideas for bottle openers out there, many of which you could make yourself, this is just one example.
To make your own bottle opener like the one made in this article you can download the template to the left in PDF format for free!
Here is how to make the bottle opener, it is worth noting that many of the steps involved could be applied to making a knife handle.
The first step when making this bottle opener is to select the sheet metal which will be used. I had some 4mm “ish” mild steel laying around the workshop so that is what I decided to use. If you are making this yourself I would not suggest using anything thinner than 2mm. Aluminium is a good option, it will not rust and should be slightly easier to machine.
In the image above you can see me attaching the template, download for which is available above, to the sheet steel which I will use.
Next, using a jigsaw fitted with a metal cutting blade, following the template, I cut out the bottle opener profile.
There is no rushing this step and it will take quite a bit of time to complete, just take it slow. A drop of oil on the blade may help to speed up the cutting process.
Having cut out the “blade” of the bottle opener I clean up the cut marks using the belt sander. To clean up the mouth a selection of hand files are used.
With the metal work done the next step is to work on the handle. The handle actually leaves a small metal reveal around the edge for appearance, as this is not a knife comfort is not as critical.
Using the second template I cut out the handle at the bandsaw. I chose to use Purpleheart which measured about 14mm thick, this really depends how thick you want the handle. I chose Purpleheart as I thought Dan would appreciate the unique colour, other great options however would be Cocobolo, Wingi and Bubinga, anything which will “stand out” I suppose.
After some sanding to remove the saw marks I cut a small ~5mm chamfer on both sides at the router table.
The method I used to hold the handle was not all that safe, so take great care when doing this. I would welcome any alternatives for this process!
Following that I rip the handle in half to form both sides using the bandsaw, then clean up the saw marks, again using the belt sander.
With the handles prepared I can attach the three parts together, for this I used epoxy. However there are some other two part adhesives which are better suited for this so make sure the glue which you choose to use will be appropriate. I simply used what I had in the workshop.
I aligned the handles on the metal “blade” by locating the holes which I had drilled prior to assembly with some wood screws. When joining the the handle I applied very light clamping pressure so that I don’t squeeze out all the glue.
Once dried I enlarged the holes through the handle to just slightly smaller than the metal rod which I will use.
To reinforce the handles and prevent them from coming off somewhere down the line I pinned the handles with steel rods, although brass would look nice also. I made these from an M6 threaded rod which I filed the thread off whilst is was spinning on the drill press.
The conventional method is to rivet the handle to the blade, I was looking for a cheaper, simpler method so I pinned it instead. If you are interested in riveting the handle you could use Corby Rivets. (Something which someone clued me onto after posting this project) Other alternatives include using very short machine screws, simply tap the sheet metal and with a little epoxy screw the handles on.
To pin the handles I coated the the metal rods in epoxy and wound them through the slightly undersized holes.
Once dried I cut off the excess metal rods and sanded them flush to the surface of the the handle at the belt sander once more.
After some final finish sanding I apply a few coats of lacquer to protect the bottle opener. If you did use mild steel like myself a finish does need to be applied to the metal also, if not, in all likelihood it will rust.
Be sure to watch the video bellow which contains all the processes explained above, as well as a few extra tips. If you enjoy the video be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch more woodworking videos.
Some images of the finished bottle opener:
Here are some examples of other cool bottle opener ideas which I came across on Google images. Some of which I may have to try myself! Rights reserved for the original producer.