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Thread: turning cork???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    turning cork???

    While on a boring 3 1/2 hour ride in the VA van back from the VA hospital, I got to talking with the guy sitting next to me. He discovered I do turning and I discovered he is an avid fly fisherman. At one point, he asked me what a good lathe would be for him to buy. The impossible question. I asked him what he planned to turn, he said "cork". I nebber wooda guessed cork. He wants to make his own fly rod handles. Seems reasonable. I recommended Grizzly or Jet mini or midi. He is already a Griz fan and several other guys in the van chimed in with their unbounded admiration for Grizzly tools.
    Enneyhow...I got to thinking about how cork would be as a turning material. My guess is not very good. But, still he wants to do it and material is sold for doing this.
    Since the material is so soft, I'm thinking high speed, spindle gouge or bull nose and a light touch, final shaping with sandpaper.
    What say the jury?
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    S E Washington State
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    3,777
    I've turned several cork pens, and it is not that tough. Sharp tools of coarse and I turned at a pretty high speed. Stopped once in a while and saturated the cork with thin CA. I have a friend that turns cork reel seats all the time and he used that drywall sanding mesh to turn it down. I tried it and it works good. This is Texas Mesquite and wine bottle cork
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ssPen 37 -3 8-2008.JPG  

  3. #3
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    Dec 2006
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    Puyallup, WA
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    I've turned a few cork handles for fly rods and there couldn't be an easier project. The wood is so soft, I believe it's almost impossible to get a catch. If that's all he wants to do, the least powered lathe would be sufficient for his purposes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    From what I've read, I think the most common turning tool for cork rod handles is sandpaper or abrasive mesh. Based on what Peter has said, I wonder if it's because many fly rod makers don't get their tools as sharp as they need to be? I can see how CA would help get a clean cut, but I don't think most fishermen would want finished cork on the handle.

    Frank, I'd suggest to your buddy that he gets something with at least 1 1/2 hp and 16" of swing. Never know when he might want to move up to bigger things.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    Nov 2006
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    I Googled the subject and found sandpaper is the standard technique. Of course, it is coupled with a good dc system.
    Yep, I reccomended a big, powerful EVS.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    4,352
    I was going to chime in here and give you this guy's website... he makes custom fishing rod handles... but right now he's not selling rod handles... he has a great tutorial on building your own though.. and take a look at his gallery... some beautiful work there.

    http://classiccustomwood.com/Handles.htm

    Inspired me to want to make my own for whenever I get off my duff and get up on the river to do some fishing...
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Ellis View Post
    I was going to chime in here and give you this guy's website... he makes custom fishing rod handles... but right now he's not selling rod handles... he has a great tutorial on building your own though.. and take a look at his gallery... some beautiful work there.

    http://classiccustomwood.com/Handles.htm

    Inspired me to want to make my own for whenever I get off my duff and get up on the river to do some fishing...
    Yep. That's the site I found.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    sydney australia
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    149

    sharp and fast

    Back in the 60' my Dad used to turn a lot of composite lamp stands out of cork and hard wood. He used to have razor sharp tools and plenty of speed, form memory up around 3000rpm. Any higher and the cork had problems holding together.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Cornwall, England
    Posts
    392
    I should imagine it would be best to use a sharp skew. I have turned soft foam using a skew to make pads for reversing bowls and the skew cut it neatly and cleanly so i should imagine it would be the same for cork which is much harder.

    pete

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