At first I thought maybe it was just a bad batch, but as time went on I realised I had to do something about the problem. It was costing me too much in broken corks and wasted time. After some thought, I decided to test the hypothesis that they were too dry and had either shrunk or become too hard.
For my first test I threw some in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. Anyone who has made homemade wine knows that corks have to be boiled to make them pliable enough to ram into the bottle. Anyway, this worked, but the corks were really too wet. It made the glue very runny and great care had to be taken not to get glue or water over the finished turning.
I treated the next batches a little more gently by steaming them. I used a saucepan with an inch of simmering water in the bottom, and a collander over the rim to hold the corks. I put a wooden board over the top just to keep a little more moisture in. I didn't use a metal lid as I didn't want condensation dripping on the corks.
Anyway, this works like a dream, the stoppers slide on easily, and I think I have a solution to my problem.
Raffan shows 23 woodturning projects..