How would you like to make a bottle opener with character, and that strokes your inner caveman? This is a fun and practical craft to make — an antler bottle opener. You only need a few basic tools and a little know-how. Which—I’m about to share with you in this tutorial. Soon, you will be opening your soda pop bottles in style—and much more efficiently than a caveman.
An antler bottle opener makes a wonderful gift, or you might be able to sell a few of these. Have fun, and I hope you enjoy this tutorial!
Let’s begin with tools and materials:
Materials I Used
- Deer antler shed (talk to a local hunter or caveman), search on Ebay, or look for these in the woods.
- The bottle opener kit from Penn State Pens
- Sandpaper (120, 220, 320, & 400 grits)
Tools I Used
- Bosch 18-Volt Lithium-Ion portable drill
- Hacksaw or pipe cutter
- Bench vise
- Barrel Trimmer
- 7mm Brad Point Drill Bit
- Dremel 3000 Rotary Tool
Step 1 – Get the bottle opener kit, and carefully look over the instructions with the kit. This particular kit instructs you on how to make the bottle opener out of wood, using a wood lathe. We are going to cheat a bit, and make some modifications. A wood lathe is not needed for my project. What I plan to do is cut the tube (comes with the kit) so it will fit my deer antler. If you acquire a long, straight piece of antler, and you may not even need to downsize the tube. However, I wanted to use a section from the base of the deer antler that is more curved. I can’t drill a long enough hole for the 2 3/4 inch tube which comes with the kit. So I will trim my tube to 1 1/4 inches.
Also, I’m going to discard the nut and end cap (see diagram below). So, the only parts I need from the kit are the opener, connector, an barrel tube.
Step 2 – I measured 1.25 inches on the tube and used a mini tube cutter (by BrassCraft) to shorten my tube. The tube cutter (see 2nd picture below) will crimp the end of the tube some, so make sure that end goes into the antler first. You might have to adjust your tube for a different length depending on your antler size/shape. If you don’t have a tube cutter, you can probably just use a hacksaw. It’s important to remember that the uncut end needs to face out of the antler base. This end will eventually receive the bottle connector in Step 8. The bottle connector is a compression fitting on one end and threaded on the other, so the tube needs to maintain its original diameter. The threaded side of the connector will eventually accept the bottle opener.
Step 3 – Take your 7mm drill bit and mark the length of the tube on the bit. Using an electric hand drill, carefully drill a straight, clean hole down to the mark on the bit. Keep the bit absolutely straight. Wear safety glasses and a dust mask, and secure the antler somehow, like in a bench vise.
Step 4 – With the hole complete, take the modified tube and make sure it fits into place. It’s okay if the tube doesn’t fit exactly flush with the end of the anter (we’ll fix that in step 5). Now, take some CA glue and glue the tube in the antler hole. Push the tube all the way down the hole as you apply the glue. I use nitrile gloves for protection to my skin. Let the glue set for about an hour or two.
Step 5 – Once the tube has completely dried, take the antler over to your belt or disc sander and sand a little until the bottle opener end (the tube end) is flat and you can see the end of the brass tube. I happen to have a barrel trimmer which I use for making pens, so I used it to trim the antler away. I did have to modify the barrel trimmer slightly to make it work for this project, but use the sander if you don’t have a barrel trimmer.
Below is a picture of my finished trim, using the barrel trimmer. The antler around the end of the tube is square with the tube now. This will ensure a perfect fit, when I press the bottle opener connector in place. I also took a Sharpie and marked the dimensions around the brass tube that match the diameter of the bottle opener connector.
Step 6 – Using the Sharpie mark as a guide, use a Dremel tool and barrel sander attacment to shape the end of your bottle opener. Be sure to put on safety glasses and wear a dust mask. It would probably be a good idea to do this outdoors. Carefully grind the antler down and give it the contour you want. I decided I wanted a rounded contour. If you don’t have a Dremel, then use a belt or disc sander. You can also purchase drum sander attachments for your hand drill.
Step 8 – Now press the bottle opener connector into the barrel tube. Since the antler is an irregular shape, you may have to get creative on this step. I slipped the connector into the tube and pressed it against my bench just using my hand and body weight. That got the connector about half way in. Then I too a hammer and lightly tapped it all the way in. Make sure it’s straight and aligned with the tube as you press the connector in place.
Now that you’ve made an antler bottle opener, you can probably think of some other creative bottle opener ideas. And if you do, please come back and tell us about your ideas in the comments field. Heck, if I get enough responses, I might even share your pictures on a separate post.