This wooden plank bottle opener is a project that I have wanted to do since I saw a very expensive version of it at Crate and Barrel and realized that I had most of the parts for it at home already. This was a really simple project and a great way to learn how to finish and stain wood.
It was a very inexpensive project for me to do because I have all the tools already and had leftover stain and varnish but it still won’t cost you very much even if you need to buy some of the stuff. A palm sander makes this job go really fast but again it is not necessary, with a little elbow grease and a few more minutes you can get just as nice a finish.
You don’t need any fancy kind of wood for a project like this unless you are going for a really distinct look, I went to the bargain bin where they have 3 foot random pieces of wood for 89 cents a piece. I just used a regular construction grade 2×6 that didn’t have too many knots in it. The 3 foot length is perfect for this project so there wasn’t even any cutting involved.
Once you have your piece of wood you need to grab some sandpaper, tack cloth, stain, varnish, and some rope. I had been given the bottle opener and cap catcher as a gift but you can pick up the set for around 15 bucks. The first step for this project is to drill two holes at the top for threading the rope through, that way when you sand it you can clean up any chipped edges left by the drill bit. Next lay out your bottle opener and cap catcher, make sure you leave enough room in between the two for the bottle. Once you have them where you want them mark and drill small pilot holes for the screws so once the wood is finished you won’t damage the finish and all you will have to do is screw it together once it has dried. For sandpaper I started with an aggressive 60 grit, then went to 150, and then 200 for the finish pass. That is usually what I use when finishing a rough piece of wood where you may need to sand out some deeper blemishes, if the wood is fairly decent you can start with a finer grain.
Once you are satisfied with your sanding job put on some latex gloves and wipe all the dust off with the tack cloth, you don’t need gloves but the tack cloth is really sticky and it does gum up your fingers. Once it is clean you are ready to stain, follow the instructions on the can of stain for preparing it, then you can use a paint brush or a rag to apply the stain, make sure you apply the stain with the grain of the wood. Put the stain on thick and let it sit for a minute, the longer it sits the darker the color but don’t let it sit for more than a couple minutes especially if you are out in the sun and the breeze. If it dries too much it will cake, wipe the excess stain off with a clean rag or lint free paper towel, if the color doesn’t seem dark enough you can let it dry and apply another coat but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t darken much more. Wood can only absorb so much stain so if you are looking for a darker color make sure the stain itself is plenty dark.
Drying times for stain differ a little but if you are outside with some sunshine and a little breeze it won’t take very long before you can start to varnish it. The label on the stain that I have suggests a 3 hour drying time before varnishing, this is just a suggestion and your working conditions will determine the drying time. Like I said before if it is in the 70’s with low humidity some sun and breeze it will be ready in less than an hour. Let it sit for at least a half hour to forty five minutes and then try to wipe some stain off from an area that won’t stick out with the tip of your finger, if no stain comes off on your finger then it is safe to varnish. For this project I applied two coats of varnish which is plenty, I only applied three coats to my daughters dresser which gets a lot more abuse and it is still doing good.
The drying times on the varnish are also quite exaggerated for conditions, the polyurethane that I used for this project recommends 4 hours between coats. I have done a few projects now and have never let it dry for that long between coats because I would still be working on them! Again if the conditions are good you can re coat in an hour, just lightly touch the varnish with your finger and as long as it is no longer sticky to the touch you should be ready for your second coat. I do recommend letting it sit overnight if you are going to apply more than two coats.
This was a simple afternoon project, and it actually was just an afternoon project, not one of those half hour all day projects, or those projects you see on TV that look like they take 15 minutes and end up taking three days! It works great and saves all of my bottle caps that I will use for an awesome beer project, after I get enough caps that is! One of the best things about this bottle opener is that it is very portable and can be hung and used anywhere. Take it out by the grill for cook outs or leave it in the house for every day use.
Tell me how your bottle opener turns out and feel free to ask as many questions as you want!