Folding Beer Bottle Opener




About: I enjoy building things and being creative.

In my venture to start building knives and lacking the proper tools to do so, I wanted to practice things related to the craft. I thought handle would be a great place to start and while having I beer (stone IPA) I had a brilliant idea! How about a bottle opener?! So I made one, and another (more robust) and another and another two for Christmas gifts and a few shark key chain openers as well. One day I wanted to challenge myself and skills and decided to make a folding one and this is how I did it!

Step 1: Materials

6" of 3/8" x 2" steel bar stock
x4 - 2" of brass round stock
x2 - 4"x2" of thin aluminum sheet
either some spring stock or scavanged spring
wood 4"x2" (I used oak, teak and mohogony)
scrap brass, copper or aluminum sheet (decorative)
Two part epoxy
wood glue (if needed)
wood oil or stain and clearcoat
polishing compound

belt sander
hack saw
drill or drill press
various files
band saw
sand paper
a whole lot of time and patients! this project took me over 30 hours!
(lots of stuff to learn)

Step 2: Planning, Cutting and Shaping

I took apart an old pocket knife to see how the mechanism worked and scaled it up. Now a quick word of advice, the edges of the cuts need to be square or else it will not lock up tight and will rattle!
You can use cardboard to make a mock setup of the opener, me, I just jumped right in and rough drew on the metal. Having no access to a ban saw that will cut metal I had to drill the out line and hacksaw the rest. Hopefully you have access to a band saw as this task is grueling. The hardest part will be shaping the mouth of the opener; I drilled two holes and then got busy with a thin rasp and jewelers files. As a side note, it is wise to file teeth grooves into the part that grips the lip of the bottle cap (so it does not slip). At this point to can clean up the edges with either a file, grinder or belt sander.

Step 3: Gluing and More Drilling, Fitting

You can take your chosen wood and epoxy it to the aluminum at this point. Continue to file and shape the steel. cutting the base plate is a good idea too, you want it to be some what thick but allow room for the opener to swing in. about 1/2" down you want to drill or cut a slot for the spring. I used scavenged spring and drilled a hole in the locking lever as well (to hold the spring in place). It would be best if you could get your hands on flat bar spring though.

Fitting the locking lever to the opener is a real task, take your time, I hand filled this entire step.

Take the locking lever and the opener and place it so it fits on the wood/aluminum grip mark where the holes should be drilled and drill the wood and steel with the drill press. get the other wood/aluminum grip and match it flush with the other grip and use the already drilled holes ad pilot holes and drill the other one out (plugging the holed with the brass round stock as you go).

Now you can put everything together and test how it works, make adjustments as needed.
Also it would be a great idea to polish the steel a little and remove any tooling marks!

Step 4: Adding Decoration and Shaping the Wood

Trace out the basic shape you want and cut with a band saw and grind on a belt sander.

As seen in pictured two, three and four I added bits of brass and aluminum (did not use copper). The idea for this came about when I got over zealous with my filing of the locking lever and opener engagement. I needed to fill in some area so I made it decorative and functional! I epoxied 2 brass caps on the lever and cut 3 slots in the lever (not too deep) and filled those with one brass and two aluminum scraps.

Step 5: Rounding the Profile and Epoxy

After the out shape is how you want it, its time to begin rounding off the upper part of the grips. I used the belt sander for most of this and finished with hand sanding. After sanding is complete it is time to epoxy everything together. Make sure the metal base plate is rough and where the aluminum meets the base plate. Rough up the brass rods. Then use degreaser and put on some rubber gloves. It’s a good idea to use some wax or Vicks on the shaft of the locking lever and opener. You only want epoxy on the wood area and not in the holes of the previously stated objects.

Mix the epoxy and apply with caution! Clamp down base area, then test to make sure it is functioning properly and not sticking!

Step 6: Finish Shaping and Apply Coat

After the epoxy has dried test to make sure it is working.

Using a belt sander and sand by hand to get that nice round shape on the grips, then apply linseed oil or stain/clearcoat to finish.

Then polish up the steel to a good mirror finish (or close) 

now crack open a fine brew and enjoy the best opener you will ever have!

Step 7: Final Thoughts

Overall I like how this project turned out, however there are a few things I wish I had done different.

1. Make the locking lever a little thinner - it was just a little too thick but still functions fine.
2. Drilled the holes more inward on the grips -  they are just to close to the edge in my opinion.
3. Polished the inside of the opener - left it rough inside, no big deal though.
4. The wood - I think just teak and oak would have looked better.

Thanks for looking! This is my first instructable, I hope you guys enjoy it and stay tuned for more!!

here are a few othe openers I made in the pictures. more instructables to come for atleast one of those!

Step 8: If I Win...

If I win the ShopBot challenge, I would use it to make better knife handles, prototype projects I have floating around in my head. I would also like to design a wood gear clock and a few other wood working projects I have had my eye on!
Being an engineer tech I am very familiar with AutoCAD, I use it every day. In my spare time I have also learned Google sketch up as well. I think this would take my design and building skills to the next level.
Also, thank you for featuring my first project!

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    16 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love it! And it's good to see another IPA fan. I drink IPA's for two reasons:
    1. I love the taste
    2. My sons-in-law won't steal them from me.

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    IPAs are my favorite type of beer, i do like other stout beers as well. None of my friends will touch them, its actually some what comical! Im going to be doing another instructable for a few other bottle openers, and maybe even a switch blade opener!!

    please rate and vote for me in the contest, thank you!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    IPAs are my favorite type of beer, i do like other stout beers as well. None of my friends will touch them, its actually some what comical! Im going to be doing another instructable for a few other bottle openers, and maybe even a switch blade opener!!

    Play rate and vote for me in the contest, thank you!


    3 years ago

    Simply Beautiful!


    unfortunately my progress into knives is stalled until i can buy a proper belt grinder and build a forge. but i most certianly will share.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    For the File-work on the back of the "Blade" you should check out this guys work... it's pretty amazing and he does a great job with the step by step...

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have lurked on this site for years! Finally decided to share, just wish I had taken more picture of my past endeavors! Also thank you for your kind words.

    1 reply
    DIY Dave

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Those look great! I'm excited to see some more instructables