Turning Archive 2005

Follow-up on sticking stopper blanks

Joe Pack
>Thanks to all who offered advice a week or so ago on keeping bottle stopper blanks from tightening up on the mandrel so as to be extremely difficult to remove. It may not the the "right" way, but I have found a way that works very well for me.

With the loan of a few toys from a friend, I experimented with drilling and tapping holes to fit on the PSI stopper mandrel. I drilled a 5/16" hole in the blank, then, using a 3/8" tap in the drill press, I positioned the tap just touching the blank, then "bumped" the power switch on and off enough to rotate the tap and cut the threads, but not so much as to strip out the hole. With a little trial and error on some scrap wood, I learned to get a threaded hole without ruining my wood. On "good" wood, I drilled and tapped 100+ blanks and only stripped two...forgot which way was off both times...and those were rescued with a liberal application of epoxy when mounting the finished stopper parts.

With the threads cut, the blank screws onto the mandrel easily and dismounts with just the slightest bit of effort. To keep from marring the finished product, I loosen the turned blank just a bit before applying finish and wax.

The hardest part of the whole operation was unscrewing the wood from the tap. A "reverse" switch on the drill press would have been just what the doctor ordered, but, on the bright side, reversing the quill by hand to screw off the blanks is a great workout after doing 100+ blanks.

Thanks again to all who offered advice. I was able to adapt some of it. Hope my trial and error might help someone else.

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Follow-up on sticking stopper blanks
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