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Finishing Cork
Posted by: Bill Stevens (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: January 22, 2004 03:13PM

I have been building for a little over a year and have spent all my time with solid construction, threadwork and finish. Last year I heard Roger Seider say that his greatest satisfaction came in finishing cork and I really had no understanding at the time for his comment. I also know that Andy Dear and a whole lot of qualified builders spend a lot of time finishing and polishing wood. I build inshore popping rods and have established contacts with suppliers who are selecting their best preformed cork handles for me on a special hand selection basis. I believe the cork I have is better than average.

I have been using the U-40 Cork Seal. On the lable it says use only one coat and that you are wasting your time trying to apply a second coat. I have been sanding down to 600 grit and then using the Cork Seal for one coat. I have been satisfied with the appearance but it was not something that was really nice looking.

I had nothing to do yesterday and was messing around in my shop and spotted a bottle of Minwax Dark Oak Sealer. The label on the bottle identifies the stuff as a "finish, sealer and filler". I took some of this stuff and applied it to a new rod with the Cork Seal and to my total astonishment the dark oak color took and the sheen that Jesse and Buddy talk about all the time suddenly appeared on the cork surface. I applied two coats of the stuff rubbing it in with cheese cloth and I now have the first cork handle that I can say I am really proud of.

A note on the Minwax bottle says apply one coat of polyurethane clear Minwax for longer life.

Now my questions:

1. The lable on the bottle says "contains petroluem distillates". After applying the Cork Seal to a premium grade cork that contains some filler will the application of something like the Minwax stuff break down the filler or the cork over the long haul. A note on the Minwax bottle says apply one coat of polyurethane clear Minwax for longer life.

2. Something tells me that the Cork Seal is adding strength to the cork surface - Would it take if I used the stain first and then the Cork Seal.

3. What would be the base for "dye" to add to Cork Seal for a deeper color?

Hope Mr. O'Quin catches and responds to this thread!!

Sorry for the length of this but the further I go the more confuser I get!

Gon Fishn

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Re: Finishing Cork
Posted by: William Colby (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: January 22, 2004 07:42PM

It's been my experience that cork is hard to dye but can be stained. A coat of poly or something like that might protect it but it also changes the feel and might make it more slippery when wet.

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Re: Finishing Cork
Posted by: Aaron Hansen (65.88.51.---)
Date: January 22, 2004 08:24PM

The cork seal will take if you add the stain first. If you really want the cork to shine you an add a second coat of the U40 cork seak and then while the grip is wurning on a lathe apply pressure with a clean cotton cloth. The key here is to apply enough pressure and have the lathe turning fast wnough to build up heat. I put my lathe on one of the middle speeds and use an old sock. This makes the cork look like it has been polished. I don't remember where I read about this but it works great.

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Re: Finishing Cork
Posted by: Mike Myers (---.suite224.net)
Date: January 22, 2004 08:31PM

Bill, the minwax product you talk of , sounds like a sealer with stain in it. You may not need the sealer part if you apply cork sealer, I wood try just stain, then your cork sealer. On oak a honey spice color is nice, (med. light color), Golden oak is darker. It sounds like the stuff you have is sanding sealer. Minwax also makes a product called polyshades, It has both stain and poly mixed. (one coat may not be to slippery) , Two coats of poly would be slippery like wood furniture. Good luck??!

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Re: Finishing Cork
Posted by: John DeVoe (146.82.149.---)
Date: January 23, 2004 09:50AM


How about posting a picture of your cork handle? I'd love to check it out.


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Re: Finishing Cork
Posted by: Ralph Jones (---.birmingham-06-08rs.al.dial-access.att.net)
Date: January 23, 2004 01:35PM

Me too, Bill. Post a picture, please.

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Re: Finishing Cork
Posted by: Andrew White (66.204.20.---)
Date: January 23, 2004 02:06PM

Play around a bit with some different stains and sealers. Recently, I've gone away from U-40 cork seal, and started using Tru-Oil on cork. The Tru-Oil darkens it up just enough to make it a little warmer beige/brown. The disadvantage to wood finishes, I've found, is that they darken up the pits and striations in the cork also. Tru-Oil would not be the thing to use on mediocre cork.

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