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The Simple Cork Lathe (how to)

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This is one way I use to turn handles, that is cheap and easy.

There is no need for a fancy lathe or specal tools.

A drill and a threaded rod with some nuts and washers


For this one I'm using a single cork ring for a reel seat trim.

A short threaded rod and a lock nut(or 2 nuts jammed and a washer)


Put the cork ring on the rod and follow with 2 nuts jammed to hold it in place.


The forming tools I use are a 4 in 1 rasp, file , 120 grit and 220 grit sand paper.


After it is setup I check the finished size.


I start with the rasp to get it to the rough size( take your time and check it often)


Get the rough size


Then shape it (this should be just a little bigger then your finished size)


Then sand with 120G and follow up with 220G to give it that smoth finish.


Remove the pice and ream to fit.


I hope this helps the people with out a lathe.

I have done handles up to 22" with system.

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Just goes to show you don't need to have any real fancy equipment to build rods. I have a cheapo junker wood lathe that I use. Would I like to have a better one? Yes. Do I really need a really nice one? No.

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Nice job Fireman! Simple and effective...

UpNorth - Yes, you do need a fancy new lathe cool I got away without one for a long time but love the TurnCrafter I have now...

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Good idea.

The one thing I have read (which you guys using cork probably already know) is that when turning cork on sand paper, the dust can be very annoying to deal with. Just make sure the cork is dust free before you start to epoxy and thread...

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I have a drill press that I use in the same manner. It turns a little faster than a cordless. As far as dust goes, I rig up my shop vac to catch most of the dust coming off the cork.

When/if you use the rasp, be sure to go slow. Cork can "chunk" off if you lean on it a little too much...

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I have seen a few rigs where folks have used an electric drill, a v-block, a large hose clamp and a pillow block bushing to make a very usable lathe. More stable than a hand held and still cheap and portable.

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I found using one of those portable bench workstations with the clamps works really well. With a drill that has a bubble on the top (dewalt has that), a threaded rod with a rubber stopper and wing-nut you can get great results when you combine it with one V-block from guide tying.

I went to the local HW store and purchased a Rheostat for a ceiling fan, a simple 2-plug outlet and a 2-gang box with cover. you can wire it that you can plug in your drill to the box, and adjust the speed of the turn using the Rheostat. It will go slow enough that when you plug in, the drill will not spin out of control.

Definitely a frugal way to go...


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If they are round you could do something like that. But with a drill setup like that you will need to drill the length of the block of wood or plastic to run the mandrel(threaded rod) through it.

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