May 012011

I was in the kitchen drinking coffee when it hit me, I’m pretty wimpy. I don’t mean wimpy in the physical sense because I can do most of what I want… except for opening jars. Designing a kitchen has a lot to do with recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. Over the years I have noticed that the grip strength in my hands has weakened. Whether this is because of my job, or for some other unknown cause I don’t know. Anyway, I wanted some toast and jam and that’s where this project began.

I tried to open the jar with one hand. It didn’t work. I tried with both hands, it was still closed. I tried to grip the jar with my shirt, in between my legs. I even tried hitting it on the bottom, and still nothing. At this point I had decided I didn’t want the damn jam, and Clif was laughing hysterically. I’ve seen infomercial products designed to help you open jars, but honestly its easier to let Clif do it. I mean if I have to scrummage through the cabinets to find a product, chances are I’m not going to use it. I needed something at eye level, close to the cabinet where I store jarred things that would open them. The homemade jar opener became my 20 minute project.

I’m not reinventing the wheel here, in fact, I am not the first person to make a jar opener and attach it to the bottom of the cabinet. My kitchen was lacking one, so I decided to build it! That is all. Now, whenever I want, I can open a jar without ridicule and that makes me feel much better.

To make a homemade Jar vice you will need:
A hand saw or cutting device
A strip of 1×1 wood 24 inches-long
A nail gun or hammer and finishing nails

First I cut the wood in half so I would have two pieces measuring 12 inches long. I don’t have a photo of the actual cutting because I wasn’t about to ask Shrek to come take them for me. I was still sore over the laughing. (We call him Shrek causes hes big, and hes clumsy.) ( Hi, Lankan!)


Then when the jar vice pieces were cut I had to decide where they would go. One handed while I tried to take the pictures. GRRrr. So, I decided to nail one piece in place and use an actual jar to figure out where the other would go.  Even then I couldn’t take the picture so I had to ask one of the kids to help. (Thanks, Cheyenne!)


Once the jar opener strips were nailed firmly in place I was able to open every jar in the kitchen. How’s that for convenience? I would estimate that the homemade jar opener cost me roughly $1.15. Who says you can’t put a price on peace of mind?  Making your own jar vice shouldn’t cost more than $12.00 even if you had to buy everything.

If you don’t have the materials to build your own jar vice you can purchase an under-cabinet jar opener from Amazon for $16.00 plus shipping.

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