Swing 'N' Swig

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Project by ChuckV posted 10-25-2013 05:31 PM 1689 views 4 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My two young sons play on a Fall Little League team. I made some small thank-you gifts for the two coaches who gave so much of their time to the team.

These bats are bottle openers. The “works” are based on Kevin's opener. I used poplar and finished them with a satin polyurethane.

As with any bottle opener project, there was a significant amount of experimentation and testing required before, during, and after the build. The first thing that I noticed was that the bat/opener wanted to roll off whatever surface it was placed on. I decided to create a flat spot on the working side.

I experimented with different relative positions of the washers. Here are my findings. The difference in depth of the two holes is 3/8” The overlap of the two holes (creating the lip that catches under the cap) is 1/8”. Of course, everyone is free to do his or her own testing.

Since the popular is not too hard, I put washers in both holes. I put two in the shallower hole to be sure it didn’t deflect when opening a challenging bottle.

To make is easier to cut the flat section and drill the two holes, I started with an over-length blank and left the two ends square like this:

After the bat was shaped, I cut the flat and bored the holes. I found it easiest to use the bandsaw for the flat and then clean it up with a hand plane. I wanted the holes to be parallel with the growth rings to avoid weakness of the thin walls that are remaining. One of my blanks happened to have the rings almost parallel with two of the faces, so there was no problem. The other was rift sawn, or bastard grain. To get the angle I wanted, I tilted the bandsaw table almost 45 deg so that the flat was cut perpendicular to the growth rings. Then I similarly tilted the table on my drill press to bring the newly-cut flat perpendicular to the drill bit shaft.

If anyone is new to turning, as I am, and wants to try something like this, I have a safety tip. If you leave the ends of the piece square on the lathe as in the first photo above, be careful when working near those ends. I did not get caught, but I can imagine that it would be nasty if the spinning corners on an end hit a knuckle!

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

5 comments so far

View johnstoneb's profile


3011 posts in 2315 days

#1 posted 10-25-2013 07:31 PM

Those are nice!

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Woodknack's profile


12369 posts in 2522 days

#2 posted 10-25-2013 08:15 PM

Very nice! I’ll have to make one and do some extensive “testing”

-- Rick M,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18373 posts in 3818 days

#3 posted 10-25-2013 11:43 PM

Nice job. Too bad more people to not show appreciation for those who give so much in their volunteer activities.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Roger's profile


20948 posts in 2946 days

#4 posted 10-28-2013 01:17 PM

Gr8 appreciation gift

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2318 days

#5 posted 10-30-2013 02:07 PM

Cool bottle openers! Like the bat design. It makes a great gift. Well done!

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