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Seems to me to be two issues. I have never had this problem with a small cap lifter.


#1, too large of a lip (more than a 1/16") going under the crenelations of the lid, and up against the glass of the bottle. 


#2, too long of a handle, providing excessive leverage on the neck. Disposable bottles seem to be very thin compared to the old returnable soda bottles of my youth.......

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#1, too large of a lip (more than a 1/16") going under the crenelations of the lid, and up against the glass of the bottle. 




Not saying there aren't other ways, but this is the only reason I've ever had, or seen, with openers breaking the bottle.

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I can only go from the type of openers I've forged, and my experience from making lots of those.


I'll have to tend to respectfully disagree with John Mc on his second point.  If the opener's rim diameter and cap tab are made so that it is correctly riding the glass and not "grabbing" it, the length of the handle shouldn't matter much as the tab is only lifting on the edge of the cap.  As an example of this, just look at the flat bar openers most bartenders shove in their back pocket of jeans.  I've looked at those closely and they are about 7" long, much longer than most of us are making our openers. 


I've never had my tabs too thick, so I can't comment on that.  This is about how I average my cap thickness:



But have a look at some different bottle types that I snapped a pic of.  The center one is a twist-off, and these are just three that I grabbed at random.

With all the little micro-brews out there, there are LOTS more bottle styles.  Even different brands of twist-offs have different glass threads on them.



Your cap tab has to reliably ride over the bottle lip (or threads) without "grabbing" or wanting to dig into the glass.  

From what I've experienced it is mostly due to the rim-to-tab distance of the opener, and the shape and size of the tab itself.


Here's an a rather over-simplified illustration of what I mean. 

If the rim-to-tab distance is too large, the pivoting arc of the tab will tend to bite into the glass lip (on the left).  On the right is a shorter rim-to-tab distance and you can see how the pivoting arc conforms a bit better to go out and around the glass rim, again this is admittedly an over-simplified example but I believe is still valid. 



Now imagine that if that cap tab had a sharp (or squared) edge to it and too long of a rim-to-tab distance.  That's where I've seen most of the chipped and cracked glass coming from, too large of a distance and/or an incorrectly shaped tab edge (or a combination of the two).  That's why I take time to get a nicely round the edge of my tabs, but not too round, so that it will still lift the cap nicely.  If the edge of the tab is too thin and sharp, it can fall into the threads of the twist offs which makes chipping/cracking more likely.  A thin edge doesn't ride the glass as well as a nicely rounded edge either.  Not saying it won't work with a thin edge, some do, but chances for problems seem to be greater from what I've found.


If you make the rim-to-tab distance too short, it tends to bend the cap in place rather than lifting it off nicely. 

That's more like the flat bar openers that the bartenders use, it requires a more angled engagement of the opener to the bottle.  Something like this:




And all of the above is for the hole type of openers.  The claw type is a different set of parameters.....

Obsessive/compulsive?  Maybe.  I'm a cheesehead, I take my beer drinking seriously.  :)

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 I knew there must be a name for those ridges but never knew it. That's awesome, i'm going to try and use it in conversation today!

Black frog, the top opener on your last pic has an awesone ridge along the outer side of the  loop, how did you get that?

I've seen jigs that bend on thebias, but if that were the case, and you bent a square bar, you would have 2 ends at the handle, but that opener looks like it was a bar you drifted to get the loop.

How did you actually do it?


I like the diagram. If I see it right, you think about 3/4 from the tab grab on the cap surface is right?

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I'll measure a few finshed openers and see where they ended up.


As far as the rim shape on the top opener in that picture, I like doing the rims that way the best.  Got that idea from Brian Brazeal.  Once I drift the hole, I have purposely left enough material around the drifted hole so that I can forge to desired shape and final diameter.  Tip it on a 45 degree angle on the end of the horn (horn tip going through the eye) and carefully forge around the rim, keeping that consistent 45 tilt to the center of the eye as you rotate the opener on the horn tip.  Flip it over and do the same.  Take it easy and don't forge it too heavily all at once or you'll distort the cross section shape.  I switch to a lighter hammer for those.  I take several heats (and several flips of that 45 degree forging) to do this and get it looking nice


By leaving the extra material around the drifted hole, this allows me to forge the rim to get the right internal diameter as well as the correct rim cross sectional shape like you mentioned.

