50¢ Bottle Openers By Tom Parker MAKE MONEY
Sometimes it costs more to buy it than to make it from the money itself.
Church key from
a country store.
Bottle openers made
At the checkout counter of an old country store I saw a bowl of stamped metal bottle openers.
It was marked with masking tape: Church Keys —
This got me wondering what sort of bottle openers
I could make for just half that price, using real money.
I made the first one by pinching 2 quarters in a
vise and and bending them with a hardwood mallet.
I fastened them together with a single steel pop
I fashioned the next one from a single Kennedy
half-dollar. This opener is designed to be stamped
from an industrial punch press — but that would
require a custom tool and die. To make the prototype, I used a tiny jeweler’s bit to drill a 0.5mm hole
174 Make: Volume 20
through the coin. Then I sawed out the shape of the
tooth using a jeweler’s saw with a Size 0 blade.
The rest was easy: careful bending and filing with
the coin held in a vise.
My favorite opener required no bending. I made
3 cuts in a quarter using a hacksaw. Then I made
matching cuts in 3 other coins using different saw
blades so that the kerf of the cuts matched the
thickness of the coins. I snapped them all together,
brushed on some soldering flux, heated them softly
with a MAPP gas torch, and added a dab of “silver
A quarter, 2 dimes, and a nickel: still just 50 cents,
but this one works like a champ and looks like a
Photograph by Tom Parker