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Blacksmithing tutorial: Forge a Bottle Opener

I took a trip up to Portland Maine to visit with Sam Smith who is the guildmaster of the Maine Blacksmith Guild. You can check them out on facebook right here.

And if you are in the Portland area and interested in learning blacksmithing they do have classes and an apprenticeship program. Learn more by visiting their facebook page.

 

Sam and I discussed a lot of things blacksmith related including the fact that his guild takes two trips a year to Europe for blacksmithing. He also was kind enough to do a tutorial for us. He shows us how to make an over the top bottle opener.

Here on this page I give you an overview of the process and if you want to actually watch it being done I have a youtube video for that right here: How to Forge a Bottle Opener video tutorial.

Here is a look at the completed bottle opener.

A hand forged bottle opener

The important part is that curl on the left end. that is what lifts the bottle cap off the bottle. On the right is a nice scroll work pattern just for fun and to give it a good feel. Let's take a closer look at that scroll work on the right:

Detail of the handle

This picture shows how the bottle opener works.

Using the bottle opener

Here are some of the techniques Sam shows us while making this bottle opener:

  • Hot Cutting
  • Upsetting
  • Two sided taper
  • Curling
  • Rounded taper
  • Twisting

 

Let's Get Started:

Sam starts with a long piece of mild steel that is 3/8 inch square. We want a piece that is about twelve inches long so we need to cut 12 inches off that piece. We do that with a technique called hot cutting. Heat up the steel where you want it to be cut to almost yellow hot. Then use a hardy tool called a hot cut off tool to cut the piece.

Hot cutting

 

You don't cut all the way through with the hammer and cut off tool. You cut it most of the way through. He then quenched the end in water so he could grab a hold of it.

He then grasped that cooled end and gently worked it until it easily split apart.

Finishing the cut

Just like this. Now we have our piece of steel that we will forge into a bottle opener.

The hot cut is complete

 

Okay, Let's continue

 


 

The Home Blacksmith: Tools, Techniques, and 40 Practical Projects for the Blacksmith Hobbyist

As more and more people join the do-it-yourself revolution, they are breathing new life into many time-honored skills and crafts. Blacksmithing is among the trades that are enjoying a resurgence for both practical and artistic uses, yet there is not an abundance of readily accessible information available to beginning blacksmiths to help them get started and understand the craft. Author Ryan Ridgway, a veterinarian and blacksmith with more than fifteen years of metalworking experience, hopes to fill that void with this comprehensive volume geared toward answering the many questions that new blacksmiths often have. By explaining the physics of moving metal, the different styles of anvils and forges, and alternative fuel sources, Ridgway sets his book apart from less detailed volumes. Forty practical, easy-to-follow projects are presented, showing aspiring blacksmiths how to make tools, such as hammers and chisels; farm implements, such as gate latches and hoof picks; and items for home use, including drawer pulls and candle holders.

 

The complete modern blacksmith book

The Complete Modern Blacksmith

A truly unusual and unique resource, this extremely hands-on book brings together three popular but long-out-of-print classics (THE MODERN BLACKSMITH; THE RECYCLING, USE, AND REPAIR OF TOOLS; and THE MAKING OF TOOLS) essential for anyone interested in the making, repair, maintenance, or arcana of tools. An essential volume in any serious craftperson's library, this book covers setting up a smithy (anvil, forge, hammer, tongs, and all), and manufacturing everything from stone-carving chisels to decorative wall hooks.