Monday 9 July 2018
Bottle stoppers can be viewed as kitsch items to make, but with the advent of new metal stopper components there is scope for many more styles and designs. Of course, the wine purists among us can still buy natural cork, but alternatively, silicone rubber stoppers can also be purchased.
Bottle stoppers also make wonderful gifts and can be personalised by placing them in clear presentation boxes. Then of course, you have the choice of using wood, or, as we show in a couple of the designs, resins/acrylic polymers, which are widely available. These acrylics come in many different colours – including a combination of different colours – and can be finished to an incredibly high lustre.
The fact is they are simple and fun to make, have high visual impact, and are relatively cheap to produce – depending on the materials.
This article shows how you can make eight different designs, using both wood and acrylic materials. We show you how to make two of the designs from start to finish, one with a metal threaded stopper and the other in natural cork. Have fun and remember: if you don't like our designs then tinker with the shapes or, alternatively, come up with some of your own.
2mm (5/64in) bead forming tool, 3mm (1/8in) parting tool, 6mm (2/4in) and 8mm (5/16in) round-nosed scrapers, 10mm (3/8in) beading/parting tool, 10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge, 20mm (3/4in) spindle roughing gouge
Project 1: pink ivory with cork stopper
This design is great if you are looking to make a natural looking bottle stopper. It uses wood (pink ivory) and can be made to feature either a cork or silicon stopper
Bottle stopper components:
1. Dowel (No.1) and silicon (No.2) stoppers are easy to secure to your turned bottle stopper
2. Cork stoppers are widely available from a variety of suppliers
Take your chosen blank – I used a piece of pink ivory (Berchemia zeyheri) – and use a drill press to drill a hole for the dowel
Glue the 10mm (3/8in) dowel in the hole with fast setting adhesive. Ensure to leave the glue adequate time to dry
Hold the dowel in suitable chuck jaws and mount the piece on the lathe
Use a spindle roughing gouge to rough down to a cylinder and clean the end using a parting tool
Refine the shape using a spindle gouge and adjust the length of the blank to suit the bottle stopper design. Use the parting tool to cut off the unwanted length
Once you have your desired shape, remove the tailstock and sand down through the grits. Finish the bottle stopper using a friction polish to give the piece a shiny lustre
Remove from the lathe, place glue on the dowel and insert the cork onto the dowel. Leave the bottle stopper to dry overnight
Use a disc sander to sand off the end of the protruding dowel
Project 2: goncalo alves with metal screw stopper
This project uses a bought metal stopper which has a screw type fitting. There are dozens of stopper designs and shapes available, so ensure to choose one which works with your bottle stopper design
Bottle stopper components:
1. You could try using acrylic for this project, if you choose to
2. You will need a drill bit, tap and mandrel set tol allow you to drill a hole in your blank to accept your choice of bottle stopper
3. Presentation boxes will allow you to show off your bottle stoppers to their best
Sand the end of the blank square then drill and tap the end with the correct sized tap for the threaded section of the stopper
Fit the mandrel with the support washer in a chuck – in this case a Jacobs chuck on a Morse taper in the headstock
…then fix the blank to it and bring up the tailstock for support
Take a spindle roughing gouge and create a cylinder, then take your beading/parting tool and reduce the diameter to the size required for the stopper meeting point, then…
…use a spindle gouge to create the extended mushroom shape. Remember: when cutting keep the flute pointing in the direction of cut and the cut occurring on the lower wing
Once shaped, sand to a fine finish. In this case, use abrasive down to 600 grit
Next, apply a finish of your choice – in this case it is a friction polish
Once burnished, remove from the mandrel and screw on the stopper fitting