Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

I had a great evening last night turning my first wine bottle stopper! This was a fun project allowing me to work on my spindle turning skills as well as learning the creation process. It is made of Cocobolo and turned from a piece of wood approximately 1 1/2″ square and 3″ long. I believe the Cocobolo really added to the finished product.

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

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:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

Then a cylinder was turned and tenons were created on both ends:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

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:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

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:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

This was followed by installing the tap and tapping the hole. The tapping must be done by rotating the drill chuck by hand!

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

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:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

Then I turned it to shape. Here I’m finishing up the ‘flame’ shape:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

Then I sanded it with successive grits up to 600 grit:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

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:

Cocobolo Wine Bottle Stopper Topper

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!

Back to the shop…

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