A Gaggle of Magnetic Bottle Openers

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Project by splintergroup posted 11-03-2016 02:03 PM 856 views 13 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I saw the openers Mr M's Woodshop made, I knew I’d have to make some for the local gift shop. They sell a variety of my stuff and always are looking for inexpensive gift-type items.

Each picture shows two openers, the woods are:
1. (L) leftover walnut, hickory, maple cutting board illusion cubes on red oak
1. (R) Maple, hickory, lauan, jatoba, BB ply (outside to center).

2. (L) curly white oak veneer w/walnut border.
2. (R) lacewood veneer w/walnut border.

3. (L) quilted maple veneer w/walnut border.
3. (R) curly white oak veneer w/walnut border.

4. (L) Russian olive
4. (R) poplar from my fractal burning practice.

5. (L) poplar from my fractal burning practice.
5. (R) cherry and walnut.

Onto the scrap wood trashcans!
Plenty to choose from. The boards with the curved edges are made just like breadboards, the ends are routed with a template.

The square boards with veneers are walnut framed with poplar underneath. The Lichtenberg pattern boards were leftovers from my practicing earlier (We use every scrap from the tree, including the scraps!)

I used some 20mm (3/4 inch) magnets that have a countersunk hole. My intent was to screw these down and avoid epoxy. Well not to be someone to leave well-enough alone, I decided to “improve” the setup.
I installed a cross bar underneath to complete the magnetic circuit and increase the holding power

It can be seen here under the two discs. Of course that meant that the magnets needed to be installed in opposite orientations (N/S poles flipped).

I kept the magnets level with the rear surface with another metal strip while the epoxy dried

Given the increased holding power, I only installed one magnet for the lower end of the board. During use, the torque pushes this magnet against the wall.

The magnets are close together and centered. This is because many refrigerator doors are curved and magnets mounted further towards the sides might not sit properly on a curved surface.

The “cap catcher” magnets were installed similarly:

These are 20mm x 3 mm magnets.
Cap magnets ideally should be as close as possible to the front surface. For that, I ground the nib off of a cheap Forstner bit. I’d start a pilot hole with an unmodified bit, then switch to the nibbles bit and bottom out the hole to within 0.040 of the front face. If I left the nib in place, it would have poked through. The beauty of the veneered boards is I could drill the shallow 3mm deep pocket from the front, then cover it with the veneer.

The openers are Asian imports. I got these domestically, but given that everyone and their dog sells them on Ebay, I know from whence they come 8^) I had also ordered some stainless steel openers.


I attached one of these cast iron openers to the wall just above my old reference opener I “liberated” back in the 60’s as a kid. Much to my shock, the blowback from the bottle with the new opener was just unacceptable 8^(

The problem is they were designed with a fatal flaw (same issue with the stainless steel variety as well).

Comparing with my gold-standard opener, the problem was obvious. The bottle angle was incorrect.

When the cap first starts to come off, the bottle is still horizontal. A long-neck beer bottle keeps the air space bubble down lower in the next until it is tilted a little bit. With the air bubble down low, there was beer directly up against the cap. When the cap seal first breaks, the CO2 pressure forces that trapped beer out (and all over the place). Obviously who ever designed these doesn’t drink beer! =8^O

Frustrating no doubt, but I could modify them to work (break out the trusty Dremel tool!)

Notice the bottle angel of the unmodified opener.

Now see the angle of the modified opener

(pictures rotated so opener appears as if mounted on a flat wall)

Grinding down the metal ruined the “patina”, so I applied a daub of peroxide/salt solution to rust things up and kill the shine.

Problem solved!

I covered the backs with felt, but upon placing them on my fridge door for a “test drive” (quality assurance program), I noticed that they would slip down every so often while being used. This will not do!

I replaced the felt with that rubberized shelf liner stuff. This is still thin enough to allow for a strong magnetic bond, still protects the refrigerator surface, but has a bit of ‘tack’ so it doesn’t slide so easy. works great!

8 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


2279 posts in 1777 days

#1 posted 11-03-2016 05:02 PM

Nicely done!

Yes the R & D can get expensive on openers. I make some and they are all wood; so I have to certify them as “bottle Tested Veterans”!

-- just rjR

View splintergroup's profile


961 posts in 733 days

#2 posted 11-03-2016 05:35 PM

Thanks rjR!
Certification is crucial! Any bottle caps that come off with deviations from tightly established norms immediately trigger a thorough retest procedure.

View AandCstyle's profile


2620 posts in 1768 days

#3 posted 11-03-2016 09:26 PM

Splint, great looking bottle openers! I trust that your QA program occurs at the end of your woodworking day. :D

-- Art

View splintergroup's profile


961 posts in 733 days

#4 posted 11-03-2016 09:37 PM

Splint, great looking bottle openers! I trust that your QA program occurs at the end of your woodworking day. :D

- AandCstyle

Yes, job dedication! I have 25 more openers to make boards for (by buying in bulk, I SAVED money 8^). Perhaps I should wait and off load some of the test/evaluation process onto the relatives over the holidays….

View doubleDD's profile


5454 posts in 1554 days

#5 posted 11-04-2016 03:14 AM

These are great looking openers. Cool job with the hardware.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View helluvawreck's profile


23720 posts in 2378 days

#6 posted 11-04-2016 02:24 PM

These are all beautifully done and are very practical.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View majuvla's profile (online now)


9459 posts in 2379 days

#7 posted 11-04-2016 04:47 PM

Ver yeffective solution of the proble. Pretty nice set of opener plates.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View splintergroup's profile


961 posts in 733 days

#8 posted 11-04-2016 06:27 PM

Thanks Ivan, Charles!

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