Monday, February 20, 2012
I love well-made tools. Objects that serve their purpose in a steadfast, understated, and seemingly effortless manner. The Craftsman Cap Wrench Bottle Opener is one such tool. The name is slightly deceptive since it operates with a prying motion, and not the twisting motion you would tend to expect from a wrench, but I am willing to overlook that small marketing flaw.
Like all bottle openers, it is a very simple tool. Its entire purpose is to apply a small bit of leverage to pop the caps off of bottles of beer.
Upon first glance, it doesn't look all that special. There is the obvious attempt to appeal to fans of their hand tools. It appears to be a good excuse to get you to spend $15 on a bottle opener, most likely as a gift. The beauty of the design is not obvious until you actually use it.
First, a short description. There is a raised dome built into the center of the openingrench. This pushes against the center of the bottle cap and acts as the fulcrum. There are two metal ears on that catch the edge of the cap. These are at opposite ends: one by the handle and one on the far end. You can use either one, resulting in a prying up or prying down motion respectively. In the picture below you can see the unused ear by the handle, with the edge of the cap caught by the ear on the other side. This would be for the prying down motion.
The dome has the secondary purpose of preventing the cap from falling down into the opening where the combination of the two ears could make it difficult to remove. That pitfall is cleverly avoided.
The really beautiful design feature is how the two ears interact. When you catch the edge of the cap with one ear, the other pushes against the opposite side of the cap, preventing the wrench from slipping off. It takes almost no effort to keep the wrench on the cap. It almost feels like the weight of the wrench is enough by itself to open the bottle. It is incredibly easy to use.
Sure, you probably don't really need such a massive chunk of forged steel to open a beer bottle, but if you're anything like me you will want your own as soon as you use one.