Gives me lots of wiggle room to get things just right for the way I like to do my openers.  If you punch/drift your hole too big to start with, you won't leave yourself any working material for further shaping without the rim diameter getting too large.


Here you can see the shape of the forged rim from above as I was adding the cap tab.

I wasn't quite finished with this cap tab when I snapped the pic, still needed to go deeper but shows the rim forged like you mentioned.




You can forge it like this to get a full "diamond" cross section of the rim.

Sometimes once I'm there I like go back and lightly forge the tips of the diamond back to flat and  perpendicular as well. 

Or if you're at the correct diameter on your forged hole, just don't go to the full diamond and leave the flats from the original stock.

Lots of options available that way, depending if you need to forge to a larger diameter or not.  Like I said, I like having the wiggle room to work with.  :)

If you go back and look at the Montreal hockey opener I did in post #114 of this thread, that one has slight flats on the diamond shape of the rim.

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Frog, thanks for the detailed descriptions here. Very helpful to those of us who like me have made a total of three openers. I'm about to try my fourth tomorrow and will take onboard all that you have said.

And not only do we admire your exquisite bottle openers ... but we also stand in awe of your photography and computer know-how.

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Frog, thanks for the detailed descriptions here. Very helpful to those of us who like me have made a total of three openers. I'm about to try my fourth tomorrow and will take onboard all that you have said.

And not only do we admire your exquisite bottle openers ... but we also stand in awe of your photography and computer know-how.


Don't fall for it, Ausfire.  Frog doesn't actually make those openers, it's all CGI.  I've tried making openers like he showed in his tutorial, and they never ever ever come out looking like he says they should.  As you noted, he's got great computer know-how, just like those guys in Hollywood that make movies about aliens and space ships that look absolutely real. 

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Greetings All,


I think the Frogman has a PHD in bottle openers...  Professor .... of  ... High Quality....  De-capers..   I would just like to be around when he proof test each one..  YUM..    By the way thank you for all your effort and time showing others your fine work..


Forge on and make beautiful things


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You guys are funny!


Hey VT, swing by the Cheese state sometime and we'll forge a few up.  You bring the beer.

The more you drink, the better my work looks.  :)

Maybe I'll try doing a simple vid for you of those openers.

Forging the steel version (I start with 3/4" square bar) is a lot easier than trying to do the same from the wrought iron pickets.


Like most everything, the more you do it the easier it becomes.  And after the first hundred or so, it practically makes itself.  (famous quote there!)  ;)

That's all I've done for the last 5-6 months is forge bottle openers, could barely keep up with them.

While I do like to sell things for extra cash, I'm wanting to move on to other projects for a while.......


JimsShip-  I measured several, and for my openers I like about a .75" or so finished rim-to-tab distance.  

A little less than that works too, but start to get larger than that distance and I've run into some problems on occasions, and the tab edge and profile become more critical.

So that's about what I shoot for.  If I have an opener that got a little oversized on the forged hole diameter, rather than make an excessively large protuding tab to get the correct rim-to-tab distance, I simply tap back the rim for a graceful, slightly oval shape.   Like the BlackHawks feather in post #95 of this thread, slightly oblong/oval hole to get the correct dimension rather than having an out-of-proportion cap tab.   No one knows exactly what it is or was supposed to look like (except you), so it's all good. 

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I'm not skilled or practiced enough to get the perfect circle you get (I haven't even tried for the biased edge yet!), so I think the open ended style (Like Senft had in Post #20) works better for me.


Thanks for the measurements though, they'll help a lot!


One more question for the thread- what size letter stamps do you use?  Where did you get them? Any need to know tricks on using them?

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One more question for the thread- what size letter stamps do you use?  Where did you get them? Any need to know tricks on using them?


I use both 1/8" and 1/4" sets depending on where/how I'm stamping. 

Names, years, dates, etc...  People LOVE to have personalized pieces! 


This is 1/8":





Back in post #118 I used both the 1/4" set and the 1/8" set (the word "OF" is the small set) on the top of that opener so you can see what they look like mixed.


Buy a good quality stamp set and it will last you a very long time. I bought the heavy duty ones from McMaster. It takes some practice to get freehand stamping looking decent. You can't hit all the letter characters with the same force, the letter "l" has much less surface area than a "B", so you have to go easy on the characters with less surface area otherwise they get too deep compared to the others. This also depends if you're stamping hot or cold metal.    And it takes practice to get the spacing correct between the letters.  Even though all the characters are on the same square shaft size, on the bottom side of the stamp there's a lot more empty space on each side of the "I" than there is on each side of the "M". 


