llama bottle opener

Llamas and open bottles! What’s not to love?

These were made as a pretty last minute secret santa project, only getting around to blogging about it now…

I used walnut for this project, too. I started by sketching out a shape that could plausibly be considered a llama on some card stock junk mail.

tracing the stencil

tracing the stencil

Then I cut out the 2D shapes with a combination of drill press (for the circular arch that forms the legs) and band saw. Show below is after some sanding with a belt sander.

2D cut-out

2D cut-out

I wanted to keep the shape really simple since I was so limited on time to get these done. So I sanded in a simple two dimensional curve on either side. The parallel pencil lines were to help me eyeball the curvature.

sides sanded to be curved

sides sanded to be curved

For the part that touches the bottle cap to be metal I decided to epoxy in a short section of metal tube. The drill bit I had was a tad small, so I enlarged the hole by taping some sandpaper to a screw driver bit to make a sanding mandrel.

prepping the hole for the steel insert

prepping the hole for the steel insert

Because the steel is so much harder than the wood, I wanted the metal inserts to be fairly close to shape before potting in. That way there would be minimal material to remove, and hopefully less risk that I overheat the glue bond.

metal inserts rough cut to shape

metal inserts rough cut to shape

let's watch glue cure

let’s watch glue cure


careful sanding with frequent stops to avoid overheating

I was trying to think of the best way to remove the bottom of the tube while generating the least heat. If I had a sharp bandsaw blade, I might have chosen that. Instead, slowish passes on the mill seemed to do the trick. Probably would have tried a hacksaw next if this didn’t work.

I removed the rest of the material (up to the line you can see in the photo below) using my belt sander, forgot to take a picture.


removing the bottom of the tube

Using small files to shape the ears worked alright. But for the second one I took the time to sharpen my whittling knife, and that actually worked way better.


forming the ears


sanded and ready for finish

I used a spray-on polyurethane for the one that I had to give away at the secret Santa the next day. For the second one I used a few coats of Tru-oil. Time will tell how both finishes last.


holding the part while finish dries


action shot


3 thoughts on “llama bottle opener

  1. Pingback: Walnut Wood Llama Silhouette Bottle Opener « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!

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