Bottle openers are small tools that you probably own and use regularly, but chances are you don’t know how it ended up in your hand while you crack a cold one. You’d be surprised by the time and effort that goes into making just a single bottle opener!
While bottle openers come in a variety of different designs and shapes, most of them are relatively simple. Continue reading to learn all about how bottle openers are made for mass production and by hand!
This is the part of a bottle opener that catches the underside of the cap. This part can also be called the lip.
The fulcrum exerts force across the bottle cap that will eventually help remove it.
The part of the bottle opener you hold is the lever.
Generally, every bottle opener will have these three parts, but there are lots of variations in style, size, and shape. The most important part of a bottle opener is the tooth. Without it, there would be no way to pry the cap loose.
A computer image of the bottle opener is uploaded and calibrated with the desired measurements and style.
A set of drill bits controlled by the computer will be used to make the necessary cuts.
A sheet of steel is placed onto the die cut machine.
The die cutter begins to cut out the shape of the bottle opener.
Once the general shape of the bottle opener has been cut, the die cutter then engraves the branding on one side.
The metal sheet is placed in a mold and the excess metal is removed around it.
Still in the mold, more detail is added to the fulcrum and the tooth. A logo can also be added to the other side at this time.
And there’s your finished product! On a large scale, the same process takes place on much bigger sheets of metal and hundreds of bottle openers are made at once using a die cutter with multiple drill heads.
- Piece of steel
- Fire oven
- Metal clamps
- Die cutter or slot punch
- 3 different size drifts (metal rods used to shape holes)
- Piece of iron with different size holes cut into it, also known as a dial-a-hole
Start with a piece of steel that is the same size you want your bottle opener to be. A popular size is a piece about 4” long and about 3⁄4” wide.
Heat the steel until it is ready to be malleable.
Use a steel die cutter to cut a small opening into the top of the piece of steel. This will be the start of the fulcrum and tooth. You can also use a tool called a slot punch if a die cutter is not avail- able.
Use a dial-a-hole, or a sheet of iron with different size holes cut into it, to begin shaping the hole using a drift. Carefully increase the size of the hole and the size of the drift until it is large enough for a bottle.
Hammer down the corners to round out the fulcrum.
Once the fulcrum is rounded, use a drift to imprint a tooth.
Shape the handle and the fulcrum to the desired style using a hammer.
Polish the finished bottle opener with a rag and let cool before use.
DISCLAIMER: These steps are for entertainment purposes only, and metal forging should be left to professional blacksmiths only.
While forging is satisfying to watch, it is best left up to the professionals. Search for blacksmith classes offered near you for the opportunity to learn the skills to make your own bottle openers. Having the right tools and equipment is very important in order to be safe and successful!
- The force of your hand pulling up on the lever.
- The force of the cap as it pulls down on the tooth.
- The force of the fulcrum on the cap.
These three forces acting together ultimately lift off the cap. The harder you pull up on the handle, the more force gets placed on the tooth of the cap to pry it off. Other examples of simple levers include:
- Paper punchers
- Door handles
Hold lever of the bottle opener in your dominant hand, and a bottle in the other.
Wedge the tooth under the bottle cap, and rest the fulcrum on top Reply of the cap.
Lift the lever upward while keeping a firm grip on the bottle to remove the cap.
Discard the removed cap.
Tip: Metal bottle caps can be recycled, but if you toss them loose in your recycling bin, they can fall through the spaces of the conveyor belts at the recycling plant. To fix this problem, place your bottle caps inside an old soup can and crimp the top closed!
The Bottom Line
It’s safe to admit: Bottle openers are way cooler than you thought. Not only can they be mass-produced, but they can be forged by hand! Next time you reach for a bottle opener, appreciate the work and artistry that went into creating it.
Institute of Physics. (2019). Levers – Physics Narrative. Retrieved on November 7, 2019, from
GoEngineer. (2018, March 23). How its Made – Machining the Surfboard Bottle Opener. Retrieved from