If you're stamping cold, some people like to put a piece of tape down to keep the line of characters straight. 

You can feel the bottom of the chacaters bump up against the edge of the tape.  Of course if you're stamping hot the tape idea won't work so well....


Practice on some waste pieces for a while to get the hang of it.  Your first few times will most likely not be your proudest moments....


Either make or buy a decent stamp holder that gives you good hold and control of the stamp.  Not a pair of pliers. You'll be swearing at using pliers quickly.

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I made another bottle opener, but this time I inset the handle with a glass marble. I also tested it and buffed it to a near mirror finish. The glass is still blue but it does not show up well in my pictures.



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OK. Bottle opener number 4 is attached. It is made from one of those flat top railway spikes. Beside it is the attempt using an older wrought iron dog spike. I abandoned that attempt, as the iron started to split and further drifting would have no doubt opened it up. I did try getting it very hot but the iron still wanted to split into layers. The later spikes are obviously a different material. Anyone have any success working the wrought iron type?




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Anyone have any success working the wrought iron type?
I've been using wrought iron cemetery fence pickets for some time now. I've been using that as a great selling point versus having it made from modern steel. But they do split out on me sometimes, rather than try to weld it back together, at that point in the process it is easier for me to grab a new piece and start over. I have my W.I. reject pile that slowly grows as I work through my supply.

All the openers in that tutorial that VT linked to are wrought iron. I factor in the wasted time and fuel for rejects when selling the wrought iron ones, I sell the steel ones cheaper. But many people want the "cool" factor of having something unique that was forged and personalized for them made from 100 year old cemetery fencing, and are willing to pay for it.

The splitting in the wrought iron usually occurs when punching the hole, or forging the rim.

But sometimes there is some internal wrought iron grain layering going on, and I've had this happen a few times where the entire body will separate in half the long way as you forge the body:

But sometimes the grain and layering properties of wrought iron can produce some unique results.
Cracks, crevices and layering lines have shown up at times in my fence picket openers.
I think the uniqueness of the layering lines looks great and adds to the "oldness" of the piece.
And some people really like that sort of thing, and will choose those over "perfect" forged opners.
....so don't give up on the ones that you don't think look the most perfect. :)

But this was the most unique one I've had that actually got to completion without splitting out on me. It had grain layering, cracks and crevices, I just wire brushed it and left it like that. Someone was looking for a very unique piece and I mentioned I had one that looked like it had just been unearthed from the Roman times. He loved it and bought it.



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BF, Thank you for the encouragement; I'm pleased to see that this splitting of wrought iron happens to others as well. It's nice that you can celebrate the uniqueness of your WI pieces complete with their flaws. I will do a few more openers using the 'easier' railway spikes and have another go at the wrought ones later.
The old spikes came from a 100 year old section of railway which is being rebuilt using steel sleepers. I would like to make a personalised one for the mate who gave me heaps of them.

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Black Frog.   Your post and especially the picks with the critical dimension clearly spelled was what I was attempting to describe.   Pics are better.   Thanks and fabulous post!   I like that a safety concern was raised and we (you) had great follow thru to help us avoid it!

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Frog, I see in your tutorial that you start using a slot punch. There must be a good reason why you do not use an ordinary round punch. What is the advantage of the rectangular punch? I don't have one but I'm willing to make one.

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How big of a hole do you want to punch?
And the how much time do you want to spend forging to the finished diameter?

I don't like drifting large holes from a small punched hole and stretching metal too far. I'd rather punch a longer slot, then drift to about what the interal slot circumference allows. Then forge to final shape and diameter.

Let's say the internal slot diameter drifts to about 3/4" (guessing), and my final hole diameter should be 1" ( guessing). That gives me some room to work from that 3/4" drift to my final diameter. By preparing the end pad for size, thickness, and shape before punching I leave enough material around my slotted hole to forge to desired shape and size.

Are you meaning punch a round hole and drift large, or simply punching rather large holes to start with?

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Are you meaning punch a round hole and drift large, or simply punching rather large holes to start with?

I started by punching a hole about 3/8 inch diameter and kept drifting it to about 3/4 and then tidying it up on a cone mandril. Takes lots of heats and I guess I would take longer to achieve the finished hole size.
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