Bottle Opener

A little wooden bottle opener. Made from tas oak, recycled hardwood, a screw and large washer.

Finished product

At a bbq a little while ago I cursed for the umpteenth time at my little key chain bottle opener, which is next to useless at actually opening anything. Surely I could make something that works and looks better. I was also still looking for projects to use up some old fence pailings that are taking up too much space. Trouble is that this old timber is too brittle to take much force, so for this project I thought I’d try laminating it over some stronger hardwood.

I thought I’d try thin slicing up some of my old fence pailings. They’d already been roughly planned, but were not very flat. Even so this worked surprisingly well, getting me some 3-4mm thick strips. I ran them over the base of my large hand plane to smooth out the saw marks left by the table saw.

Cutting thing strips of this old hardwood fence pailings.

The design is based on a wide washer (about 18mm OD) sticking out about 1.5mm, all offset about 8mm from a strip of hard wood, which works out to be pretty decent geometry for popping the tops off my favorite brews. The overall length is 100mm which is a nice fit in my hand and not too big to throw in a pocket.

Using some scrap hardwood for the main “backbone” I laminated up the more decorative strips, which would end up hiding the washer and screw when done. This was all done pretty roughly, as I’d planned to trim everything down to final size after it was all glued together, rather than trying to work with small fiddly bits pre-cut to size.


Clamping up the strips


Clamping up of the strips. Looking pretty ugly at this point.

I often find myself working on these little projects late at night, so using power tools for everything would just be too loud for not just our neighbours, but also our sleeping kids. So in this case I got out my whetstone and sharpened up one of my hand planes. With the plane clamped upside down in a vice I could safely remove the excess material pretty quickly by running it over the plane rather than the other way around.


Got to love a hand plane

A day later and its back onto the power tools, to cut things to size and add some radii to each end.

Trimming and shaping on the bandsaw


Roughly cut to shape now. Just finishing touches remaining.

Some more hand planing and a whole lot of sanding to get it all nicely smooth. Finished with just a bit off linseed oil once again as it really makes the grain variations stand out nicely.

No I just need a beer!


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