Arts and Crafts with Beer

Are you bursting with creativity? Are you good with your hands? Do you have random “junk” lying around your house, waiting to be turned into something awesome? If you said yes to any of these questions, this article is for you. The Arts & Crafts series shows the hidden potential tucked away in your attic or forever banished to the backyard shed. Think twice before throwing away those six pack holders or bottle caps, because they too, can be turned into some cool craft beer accessories.

Bicycle Chain Bottle Opener

My basement is a veritable bicycle graveyard. At least a dozen frames line the walls; several sets of wheels collect dust in the corner. An obscene number of boxes full of parts hoarded over the past decade, wait with hidden potential. I am not exaggerating, but my basement could supply a medium-sized Tour de France cycling team. So what to do with all of this stuff? In reality, most of the parts consigned to the basement are broken or obsolete in today’s cycling world. So why not turn it in to some cool craft beer gear?

For this project, I will transform an old bicycle chain and cassette into a sweet bottle opener. I will provide step-by-step instructions, so you can follow along and make all of your friends super-jealous when you whip this bad boy out.

What You’ll Need:

* Bicycle Chain and Cassette/Chain Ring

* Heavy Duty Gloves and Protective Eyewear

* Degreaser or isopropyl alcohol

* Chain breaker tool (Purchased at Walmart for $6; 2 chain links included)

* All-purpose rotary tool (Or a saw that can cut metal and metal grinder)

* Ice Cold Beer

For your safety, make sure you’re always wearing your protective gear!

Step 1: Degrease Your Chain and Cassette Ring

This step is pretty simple. Wet a rag with degreaser, and wipe off chain and cassette or chain ring. Make sure to clean both thoroughly, as you don’t want grease on your hands, and, more importantly, on your beer.

Step 2: Mark Your Ring

For this project to work, you must have a ring that can act as a lever to pop the cap. How do you know if your ring will work? Before going any further, make sure you can open a bottle of beer with the ring. Also, make sure your ring has another two cutouts for the chain handle to attach. For this project, I have found a cassette ring that works well.

I have marked four lines on the ring; each will indicate a cut. You’ll want to cut out a singular triangular piece as your opener, usually two spokes on the side and the chain teeth on top.

Step 3: Cut Your Ring

*Make sure your safety glasses and gloves are on for this!*

For this step, I am using a Black and Decker all-purpose rotary tool, with a metal cutting attachment. I have placed the ring, flat, on a block of wood, before starting the cut. Slowly cut on the marked lines until you have made it through the metal completely. Repeat on all lines, giving your tool time to rest and cool down before each cut. When your bottle opener is separated from the ring, clean off any metal shavings with your wet rag.

Step 4: Grind Sharp Edges

No one wants to slice a finger when going to crack a beer. That’s why you will need to grind those freshly cut sharp edges. I use a metal grinding bit for my B&D tool. Take your grinder over the sharp edges of the bottle opener until rounded and dull. This will ensure that your opener is safe as well as practical.

Step 5: Break Your Chain

This step may be more difficult to some who lack experience with the chain breaker tool. Remember, patience will eventually be rewarded. Instructions on how to use your chain breaker tool should be provided if just purchased. Use your chain breaker tool to remove the pin in the twelfth link (10 to 12 links will work for most handles).

Step 6: Attach Links to Opener

Using your chain breaker tool, attach your new links, or salvage the old pins and links, to the cutouts on the ring below your bottle opener. Voila! Your bottle opener is complete.

Step 7: Crack a Beer

This step should be the simplest, but the most rewarding. Grab a bottle of beer, and try out your new tool to ensure it’s working properly.

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