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Add sparkle outside and protect what’s inside.
Whether your wine bottle is half-empty or half-full, here’s an elegant way to preserve the contents until you answer that age-old question. You can make one of these classy little stoppers in just a few minutes, so turning multiples is a natural, especially since they make such great gifts. The materials you need to get started (the metal part of the stopper and a special chuck for the lathe) cost less than $20 and the design possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Start with interesting wood
This project presents a golden opportunity to use a branch from a tree or shrub as a turning blank—just make sure the wood is dry and the pith is stable. Incorporating bark and sapwood can add a nice contrast to the edge. Buckthorn, often called “Minnesota rosewood,” is one of my favorite sources for branch-type blanks. Of course, offcuts from other projects are also excellent sources for blanks.
Components and sizes
The blank mounts on a metal bottle cone that has a threaded post and rubber seals (different styles and sizes are available). Balance the size of the blank to the base of the cone. The bottle cone shown here measures 7/8″ dia. x 2-1/4″ long and the blank measures 2″ dia. x 2-1/4″ thick.
Cut the blank to length and square one end, so it will rest flat on a drill press. Then drill a 23/64″ dia. x 3/4″ deep mounting hole in the opposite end. This hole doesn’t have to be centered on the blank. Screw the blank onto the bottle cone chuck’s threaded post (Photo 1 and Sources). Then mount the cone chuck on the lathe.
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