Hi, for this instructable I decided to use some reclaimed pallet wood to make bottle openers that will stick to your fridge as well as catch the bottle cap as it falls using strong magnets. I was able to find the magnets and openers on Amazon at reasonable prices and used an easy trick to transfer images onto the wood. These openers made inexpensive yet well received holiday gifts for some close friends.
Tool List for this project is as follows:
- Cordless Drill
- Miter Saw/Table Saw/Circular Saw
- Sandpaper (low, med and high grit)
- Bench Sander
- Mineral Spirits
- Boiled Linseed Oil
- Forstner Bits
Remember to be safe when operating any power tools and when disassembling pallets. Always wear eye protection and keep long hair, sleeves and other loose clothing & jewelry properly restrained when operating any power tools.
There are many ways to take pallets apart and it can be very difficult. These things are made to stay together and the nails used are typically very difficult to remove. Be sure that any nails, staples or other foreign material is removed from the wood before running it through any of your woodworking tools. The metal can easily ruin your blades or cause sparks to rain down upon you or debris to fly towards you and others at high velocities.
That said, let's get started.
Step 1: Get Some Pallets
Where I work pallets are readily available and come in all sizes utilizing many types of wood. I try to find the ones that use harder wood which is in good shape. You may want to look for pallets that are heat treated instead of chemical treated. It would be best to do some research into what type of pallets you have available to you. Here is a good resource.
Since Pallets are made to withstand a lot of heavy use they can be very difficult to disassemble. There is no easy way. Some of the pallet busters that are for sale or homemade are useful but can break the wood if not sized properly. If you don't want to use pallets, any other source of wood will work fine.
Step 2: Work the Wood
It's best to cut your wood to the desired shape and size before sanding, staining and treating anything. Some of these pictures are from another project but the process is the same.
Basic sanding guidelines:
- Sand in the direction of the grain of the wood
- Start with the lowest grit sandpaper and move up incrementally (eg. 80, 150, 220, 360 etc.)
- Remove sharp edges
- Round corners using a bench sander
- Using a sanding block makes the process easier
Step 3: Decorative Paint
I am not an artist. I printed out some images I found on Google. You could also skip this step if you don't want an image on your openers. There are pictures and a very similar description in another instructable I did here.
- First, layout where the edges of the paper need to be so that the image will be where you want it
- Next take a piece of charcoal crayon and cover the back of the paper with charcoal
- Place the image charcoal side down on the workpiece in the desired position and tape it down securely
- Using a pen or pencil trace the image completely by running the pencil over the entire image This will transfer the image in charcoal to the wood deck
- Use paint to make it permanent
Step 4: Installing the Magnets
Using very strong magnets is key to having the openers stick to the refrigerator and catch bottle caps. Depending on the size and strength of the magnets you may need to use several. Bore out the holes in the back of the workpiece to allow the magnet to sit flush with the wood's back surface. This gets the magnet closer to the face of the wood in order to increase its cap-catching power. The key to this step is to remove at least as much wood as the thickness of the magnet so that it is flush with the back of the piece but without poking through the face of the wood and ruining your sweet, sweet Flyers logo.
My first attempt was to create a template by drilling a hole an old piece of scrap wood with a hole saw. Then I centered that where I wanted to install the magnet. I used a dremel to bore out the hole. This method was tedious and I don't really like using dremel. A router would have been better but I didn't have one at my disposal at the time.
Another method is a forstner bit. Depending on the diameter of the hole you need it might not be something you have laying round your workspace. I happened upon one that was the right size and this made the job a bit easier. However, these bits have a tiny centering point on the end that can poke through the front of the piece so be careful not to go too far.
Once the holes are drilled, use adhesive to attach the magnets to the workpiece.
Step 5: Stains & Oils
You may want to add some stain or oil to the workpiece to bring out the natural grain of the wood or to darken it to match your mancave. Either way this step is nothing new to the world of woodworking. My method is to sand the wood starting with 80 grit and going up to 320 grit. It would be fine to stop at 150 or 220 but my preference is to go a bit finer.
Next I like to use boiled linseed oil. I just like the way it makes the wood grain pop on some woods. For thse openers I used a 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. If you don't want to use oil, stain is another option and can also be cut with mineral spirits to lighten it up. It is best to test your finish on a piece of scrap or at least on the back of this workpiece before committing to a final hue.
Lastly you can add a coat of varnish or polyurethane to protect the wood. This would be especially advantageous if you plan to hang this outside. Follow the directions on the can to achieve a nice finish.
Step 6: Bottle Opener
Install the bottle opener using small machine screws and nuts. I countersunk the nuts so that they wouldn't interfere with the magnets. The size and type of screws will depend on the thickness of the board. If I had very small wood screws I would have used them instead but these pieces are too thin for what I had on hand at the time.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable and would like to try to make these on your own. If you have any questions or something doesn't seem correct please let me know.