8 Bottle Stoppers archive

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Mark Baker and Tegan Foley show how you can make different bottle stopper designs using a variety of materials


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.

Tools used:

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

Glue the 10mm (3/8in) dowel in the hole with fast setting adhesive. Ensure to leave the glue adequate time to dry

Step 3

Hold the dowel in suitable chuck jaws and mount the piece on the lathe

Step 4

Use a spindle roughing gouge to rough down to a cylinder and clean the end using a parting tool

Step 5

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

Step 6

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

Step 7

Remove from the lathe, place glue on the dowel and insert the cork onto the dowel. Leave the bottle stopper to dry overnight

Step 8

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

Fit the mandrel with the support washer in a chuck - in this case a Jacobs chuck on a Morse taper in the headstock

Step 3

...then fix the blank to it and bring up the tailstock for support

Step 4

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...

Step 5

...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

Step 6

Once shaped, sand to a fine finish. In this case, use abrasive down to 600 grit

Step 7

Next, apply a finish of your choice - in this case it is a friction polish

Step 8

Once burnished, remove from the mandrel and screw on the stopper fitting

Woodworkers Institute

Tagged In:

Mark Baker , Tegan Foley , bottle , stoppers

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Supplier Details

Turners Retreat - for bottle stoppers
Tel: 01302 744 344
Craft Supplies USA – for stoppers & display boxes
Tel: (001) 800 551 8876
GPS Agencies - for acrylics
Tel: 01243 574 444

Handy Hints

1. When you are planning the shape of your bottle stopper,
have something ergonomic in mind - something that can be
gripped easily - and a shape that makes it easy for you to remove the stopper from the bottle
2. Pick a finish that suits your needs. You can consider a two-part finish - a lacquer or oil - which is then buffed
3. Also, pick a shape of stopper that suits the design you have chosen