Monday, April 24, 2006

Tight fitting wine corks

Over the last year or so I have been having problems fitting pre-drilled wine corks to the dowel on a bottle stopper. They seem to be excessively tight, leading to problems like splitting or getting stuck part way onto the dowel.

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.


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2 comments:

HobbyTurner said...

I had the same problem when I started making bottle stoppers. I was told, by a freind to use the 21/64 drill bit which worked good with less dense woods. I found, after several attempts, that it worked better pre-drilling with 23/64 bit. This allows the stopper to slip in easily and I chose to hold it in with small amount of thick/gell super glue. The other idea is using the original 21/64 bit and screwing the two together while wearing rubber gloves that give better grip on items held in hand. I hope that helps you. If so, fantastic, let's keep in touch.

Derek Andrews said...

Hi Hobbyturner, I think we must be talking about different types of assembly here. I use 3/8 dowel glued into the wood, then fit a pre-drilled (by the manufacturer) cork onto the dowel.