PRODUCTION-LINE TURNING OF XMAS GIFTS – Terry Scott

Report by: Murray Wilton
Club Meeting: 31 October 2018

Following the theme of Xmas ideas, Terry Scott’s presentation was sure to please. For Terry and others who make a living from turning, production-line techniques are essential. Thus, for making a large number of bottle stops, drill holes in all the starting blocks first. Easily done with a drill press, or make your own jig, and do 30 at one time.

Terry’s demo was to show how easy it is to produce a number of items to do with storage of wine in bottles. He reminded us that corks are coming back into fashion with some wine brands and especially overseas wines from Europe. For bottle stops don’t make the stopper too long or it may not fit in the fridge!

Starting with a block of suitable size (say 80 mm x 40 mm) drill a centre hole about 2 mm longer than the custom-made steel and rubber stopper onto which your turned top will go. Next screw the block onto the mandrel that comes with your chuck. Any timber will do for the job, but hard varieties are more likely to withstand the moisture inevitable in the stopper’s work. Turn and finish to your own design and add any enhancements you wish, including scalloped edges, texturing and paua dots. You may wish to insert an old coin in the top to celebrate a birthday or whatever. (The offer to Terry of a kruger rand was not treated very seriously.) When gluing coins don’t use superglue which reacts with the metal and discolours the timber around it. Use Araldite or some similar adhesive.

If you are working with resin, you can make a deeper hole, paint edges with blackboard paint, or other kinds, and pour the resin over the coin. In this case leave the finishing work until after the resin dries because inevitably some will overflow the hole and dry on the outside of the stopper. When finishing off the spilt resin push gently on the chisels to avoid heating the resin and causing further staining. With resins, measure quantities carefully to avoid having too much or too little, or if you are on a production-line mix sufficient for all the work. Leave the resin to stand for several minutes to disperse the bubbles. Terry uses Gemcote resin.

Although a non-drinker, Terry happily makes these wine bottle gifts for friends when invited to dinner at their home. He will take a full bottle of wine with a nice turned stopper attached with a ribbon and the bottle sitting in a turned bottle-holder. Which brings us to his next trick, making the bottle- holder. Start with a blank about 100 mm diameter by 60 mm long and mount on the mandrel or in a chuck if you have one large enough. Allow extra for a spigot if you don’t own a 130 mm chuck in your collection of a dozen $350 chucks. Effectively you are making a little square-sided bowl to contain the wine bottle, so start by cleaning off the outer end and then shape to the finished diameter. Add the finishing touches as above for the bottle stopper then remove and re-mount in the big chuck or on the spigot you turned first. Or, if you have them, mount in Cole jaws.

Complete the hollowing with straight square sides checking the diameter is right for a standard wine bottle. Larger if you plan on putting a champagne or jeroboam bottle in it! Terry uses a Soren chisel to get the sides and bottom nice and square. The skew chisel is useful here. Finish off with 400+ grit sandpaper, seal with sanding-sealer and polish with the Beale buffing system. Any marks caused by holding the piece in the chuck or Cole jaws can be eliminated using the texturing tool.

Terry’s demo finished with the production-line turning of small ornaments for the Xmas tree, using a jig (which his company sells) enabling three or four to be done at one time. Kits come with gold metal tube inserts to enable hanging on the Xmas tree. For these ornaments, the bottle-stops and myriad other household gadgets like graters, thread un-pickers, shoe horns, nut-crackers and so on, consult Terry who markets all these items at reasonable prices. Great for creating small gifts quickly for low cost and giving great pleasure to those receiving them. Thanks again Terry for a great presentation.


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