This was a project that I wanted to do since I started woodturning. But like a lot of things getting started is the hardest thing to do so I went to a woodturning course at Lee Valley and received instruction on how to turn one. These courses are always great.
Here are the steps I took to turn the stopper:
The piece of wood was mounted between centers on the lathe:
Then a cylinder was turned and tenons were created on both ends:
Once this was done the cylinder was remounted in the chuck. Since a hole was to be drilled in the bottom of the stopper to accommodate the cork the wood was oriented for its best appearance. In this case, the bottom was placed to the right in preparation for the drill chuck:
Once the wood was seated correctly I slid back the tailstock, removed the live center, installed a drill chuck and drilled the hole for the cork:
This was followed by installing the tap and tapping the hole. The tapping must be done by rotating the drill chuck by hand!
Then I remounted the cylinder by reversing it so that the bottom was now on the left mounted in the scroll chuck and the tailstock with the live center was brought up snug:
Then I turned it to shape. Here I’m finishing up the ‘flame’ shape:
Then I sanded it with successive grits up to 600 grit:
Then it was finished with a coat of Ultra Shine, which is both a sealant and a polishing compound. This was followed with a coat of Shellawax Liquid which gave it the high-gloss finish:
After this the stopper was parted off and the cork was screwed into the bottom, finishing it.
I’ll be adding wine stoppers to my list of ‘quick’ items to complete. Like pens, they are a great way to spend an hour or so and creating a great product. And like pens, they also make a great gift.
Although the course was only 3 hours long I received instruction that will last me a lifetime. The instructor was David Wilkins, a Lee Valley staff member. His friendly, laid-back style and personal experience anecdotes made easy understanding of the concise instruction he gave. David has been woodturning since 2002 and turns pepper mills, bowls and wine stoppers along with various other items. He is an active member of the Nova Woodturners Guild and won this years Intermediate Category and Peoples Choice awards. He has also published several articles for Woodturning Design magazine. In fact, you can read his article “Turn A Flame Bottle Stopper” in the Fall 2007 issue that offers full instructions on how to turn your own wine stopper! Thanks, Dave, for all your help!
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