This Christmas, why not make something new from something old for that certain someone? A little prized scrap wood is all it takes to transform a humdrum plastic handled bottle opener into handcrafted wood handled bottle opener. I found two such bottle openers knocking around my kitchen. The first had a short, narrow tang with holes. For this style I made a koa handle that surrounded the tang and extended beyond the end. The second opener was made from a piece of stamped stainless steel. The handle for this style is simply two thin pieces of figured walnut that sandwich the metal.
Here’s how I turned a couple relics from a junk drawer into great gifts:
Out with the old. Just a couple whacks with a hammer usually takes care of the old plastic handles. You’ll notice there are two styles of opener revealed. One with a narrow tang and holes (top of photo), the other is a full width metal plate.
Clean up any tarnish with a wire brush in a drill press. Follow up with wet/dry sandpaper starting at 220-grit and working your way up the grits until you’re satisfied with the appearance. 600-grit leaves a nice, satin glow on stainless steel.
Cut your handle stock. Here, I’m resawing a block of figured walnut for the flat handled second opener. For the tang style opener I cut a pair of 3/8” x 1” x 4” blocks of koa.
Cut a stopped slot in each handle half for the tang style openers. The slot needs to be long enough to house the tang.
Test fit your handle blanks. I used the holes in the tang opener as guides to pre-drill the handle halves. Simply hold the tang in the slot of one of the handle halves. Line up the holes with the bit on your drill press and drill the holes through. Repeat the process for the second half of the handle. The flat plate opener gets drilled later.
Butter up the handle halves with epoxy. Pound the 1/4” brass rod through the holes in the tang style opener. The rod is cut slightly longer than the thickness of the handle.
Take the handle to an anvil or some other hard metal object. Use a hammer to peen the ends of the brass rod so they mushroom a bit and lock themselves in the hole.
Sand and shape the handles smooth. With the flat style opener, sand the wood flush to the metal edges of the opener. After sanding the edges, drill 1/8” holes through the handle and epoxy in the brass rod. I sanded a four-sided taper on the tang style handle.
Continue to shape the edges of the handle with rasps, chisels and sandpaper. Shoot for a pleasing look and a comfortable feel in your hand with no sharp edges.
Finish with oil and your gift is ready!
Looking for more bottle opener ideas? You might also like:
Make a Bottle Opener That Pops
Magnetic Bottle Opener with Cap Catcher
4 Ways to Make a Wooden Bottle Opener
Make a Bottle Opener Handle on the Lathe Part 1
Make a Bottle Opener Handle on the Lathe Part 2