Every once in a while, we encounter products that are truly remarkable, but it is totally rare to gain access to the folks that make those products. While pondering the fun items at The Boys Fort in Portland, Oregon, a great little shop that features local craft, we found a truly remarkable bottle opener by a small local Portland, Oregon company called Hand Forge. While we were drawn in by the aesthetic, it wasn't until we took one home and tried to open up a bottle of our favorite microbrew and learned that nothing had ever felt that good. It didn't bend, and it didn't warp. The bottle cracked open, and the thought crossed our mind that somebody thousands of years from now will find this bottle opener next to a pile of bones, some empty bottles and say, 'What is this thing?'
We connected up with the shop keepers, and they led us along to Lyle Stratton, the proprietor and individual who crafted the item. Each item is original, and hand-wrought, made of red hot metal and shaped on an anvil using a hammer. The thoughts of samurai and robin hood swords crossed our mind. Below is what the beautiful bottle opener that brought us in looks like.
We proceeded to call up Mr. Stratton, and visit his shop and inquire about ways to make this special bottle opener relevant for our use. We thought, 'Our ball mark repair tool is tired, bends in the ground, and doesn't exude any level of class'. After describing the ball mark repair tool to Lyle, he took a bar of metal and started hammering it into shape. After that, he was on to grinding it and sparks were flying, both literally and figuratively.
Version 1.0 : 'THE KLINGON'
Weight: 3.5 Ounces, or ~ 2 Golf balls.
This particular one was our first attempt, it was a bit to heavy and intimidating for the rest of the playing partners in the foursome.
Version 2.0 : 'THE SHOGUN'
Weight: 2.3 Ounces.
In this particular iteration, we surmised it was necessary to slim it down a bit, and change the angle of the pitch mark utencil from the profile to flatten it down a bit for better pocket use. It weighed in at about a golf ball and half.
Weight: 3.0 Ounces
In this iteration, we wanted to see what it would be like if we included the bottle opener we loved so much, along with it's particular finish and hand-beaten copper rivet (which looks like it might have golf ball dimples).
Weight: 2.1 Ounces or just over 1 golf ball
After all the trial, we decided to drop the bottle opener, and really slim it down. The final rendition might have a little nip and tuck, but this particular ball mark repair tool fixes pitches like nothing we've ever used. The weight is just perfect, so it feels great in the hand and does a lot of the work on it's own. In many ways, it reminds us of the finely crafted wedges we like to carry from companies like Miura and Scratch, but is easier to use.
Our first batch goes into production this week, at a suggested retail price of $75. Pre-order available now at $55 here.