We were in a tiny bar in a tiny town outside of Campina Grande in Brazil. We ordered a beer and a side of caju‘s. The bartender handed me a piece of wood. Smooth with some nicks in it. I was confused, was this to break off the top of the bottle? Then I saw the screw towards one of the piece of wood and I got it. It was a bottle opener. It was a screw.
I made a quick sketch and noted how well it worked, how minimally elegant and how it was something I could easily make. Home again I remembered the bottle opener. I thought about the kitchen bottle opener and how it was really a wine bottle opener with an opening in the end for opening bottles. Made of metal and with moving parts it’s not something I would ever try to make.
In comparison the garage bottle opener is a classic dual opener made of a single piece of metal. I found it buried in the yard a couple years ago. It’s a “Quick & Easy” bottle and can opener and even stamped with MADE IN THE U.S.A. on it. Another item I would never try to make and thinking about it it’s just a tad too short.
So I rummaged through the garage and found the screw shown at the top of the post and a piece of wood.
Then I got out my screwdriver and got to work.
It’s not too tricky just screw in the screw towards one end of the piece of wood, keeping it centered. Make sure the screw isn’t too big, say 3/4 inch with a rounded head. The piece of wood then can be roughly 6 inches long by 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch. For metric system fans let’s say a piece of wood 15 cm by 2 cm by 1.5 cm with a 2 cm screw.
That’s it. You now have a home made bottle opener.
No moving parts, no opening wine bottles, no opening cans – just a bottle opener. Now before you give it to your next guest you should probably do a little quality control. Mine worked just fine.
So much more satisfying than thwacking it on a table top or door frame or trying to follow some video directions to use a piece of paper or other on-line directions. And thinking about, the screw as bottle opener certainly is an exercise in expanding the do-it-myself range of projects, a nice instance of extreme re-use and a nice souvenir from south of the equator. I would never think of making a bottle opener, but now I have and time permitting I’ll probably etch the handle. Not sure if you can even get an American made bottle opener but this one is and it’s left over stuff from previous garage projects.
And it really is as simple as a screw.
For example if you have a work table, say in your garage (upper left in image below) that you would like to attach a bottle opener to the bottom of (upper right).
Just screw in a screw (lower left) and that’s it, built in work table with bottle opener (lower right). Never again I will I need to remember where I put the bottle opener when I’m in the middle of some project. No more fishing it out from behind stuff if I drop it. Now I know they make little built in bottle openers but a screw is so much simpler, and even works well with horizontal surfaces. And it works for picnic tables, door frames, plastic coolers and lots of other places. But that’s another post.