Introduction: Coaster Bottle Opener

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With Spring here many people are enjoying the the warmer weather, spending more time outside enjoying a cold one on the patio with friends. A common conundrum when entertaining friends is keeping the bottle opener from wandering away; unless you have the bottle opener chained up it's bound to get lost at a social.

Never be far from an opener to crack your next beer, all while keeping water rings off your tables. This bottle opener is cleverly placed under your drink coaster, making a few ensures that every guest has their own opener.

This easy woodworking project requires a biscuit cutter to make, but you might be able to make do with other tools. These coasters can be personalized, and they are infititly useful

In case the video wasn't enough; let's make!

Step 1: Cut Wood Stock to Size

The wood thickness is determined by the height of a bottle cap, plus an allowance for the screw to bite into the wood. I made these coasters from 3/4" thick plywood, it's about the minimum thickness for this method of construction.

Using a table saw I ripped the wood plywood stock into 3.5" wide strips. These strips were taken to the chop saw next and cut into 3.5" sections, leaving a square blank which will be milled.

Step 2: Mark Midpoint on One Edge

We'll be using a biscuit cutter to make the indentations in our coaster bottoms. To know where we want to cut we'll need to find the midpoint along on edge of the square blank to line up with our cutter. Since my blanks are 3.5" my midpoint is 1.75".

Using a pencil a mark was made.

Step 3: Mark Depth

With the blank in profile, a cap bottom was aligned with the bottom of the coaster blank and a mark was made at the top of the cap. This much wood will need to be removed to allow the screw to grip the cap and pry it off without having the screw protrude past the bottom of the coaster.

Step 4: Buscuit Cutter

A biscuit cutter is used to cut a small slot into wood. Typically they are used to cut slots which allow a biscuit (a small thin piece of wood) to be inserted which joins two pieces together. For this application, we'll be using the biscuit cutter to remove a small section of wood from the bottom of our coaster by making a series of cuts on top of each other, creating a cavity.

before cutting the depth needs to be set on the biscuit cutter. You'll want to make a cut that's deeper than about half the diameter of a bottle cap. Most bottle caps are about 1" in diameter, so your cut will need to be a little larger than 0.5" deep. Once the depth gauge is set on the biscuit cutter we can start cutting.

Clamp a coaster blank to a sturdy work surface with the midpoint mark accessible. Lining up the midpoint mark with the centre guide of the biscuit cutter, plunge into the wood. Leaving the biscuit cutter flush against your work surface, shim the coaster blank with a thin piece of wood and clamp down again. By raising the coaster blank and repeating the biscuit cut you'll have made another cut right on top your previous cut, enlarging the opening. Repeating this process with larger shims will allow you to make a uniform cavity in the coaster blank.

Using a sharp utility knife clean up any burrs in cavity. Then use a medium grit sandpaper (~200 grit) to make a smooth surface.

Step 5: Screw

Screws come in a wide variety, for this opener we'll need a screw that has a flat underside. Tapered screw heads will not grip the bottle cap and are not suitable.

I used 1/2" dome flat-headed screws, but any screw with a flat underside will work.

You could get away with just using one screw, but by using two you get a better connection with the bottle cap and there's less positioning when trying to open a bottle. Using a drill, two small pilot holes were drilled and the two screws were installed near the apex of the curved cavity. Ensure not to screw too far into coaster, else your screws will protrude out the top of the coaster.

Step 6: Optional: Embellish

You could leave the tops of your coasters blank, but not embellishing this space seems like a waste

To personalize these bottle opener coasters I decided to etch the top. You could do wood burning, decoupage, or paint. I have access to a laser cutter so I decided to use it to etch an image onto mine - a simple beer bottle and can with a note letting you know there's a bottle opener hidden underneath.

Step 7: Finishing

Before you can use your coasters you'll want to finish them with a sealant so they don't get damaged with use from wet bottle condensation. I finished my coasters with Danish oil, a tough water-resistant finish that can be applied with a rag.I love the easy application and rich colour it gives wood.

Step 8: Crack a Cold One

Once the finish has dried your coasters are good to go! Make a few and have them around at parties, and personalize them to suit your style.


Have you made your own coaster bottle opener? I want to see it!

Happy making :)

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