Mrs. Fickbonne makes a bottle opener (and other household updates)


Let’s be real, dear readers. Despite a childhood spent slaving away as Assistant to the Assistant Deputy Carpenter on my parents’ fixer-upper,* I don’t have much independent carpentry experience. Somewhere right now, Craig is still shaking his head over the last time he saw me wield a hammer. I’m very accustomed to assisting, and I definitely know how to use the full range of basic power tools, but when it comes to real mastery of the craft, I have a long ways to go.

So I am going to ease my way into being my own Head Carpenter by starting with small projects and graduating to bigger ones. We have some pretty big carpentry projects coming up, so it’s time I cut my teeth on the little ones first. Which is why, while Mr. Fickbonne was building the very last of the garden beds today, I built a bottle opener for the kitchen.

Oh right, you guys probably want to see the garden beds now that they’re all finished:


So while Ben was building the last bed, I set to work on a wall-mounted bottle opener. Here’s what I used:

If you’re lucky enough to find most of the above in your Garage of Wonders, this project will cost about $12 (for the stain, bottle opener, and bracing strap).

Here’s what I did:

  1. First I cut the wood to length. About 14 inches or so, though to be honest… I was eyeballing it. I used the circular saw for this part. Then I made a few strategic hammer dents to make it look interesting, and sanded the whole thing with the orbital sander so the edges would be nice and rounded and old-looking. What can I say? I didn’t really have a plan.
  2. I stained the wood all over with a dry rag and the stain. Left it to dry for about an hour while we ran to Home Depot for the lumber and PVC pipes we needed for the garden beds.
  3. Spent a couple minutes puzzling out how to actually mount it on the wall before realizing I could just screw it to straight through to the wall because why the hell not? I placed the screws so that they’d be hidden behind the mason jar and bottle opener.
  4. Mounted that baby to the wall in the kitchen.
  5. Screwed the bottle opener to the top of the board.
  6. Spent way longer than I probably should have molding the metal hanger strap around the mason jar before screwing it in place and sliding the mason jar through the resulting hole. The mason jar is completely removable for whenever we need to empty it of bottle caps.

And voila!


The whole thing probably took me less than 10 minutes to complete if you don’t count the waiting for the stain to dry and the over-thinking the screw placement. Super easy afternoon project.


Meanwhile, Mr. Fickbonne did the real work of the garden beds, and he braced our poor peach tree (which is budding!!!) since it was starting to list to starboard. All of the trees we planted last year–peach, cherry, and all three maples–are budding and looking generally healthy and happy, which is a huge relief because we were worried they wouldn’t last the winter.


So now that I’ve mastered the wall-mounted bottle opener, my next incrementally-harder carpentry project shall be: a dual house number board and planter for the front of the house. Stay tuned for that exciting endeavor!


*My dad will claim it wasn’t really “that bad.” My brother and I will remind him of the summer we spent literally replacing the walls of the barn and then digging a trench to said barn so we could run electrical wire to it. Digging a trench. Digging. In the aptly named “Granite State.”