Handle by Hugh McDonald
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2 Bottle Openers

By Hugh Mcdonald
Gooseberry Hill, Western Australia

Hugh's demo presented by Jock Dempsey
September 18, 2002
Hugh McDonald is best known as the inventer of the McDonald Rolling Mill. Hugh also has a great imagination and manages to come up with an original twist on all his work.

This is our 147th iForge demo.

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Figure 1
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Several requests as to how I make the bottle opening ends I put on my critters has prompted me to try to explain by showing the various stages in a photograph.

At the bottom of the photo is a kangaroo head notched ready to be broken from the 1"x1/4" (25mm x 6mm) bar. The measurement is 3 5/16" (85mm) from the top of the head above the eyes to the cut off.

Hugh McDonald. 21 August 2002
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Figure 2
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Centre punch 3/4" (20mm) up from bottom and 3/8" (9mm) in from the front.

Drill 5/16" (8mm) dia. and lightly bevel both sides with a countersink. This bevel helps the final cleanup. While I am a great believer in hot punching holes this one is best drilled.

Cut in from the front and end. The waste piece shown has not been broken out. I do all cutting with a cutoff wheel in one of my 8" bench grinders that has a slotted table to support the work but hacksawing is next best.
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Figure 3
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Clean up the hook, rounding the top on a grinding wheel.
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Figure 4
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Forge down the end piece that goes over the top of the bottle cap on a hardie bridge tool thin enough for the hook to go underneath. This needs quite a high heat but try to avoid heating the hook too much as it is rather easily damaged. After a good wire brushing I heat to a "black" heat, wax and polish.
I am often asked why make bottle openers in this twist off age. They are my best selling product as they are a unique hand made item, easily carried by tourists and make nice gifts. The people who buy them probably could not twist off beer caps even if they had heard of them. Most of the imported and boutique beers here still have the old crown seal. Seems to work. I usually make them in batches of fifteen or twenty.
This next opener is a standard Church Key type that I saw at Bill's Hammer-In. It had a Wizard head like in our demo #1. Ruben Ramirez a fellow that used to work for Bill made it. I've not made one so this is my guess at how to do it.
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Figure 5
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Starting with 5/8" square bar I would begin by rounding the end of a bar in one axis. Knock the corners off then give is a tap on the end to clean up where it pinches out and roll the corners. Then flatten to clean up.

Mark with a square and scriber then center punch both sides equaly from the sides and end.
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Figure 6
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Take a good heat and using a point punch, punch through most of the way then flip over and finish.

Put over the pritchell hole and drift open with the same punch.
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Figure 7
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Next heat, with the hole about 1/4" from the edge of the anvil flatten to 1/2 thickness, then drift open some more. This can be done over the hardy hole, large monkey tool or swage block.

When the hole is about 1" in diameter thin the loop some more. You want it between 3/16 and 1/8" thick. Then work the loop over the horn until it is about 1-1/4" in diameter INSIDE.
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Figure 8
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Shape the loop to a "D". This can be done by taping from the end and then working on the face of the anvil. If you intend to make a bunch of these you should make a mandrel or a drift to the right shape.

Last step is to take a flat ended punch 5/16" in diameter, place it half on and half off the inside of the loop and punch the "tooth" about 1/2 way through the thickness or until the tooth is about 1/16" thick.
Questions, Comments?
Nice demo, I can see some practical uses for something like that
Pete F
Good demo..thanks....a note though on the first style, if you leave the pry-tooth too sharp or jagged it can catch and rip the whole top off the bottle!

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