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What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: August 03, 2020 09:21PM

As the title suggests, what lathe tool minimizes damage to cork while turning? Along the same milling vein, what turning speed seems to produce the best results? While realizing such a soft and inconsistent material as cork will always be prone to shredding and ripping chunks out while turning, there must be a specific tool which works better than all the others. Having limited experience, I am relying on you veterans to guide me in the correct direction. Morris Schlesinger’s article in RM 21-6 was very well received but did not explain which of the three suggested tools was a “spindle roughing gouge”, “skew chisel” or “standard spindle gouge” for us new to the craft. And then there are the tools with round or diamond shaped insert bits. Through my newbie eyes, I would think that a lengthwise radiused (like a split tube) tool would be more prone to shaving off material rather than ripping it out if held on a twisted angle but I am here to learn. I am also thinking the cutting edge a bit above center might be preferred.
My objective is to produce cork grips which are concentric and equal-diameter throughout the length (as in Tennessee handles). While holding a sandpaper-covered aluminum block of various grits against the tool rest has resulted in quite acceptable results, I am looking for a quicker, easier and more precise alternative.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: August 03, 2020 10:59PM

Cork is best sanded. It's not hard enough to be cut with lathe tools. I do use a round nose scraper to get it concentric but once that is accomplished I turn to sandpaper for the shaping operation.

[www.youtube.com]


.............

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: August 04, 2020 12:04AM

Tom,
Thank you for your anticipated and welcomed reply. After watching numerous videos such as your offering, I am hoping to receive hands-on replies from other veteran builders as well to learn any tricks-of-the-trade. While I can accomplish concentricity, draping sand paper over the cork grip can be a bit less than perfect to accomplish such. While possibly (probably) splitting hairs, if a lathe tool will get me concentrically within .040-.060in of the final size without gouging it to death, I would be happier than a pig in slop! I still do not know the proper terminology of the different lathe tools.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Gary Kilmartin (135.26.190.---)
Date: August 04, 2020 12:39AM

I use one of these for the initial roughing in. This tool keeps it concentric without gouging or tearing

[www.amazon.com]

Then use Klingspor paper back sandpaper Fron 60 down to 400 grit

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: August 04, 2020 12:56AM

Thanks, Gary. I assume you use the Shinto tool against the tool rest?.?.?

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: August 04, 2020 10:35AM

A similar tool to the one that Gary uses, but it is called the surform planer.

[www.homedepot.com]

Functionally, it is essentially the same as the previous tool.

Yes, just rest the tool against the tool rest to give you a stable platform. Then, I start with 80 grip paper, used free hand on down to 600 grip paper for the final finish.

Depending on the cork, I will also generally use a final fill of Elmer's Light Oak wood filler to fill the voids in the cork and to leave the finished cork in a finely polished state.

I also generally use the back side of the finest grip of sand paper for the very last piece of grip preparation before gluing the grip on the rod, or if the grip was turned n the blank, the final piece of finish work on the grip.

Take care

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 04, 2020 01:37PM

Mark, any of the lathe tools you mention has the potential to gouge, especially during the early stages in turning, as the cork is not concentric. I too use the Surform tool to get within about 1/8" of desired diameter, then I go to sandpare starting with 8o grit. I highly recommend the Kingspor sandpaper, best I have ever found, introduced to it by Morris Schlesinger.

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: John Cates (---.austin.res.rr.com)
Date: August 04, 2020 04:47PM

Easy, quick, efficient, and storable.

[www.youtube.com]

Flex Coat Company
Professional Rod Building Supplies
www.flexcoat.com

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: August 04, 2020 05:07PM

Thank you also to Roger, Phil and John.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: August 05, 2020 02:50PM

Thank you to those replying. Apparently, the general consensus considers typical, rigid woodworking lathe tools appropriate only for initial concentricity of the cork handle. I have used “cheese graters” similar to the Shinto and Surform tools (with a lengthwise convex surface) for other applications in the past and they seem to be a good candidate for turning cork as well = good suggestion. I have not heard of Klingspor abrasives but the little research I have done finds it to be held in very high regard with many. It may be worth trying but is a bit hard to find; too bad Rockler does not carry it.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Dan Ertz (---)
Date: August 06, 2020 10:46AM

A fairly coarse double-cut file also works for taking the high spots off a cork handle.

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Re: What Are the Best Lathe Tools for Turning Cork?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: August 07, 2020 02:18PM

Thanks, Dan. I have actually tried that.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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