148: Cast Iron Bottle Opener

The cast iron bottle opener, ready to be attached to a sturdy wall or post. I’ll add some art to it first.

Jen and I have had a cast iron bottle opener tucked away in a drawer of “eventual projects” for a while now. Like that stack of yet-unframed art tucked away in everybody’s closet, we’ve got plenty of small pieces like this that we hope to eventually fire a laser at. This August, with plenty of beer left over from a recent camping trip, it was the bottle opener’s time to shine.

We’ve got a handful of handheld openers, including my wedding ring, but this bottle opener was designed to be mounted to a wall. It’s about 2.5″ wide and 3″ tall, which is nice and compact and gives you plenty of options for mounting in tight spaces. Well, I decided to add a laser-cut wooden panel behind it, making it a square foot wall decoration that I still haven’t found a place to mount yet.

The design, roughly 12″ square, replaces the O’s counter with the cast iron bottle opener.

Many years ago I designed a typographic beer coaster by stretching the words “Beer Goes Here” into a vaguely barrel-shaped curve. The thick stroke of Gotham Ultra meant the letter forms were easy to connect naturally—critical for sturdy laser-cut pieces. I borrowed that design with almost no alteration and resized it to roughly 12″ square. This allowed me to replace the O’s counter with the bottle opener without significantly affecting the readability of the word “goes.”

I cut the design out of 1/4″ red oak ply, and it wasn’t until I held the cast iron to the wood that I realized I made one mistake in measurement for one of the screw holes. It was a quick job to re-cut the hole and the lost material wouldn’t matter much. When I assembled the pieces for photography by screwing them to a spare piece of cardboard, I realized that I should have reduced the size of the holes so that the screw thread would grip it when the piece was mounted. As is, the wood will have to rely on the tightness of the cast iron against the wall (and the shallow engraving on the wood surface) to hold it in place.

A 12″ square design attached to a wall-mounted cast iron bottle opener.

It dawned on me pretty late in the project that the wood should be given a protective coat because of the sheer amount of beer spray it’s likely to absorb. I guess it’s a good thing I can’t actually use the piece until I’ve settled on where to mount it!


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