woodturning, Woodworking

Bottle stoppers

OK, so I've been pretty rubbish at keeping up with posting, and that is largely because of been busy doing things and forgetting to write about them! I do have some pictures of at least some of the things I've been doing, I'd add them now, but I'm writing this at my favourite eatery, Boswell's.

So last month's project given to the newbies by Harry at the Hampshire woodturners group was to make bottle stoppers. He was kind enough to provide a couple of corks specifically for the task. they have holes down the middle. The idea is simply to shape a piece of wood that has a dowel type piece that fits into the cork, then shape the top however you like. I started the project by sitting with my awesome maker's notebook, and sketching some ideas. from basic shapes, to Kat's pretty clever concept for a series of off-centre discs.

In hindsight I think this exercise was really worth while, as it let me get creative with theoretical shapes, without worrying about what I am actually able to produce.

Ultimately I settled on making one simple shape, just to have a back up, and a couple of ambitious shapes. My last post showed the burning tool that I made for the purpose of adding decoration to the bottle stoppers, so each design ended up having 'burned' rings that I think worked out very nicely.

The first thing I wanted to try was a 'captured ring' and here is the resulting bottle stopper:

this was pretty hard, and I'm surprised how well it turned out given I had no special tool for the task.

Later I tried making my own tool, but it's as yet largely untested. Although it looks the business in reality the shaped piece of nail is not really sharp enough or well enough shaped to do much more than gouge its way though. In initial tests I eneded up snapping the ring as it was being parted ;-( I'll have to get more practice though, as I intend to have a go at making a rattle for my brand new niece.

The last ambitious idea was to make a bottle stop in the shape of a glass, though not a traditional wineglass shape, perhaps more of a chalice.

Again I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. Although I still need to get better at finishing, the main piece of feedback I got on each, was that the finish is a little tacky (in the sticky sense) because I didn't really cut back between coats. And I didn't have a base coat of sanding sealer either.

So for the future that is something to work on. I continue to be impressed by Harry and Bill at the HWA and their kind efforts to help us newbies and their ability to give constructive criticism carefully slipped into a torrent of encouragement and praise ;-)

Next month's challenge is door stops. However having seen my ambitious bottle openers, Harry assures me he will be stepping up the game considerably for the month after :-)