Well, spring has arrived in full force in Minnesota. Everything is green, there are flowers everywhere and the temperature is perfect in the high 70s today. Good day to go to the wood shop and make something!
And that's just what I did. This is another small project dedicated to using up small pieces of wood in the shop and also tree branches. I've been needing a few things and a wine bottle stopper is one of those things. These are small wooden stoppers that have a tapered end that will fit into a wine bottle and keep the contents fresh after the bottle is opened. You can purchase a metal stopper and then make a wooden top for the top of the stopper and you can find these all over the Internet. Or you can just make the whole thing out of a single block of wood. They both work fine for this.
I have a small diameter Norwegian maple tree branch left over from a larger branch that fell earlier this year and I decided to give this a try. It's very hard wood and it should hold up well in the kitchen. Here's the branch:
This is about 5 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. I've had it since January so it should be dry enough to use.
Here is the branch on the lathe. I've mounted it between centers:
I've turned it down and taken off the bark:
And here it is roughly turned. Note the taper on the left side of the stopper. I'll need to taper the stopper and get it to 20 mm in order for it to fit the bottle opening:
This is a photo of the taper. It's now 20-23 mm in diameter. Perfect for a bottle:
Now I've begun shaping the top of the stopper. Note the waste wood on the right and left sides of the stopper:
I've taken the stopper off the lathe and I'm going to cut off the waste wood on the top and bottom and then sand it smooth:
Here is the stopper next to the original cork stopper:
Here is a photo of the unfinished stopper on a wine bottle. Note the cross section of the branch:
Here's a side view of the stopper:
Here I've applied a little flakseed oil to the wood to preserve it:
And here is our finished stopper: