This bottle opener is sure to be a hit with any recipient, as it is unique, useful, and artful. The opener uses a US quarter as the mechanism to open the bottle and, as an added convenience, a concealed rare earth magnet catches the bottle cap. I chose to use strips of maple and walnut because I love the contrast of these two species, but you can use any hardwood(s) that you’d like. Avoid softwoods as these would likely get dented during use.
Start by constructing a blank
Whether you use a single species or glue up strips as I did, you want to start with a blank that is 1-1/2” wide x 6-1/2” long x 1” thick. Make yourself a tracing template from the pattern provided and trace the outline onto both sides of the blank, ensuring that it is centered each time.
The pattern that I created on the blank consists of the following:
The Drill Press Phase
Set up your drill press with a fence set 3/4” from the center of the drill bit. This will be directly in the center of your blank’s width. The drill press will be used to make three recesses in the blank, as well as to cut plugs that will conceal the magnet.
Position the center of a 1-1/2” forstner bit 3/4” from the end of your blank. Plunge a recess 7/16” deep into the blank.
Position the center of a 61/64” forstner bit so that it overlaps approximately 1/8” with the recess milled in the previous step. The size of this overlap is important as it establishes the lip that is used to pry off the bottle cap. If the lip is too small it will not effectively open the bottle, and if it is too large, there is a risk of cracking the bottle or prying the quarter loose. The depth of the recess is 1/16”, which is the thickness of a US Quarter plus a small amount for sanding. Check the fit and “sneak up” on the correct depth so that you achieve a perfect flush mount of the quarter.
Position the center of a 3/8” forstner bit directly over the same spot that the 1-1/2” forstner was positioned in the first recess operation. Drill a 3/8” deep recess into the blank, which will allow room for a 1/8” thick rare earth magnet as well as a wooden plug to conceal it.
Using a 3/8” plug cutter, make some 3/8” long plugs. I used maple for the plugs, but you can choose to match or contrast with the species in which you will be inserting the plugs.
Set the fence on your bandsaw so that your cut will remove the 3/8” long plugs. Place a piece of masking tape over the plugs so that you don’t lose them as the bandsaw releases them.
Install the rare earth magnet
Insert a 3/8” diameter x 1/8” thick magnet in the recess, pushing it all the way to the bottom with a pencil or similar object. Spread glue around the perimeter of the plug, and carefully tap it into the recess directly above the magnet until it bottoms out.
Next Stop: Bandsaw
Remove the extra material from the 1-1/2” forstner bit recess
Position the blank on its side edge, aligning the blade so that it is even with the surface where the magnet is installed. Carefully remove the excess wood that was left behind by the 1-1/2” forstner bit in the “first recess” operation. This will also cut the plug flush with the surface. Stop the cut as soon as the plug is cut flush.
Cut the outline of the bottle opener
Place the bottle opener with the recesses down, and cut to the outline, being careful to leave the line.
Cut the top and bottom handle profile
On both the top and bottom of the handle, sketch and cut an arch of approximately 1/4” at its deepest to create a gentle curve on the handle. This makes the bottle opener more comfortable to hold. Be careful to not cut into the recess that will be used for the quarter.
Using a bench mounted belt sander or oscillating spindle sander, remove the band saw marks. Next use a palm sander to gently round over all corners and sand all areas of the project.
Finish with the product of your choice. I used wipe-on oil-based poly for good appearance as well as durability.
Make a jig to center the hole in the quarter
Make a jig by using a 61/64” forstner bit to drill a 1/16” deep recess in a piece of scrap. Then, place a 1/8” drill bit in the center of the recess and drill it all the way through the scrap.
Drill a hole in the quarter
Place the quarter into the jig, flip the jig over so that the quarter is down, and drill through the center of the quarter with a 1/8” drill bit by drilling through the hole in the back of the jig.
Drill a countersink into the quarter
Secure the quarter using a hand screw or clamp. Using a standard 1/2” drill bit, carefully drill a countersink into the “heads” side that will allow the #6 x ½” wood screw to be mounted flush. Take your time on this step, checking the fit regularly as you progress through the countersinking operation. You might be tempted to use an actual countersink bit for this operation, but I found that it was too aggressive and chewed up the quarter leaving a jagged hole. The standard ½” bit works much better.
Install the quarter
Position the quarter and drill a 1/16” pilot hole. Then, place a dab of epoxy into the recess, insert the quarter, and install the #6 x ½” screw. Quickly clean up an excess epoxy that oozes out.
There’s only one way to reliably test the operation of the bottle opener, and that is to open a bottle of your favorite beverage.
61/64” Forstner bit